In 16 days, you’ll be ready to make 2015 your best year yet. How? With this 16 day New Year challenge that will refresh and renew every single part of your life.
This is a challenge that will kick start your new year in every way, shape and form, in just 16 days. You’ll complete tasks based around yourself, your past, present and future. You can start right here right now, or you can start tomorrow. The beauty of this challenge is that you can start it whenever you want.
Complete it with your best friend, your mum or see if you can do it yourself. You’ll have never done a new year challenge like it, and it’s right here just for you.
Plus, I’ve got a free download for you so you can keep track of your progress!
So what do you think? Want to take on the challenge?
Day 1: Review the past year
Taking time to think, reflect and evaluate on the past twelve months is crucial. We all know that it's impossible to move forward unless we know what we need to work and build upon. So take two blank sheets of paper. On the first, start off by writing down anything and everything you weren't happy with this year. Whether it be something that didn't go to plan, something that didn't work, or simply aspects of your life you want to improve on. Maybe your new job isn't what you thought it would be, maybe you lost yourself slightly recently, or it could be that you've been at a crossroads and still don't know which path to take. Identifying these parts of your life will open up your mind to find reasons for these negatives, but also allow you to decide how to act upon them.
Now the tough part is out of the way, the second sheet of paper is for all the good things. What made you really happy over the past year? Think about everything you've achieved and get all those points down in writing. You may find that these points come easier to you because they'll make you feel positive and that's exactly the point - why do you think we're doing the negatives and then the positives? Seeing everything that has made you feel happy on one (or maybe two) sheets of paper will get your adrenaline pumping and make you want to achieve even more over the next year.
Patience is a strong skill for day one's task - accomplishing this in five minutes may not mean you've done it as effectively as you could. Reflection takes time and you'll find that by thoroughly reviewing the past year, you'll open up yourself to endless possibilities.
I believe it's important to really think deeply with this first part of the challenge - what worked and what didn't work? What was good and what was bad? You'll be amazed at what appears on your pieces of paper.
Day 2: Make hard goals and soft goals
Now you may be thinking: "hard and soft goals? I thought you just set goals and that was it!"
Well, my lovely readers, determining hard and soft goals will transform the way you go about achieving what you want to achieve. Let me explain.
Say one of your biggest goals is to write a novel. This is a huge goal, which is therefore a hard goal.
Its not something you can accomplish in one sitting, unless you're a superhero or Bruce Almighty. Writing a novel will involve small steps to help you get there. These are where your soft goals come in.
Soft goals are, like we mentioned above, what steps you can take to achieve the main, hard goal. So, for the novel scenario these could be things such as, create an outline for the story, come up with four main characters and their descriptions or write x number of words every day. If you follow the soft goals and keep crossing them off your list, you'll find that the hard goal won't be as difficult to achieve.
The beauty of these is that you can use them for all aspects of your life, whether it be your job, blogging, a hobby, a task in your home or something else. This actually leads us onto the next point quite nicely.
Day 3: Prioritise. Oh, and buy a diary and plenty of notebooks
Prioritisation is one skill that takes a lot of practice to be able to manage effectively. It's surprising to think that we actually start practising this at school, through completing homework and revising for exams - it just feels very different when you're trying to prioritise tasks for your own business or blog.
Day three is a very pretty day because you get to buy as many notebooks as you want. I believe the more you have the better. Having one notebook for everything is an easy way to lose track and lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. A general notebook is a good starting point for just writing notes and ideas in. Then you can go as crazy as you want. I’d say I’m at the really crazy end of the scale as I’ve got a notebook for each of my blogging categories. Yep, I’m that girl. But those, along with my editorial calendar really help me to prioritise. For 2015, I know exactly what category I’m posting about on each day of the week so that then puts content into an order of priority for me.
There’s no easy or right way to explain how you prioritise. We’re all unique and so will go about this very differently. But if you’re stuck, it’s always useful to speak to other people and find out how they go about it.
Day 4: Fill in your calendar for the year
On a cold, dark evening when you don’t have any plans, sitting down to fill your calendar in for the year is a great task to complete. We all know it needs to be done, but it’s also proven to be really effective to see events laid out in front of you. That way, you’ll know what’s coming up and what you need to prepare for. Include everything – birthdays, anniversaries, events, holidays, and anything else you need to fill out your calendar. Then keep adding to it throughout the year.
Day four is a bit of a boring day, but it’s a task that needs to be done. Plus, just think of the benefits! And if you don’t have one already, you’ll get to buy yourself a pretty calendar.
Day 5: Cleanse your atmosphere
Your home affects your mood. What you eat affects your mood. What you see every day affects your mood. These things that are a part of us 24/7, really do define how we act and behave. Are you going to be productive in a messy office area? Are you going to be able to relax in a cluttered room? No – well, unless you love mess. Untidiness makes it more difficult to focus. I’ll be honest, my desk is quite cluttered, but it’s tidy. Everything has a place and is there for a reason.
Take a weekend to re-work your home. By this, I mean try moving furniture around, give it a good clean and maybe give some things to charity that you don’t want or like. Is that a present you haven’t opened from last Christmas? If so, get rid of it. Will I really ever wear these jeans again? Sometimes being ruthless can be the best policy.
Day 6: Refresh yourself
Have you ever heard the phrase “check yourself before you wreck yourself?” I don’t use it all the time (believe me) but it has some meaning in our New Year challenge. Your goals and dreams will be even harder to accomplish unless you’re truly satisfied with yourself first. We’re all skint during January, but it’s the perfect time to treat yourself. Go to your favourite beauty counter and try a new foundation. Always wanted to go for that hairstyle? Do it. Really really want a camel coat? Buy it! Once you are okay, everything else will be easier to reach.
Day 7: Think about what aspects of your life you want to change
Has it been a year and you’re still not happy in your job? Do you want to push yourself to become the healthiest you’ve ever been? Are you and your partner stuck in a bit of a rut that you need to get out of? Make a list of things in your life that you’re unsure about. Whether they’re little or really big, just writing them down will help to clear your head and get you ready for tomorrow’s task, which is…
Day 8: Go back to the list you wrote yesterday - do you feel the same?
If you look at one of the things you wrote down and think ‘actually, that’s not so important’, cross it off the list. But if you look at some items on your list and still feel the same, keep them there and think about the word ‘how’.
How are you going to put these into action? How are you going to plan the steps to alter these things? How long will it take? How will people be able to help you? These things are on this list because by changing them, you’re improving yourself.
Day 9: Plan your fitness regime (if you want one)
With this New Year challenge, you can start it at any time of the year. Say you start it today on January 5th. By the ninth day, we’ll be on January 13th. Surely we should’ve started our fitness regimes by then?
How many people do you think actually start their health and fitness resolutions on January 1st?
A very small amount.
Your body and mind need time to adjust to newness before it can actually happen. We can’t just say we’re going to start healthy eating or we’re going to start going to the gym. It needs planning, research and motivation. What areas do you need to work on? What forms of exercise do you like and dislike? If you love going for a run, that’s great. But if you prefer staying indoors and doing workout videos from your home, that’s great too. Think about your schedule, think about how often you want to exercise and work it into your routine. It’ll be hard at first, we all know that. But once it becomes a part of your routine, it’ll be even more difficult to erase.
Day 10: Book or at least start planning a holiday
I’ll be honest – I’m not one of those people that can book a holiday two weeks beforehand and then jet off. Planning is my middle name. Booking, or even looking early in advance gives you so much to look forward to. You can find an amazing place to stay, take time to plan what you want to do when you’re there and where you want to eat, and thoroughly enjoy the process of getting ready for your holiday.
Just close your eyes and picture this for a second. You can feel a warm breeze blowing through your hair. You can smell the sea. You can feel the heat of the sun beating down on you, and you can hear the soft grains of sand moving between your fingers. You open your eyes. Where are you? That’s your holiday destination. Sign me up now!
Day 11: Take a look at your finances
I’ll be honest again – day eleven isn’t great. Even the word ‘finances’ makes me shiver a little. But it’s something all of us have to face at some point. We’re not going to get our own place to live by just plodding along are we?
If you want to make a really big purchase this year, taking a look at your finances is something that needs to be done. By working full time, I can decide how much of my wage I want to put away each month and keep the rest in a savings account. It may not seem like a lot at the time, but month on month you’ll see it grow and grow and grow.
Day 12: Move onto the tech, starting with: apps
The amount of apps I had on my phone and iPad that I just didn’t use was quite ridiculous. Remember what we said before about clutter? It’s the same with your tech. Delete any apps you don’t use or have never used and download new ones. And then…
Day 13: Clean up your social media
Take time to go through your Twitter followers and unfollow any users that don’t interest you anymore. Look through your Facebook friends and be ruthless. And the same goes for Pinterest and Instagram. It’s a long task but once it’s done, it’s done. Plus, your social media feeds will be much better off.
Day 14: Unsubscribe from email lists
Guilty. But the thing is, for some of them, I can’t even remember how I subscribed to them in the first place. Do you delete all those ASOS and Topshop emails in your inbox? Unsubscribe from them. I know you want them there, because I do too. But if they’re just cluttering up your inbox and aren’t of any use to you, you may as well make going through emails an easier task.
Day 15: Any big events coming up this year? Make a note of them
Your mum’s 50th, your brother’s 21st, you and your partner’s two, three or four year anniversary – these are all big events that you’ll want to prepare for, especially if you’re planning something very special for them. It’s a great way to end the challenge because it gives you so much to look forward to.
Day 16: Start
Will you be trying out the 16 day New Year challenge?