Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The 2017 Challenge

Happy New Year everyone!

I am so glad to be back on my blog and hope that you will enjoy reading it. As part of my '2017 challenge' for this year, I hope to get back into blogging, so hopefully I will be able to keep it going this year. To help this, I have decided to branch out from just books! Don't get me wrong, I am going to hopefully read more than I ever had before, thanks to my 'lovely' commute into London every day. But given than my PhD is in psychiatry and mental health, I would really like to also talk about mental well-being. And, this brings me to the topic of my first post of 2017: The 2017 Challenge!

My boyfriend and I have decided that 2017 will be our 'year of self-improvement'. Like many of our friends of a similar age, it seems that the life of a 20-something is a minefield of things threatening our mental well-being. We are working longer hours than ever, more bills than ever and are feeling older and older by the day. It's very easy to get bogged-down in 'adult life' and feel the need to mourn your youth and make "wow, I am so old" your most-used catchphrase, but is that really helping? So, in an effort to combat this, we have compiled a list of 12 main challenges or areas of life we would like to improve on, in an effort to counteract the negativity with real progress that matters to us. We have allocated one task to each month, not because that's the only time we can start it, but so that we have a specific month where each task is our main focus. Otherwise, if one starts a new year with a list of resolutions, it is almost certain that a few will fall down the cracks in the sofa. This way, we will have time to truly focus on each one and once we have got into the swing in a month dedicated to the cause, we should hopefully be able to carry things on. I am going to take you briefly through our monthly challenges:

January: Blogging and Improving your Online Profile Month
We are both at stages in our lives where networking is extremely important in terms of careers, but also in terms of social life. For example, I have just graduated university, so it would be all too easy to lose contact with all the people I have met along the way. I hope that by keeping an active (and productive) life on social media, it will be easier to keep in contact with friends and arrange social events. Furthermore, we are interested in reading and photography respectively, both of which can be quite isolating hobbies, but by maintaining an active social media profile, it becomes a lot easier to turn these hobbies into much more social occasions! 

February: Fitness Month
Yes, this is the stereotypical 'New Years resolution' that everyone seems to have, but we have decided to spend February giving it a little extra time. We hope that during this month we will find a fitness regime that we actually enjoy, so that we can carry it on for a lot longer than just one month!

March: Spring Clean Month
We have just moved into a place together (yay!), but with moving in and starting new jobs it has been very easy to let things like dusting slip away. This month will be dedicated to making our home sparkly clean and washing all those things that always get neglected, like curtains and mattress protectors and coats. Nice-smelling and tidy homes make me happy :)

April: New Knowledge Month
You know when you're doing a quiz and there's a question about a topic that makes you say "I really wish I knew more about that." Well, for us, this is the month where we are going to pick a topic and research it, which I am really looking forward to! I would love to know more about certain periods of now just to pick one! 

May: Diet Detox Month
I never seem to have time to research and cook recipes which are really really healthy. I always seem to revert to the staples of pasta and rice. So, this month will be dedicated to making some fabulous meals and learning some new recipes. 

June: Home Improvement Month
Like I have said, we have moved into a new flat, and we have been putting off painting the bedroom for months, So, if by June we have not done this yet, then it shall get done then! Hopefully we will also be able to do some decorating and make our home look cute and cosy. 

July: Outdoors Month
I am notoriously good at sitting indoors reading or on the computer or watching TV. In this spirit, July is going to be dedicated to finding as many reasons to go outside and appreciate our beautiful country as much as possible. 

August: Money Saving Month
I am quite money savvy anyway, but as money is always a constant thought on our minds, we will dedicate August to re-evaluating our bills and the way we buy food to see if we can save some money. We will also try the brand shift experiment during our food shop where, when possible, we try the brand one price down from the one we usually buy. You never know, we might be rich by September!

September: New Skill or Hobby Month
Similar to new knowledge month, this month will be dedicated to us developing a new skill or hobby whenever we have free time! So exciting!

October: Limiting TV Month
This is going to be a tough month but hopefully a productive limiting how much TV we are allowed to watch, it will hopefully break the habit of coming home from work, switching the TV on and staying on the sofa until bedtime. Hopefully we will realise how much else you can do in free time and hopefully we will talk more and pay more attention to each other without the temptation of TV! :)

November: Volunteering Month
I love volunteering, but it is easy to let it slip with busy lifestyles. But in November, I am going to commit to at least one volunteering activity which I can keep up with. 

December: Move-Out Month
Although we now have a flat to ourselves, we have a LOT of stuff still spread across our parents' houses. So, if this is still the situation by December, we will make sure we go and de-clutter our old rooms and bring everything to our own home. 

As well as this, we are also going to have other year-long goals:
  • Charlie to find a job that makes him happy
  • To visit 3 new UK destinations
  • Visit 1 new country
  • Visit a new zoo
  • Get our first pet
  • Pay off all credit cards
  • Read more books (Kristi to read 60, Charlie to read 6)
  • Have a date night once a month
  • Fill up the savings jars we received for Christmas
  • TAKE MORE PHOTOS - we have always been terrible at taking photos, so this year we are going to try our best to document as many happy memories as we can. 

I hope you enjoyed this first post for a few months - I would love to hear what your plans or resolutions are for 2017! 

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