For each month in 2014, I'm challenging myself to make or break a habit. Read more about it here.
The January No-Shopping challenge revealed some embarrassing things about not only my habits, but about my mindset. I knew I browsed online a lot, but since the challenge made me aware of my thought patterns, I realized pretty quickly that more than anything I hop online to shop when I’m bored. Bored! I never even think of myself as a person who gets bored. Maybe the better word would be lazy. When I’m feeling sort of lazy and restless (and this is at least once a day), I browse online for goodness-knows-what. Nothing that I need.
The eye candy gets me. The small adrenaline rush you get after you click purchase (or even think about clicking purchase) gets me. It’s shameful.
We went without a few things that we actually sort of needed. I did go to Target for basics, but I let my daughter wear noticeably too-small shoes to school (there must have been a growth spurt over the holidays because suddenly everything was too small). I wasn’t trying to make some grand point, I just knew in my heart that looking online for her or running quickly into the mall for her was defeating my own purpose. Purchasing for my kids is just as satisfying as for myself, so we were all in this together. (And it was only for a short time.)
The exceptions I made didn’t even work out. In my original challenge, I told myself I could buy a new ski coat for our Colorado trip, but I didn’t. This was not a remarkable show of restraint, I just didn’t have the opportunity to look for what I wanted. Later in the month, I posted on facebook that I was giving myself an exception to run out for a new planner, but then they didn’t have what I needed so I left empty-handed. I did spend money on a gorgeous dress for a black-tie gala event early in the month, but I paired it with things I already had.
Because I knew that online shopping had become a problem for me (hence the challenge), I expected to gain all of this time. But that wasn't exactly the case. I must have filled the time with other things. We'll address some of that later in the year.
This last week - with still a few days to go - has been the hardest, which I’m assuming is true of almost any challenge. In the beginning you’re gung-ho, but by week three you’re grumpy and annoyed.
For February’s challenge, I’m prepared to be grumpy and annoyed on Day 1. If you subscribe to the Secret Posts, you already know that in February I’m going to exercise for at least 30 minutes every single day. This is not an accident that I picked the shortest month of the year for this challenge.
I do not exercise. I’m averse to it. Even thinking about it stresses me out. But I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve noticed that when I have some physical activity in my life, there’s a ripple effect. I sleep better, I eat better, my anxiety ebbs. So I’m going to try this thing that everyone swears by: exercise. Sheesh.
My rules are: 30 minutes a day, every day. I give myself 2 passes, for circumstances unforeseen (like illness or emergency), but since we have an elliptical in the house, just any old excuse won’t do.
Walking is fine. There are a few trails close to my home that are just beautiful. But I also want to push myself to try a few new things. I simply must find a yoga studio closer to my house (but I'm also going to try Stay At Home Yoga). I’ve always wanted to give Pilates a whirl. My friends cannot say enough about Barre3.
So this is it. Deep breath. We’re upping our heart rates in February. Join me?
photo by Jeremy Hockin