A Year of Being Grateful

A Year of being Grateful: Day 149

I have just signed up for a ‘30 Day Drawing Challenge’. The challenge is to draw for at least 20 minutes a day and comes with daily drawing projects. What was I thinking? I am still trying to keep up my daily journal for ‘The Year of Being Grateful’, the ‘30 Day Forgiveness Challenge’ and my own ‘lose 5kg’ and ‘daily bike ride’ challenges!

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 2 Draw your first hot drink of the day.

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 2
Draw your first hot drink of the day.

It seems like the ‘30 Day Challenge’ is the latest ‘in thing’ to do and some of the intense, motivational hype can be overwhelming. It’s easy to be negative about being positive, but the reality is I am always being ‘challenged’ with things in my day-to-day life that have to change and be dealt with. And, I love positive real life stories and am continually being inspired by people who have managed to ‘turn their life around’ and actualised “be the change you want to see in the world.’

For the past 6 months I have been writing a daily gratefulness journal [that equals six, ‘30 Day Challenges’!!] so…. all this being grateful…. has it had a positive impact in my life?

Reading over my daily entries I can see that I have become more aware of what I have and am surprised at the joy and appreciation found in the seemingly simple things: a comfortable bed, food, friends, laughter, family, health, roads, a washing machine, work, music, a kind word, thoughtful act, wood chopped, fire burning, a flower, bird song, sunset.

An unexpected habit changer has been that I now slow down and live in the moment more, I stop and reflect on my day, think, pray. Also, I consciously make more of an effort to show appreciation and say thank you. These are new, positive habits, that have not been as hard or time-consuming as I thought they would be.

Now back to the 30 Day Challenge – according to ‘My 30 Day Challenge’ website you can “Change your life in 30 days by creating new habits or by getting rid of bad ones,” “take a small step everyday to create a new habit.”

“Do you want to be in good health? Do you want to be more successful? Do you want more love? Now you can! Start today with 1 challenge for the next 30 days and stick to it! Keep a log and stay inspired!”

Below is a list of 30 ‘30 Day Challenges’ by Martijn Schirp. Interesting suggestions, I am not sure about the ‘having a cold shower every day’ challenge, even if it is supposed to make my skin beautiful!

Today I will enjoy my bike ride along the foreshore, turn off the news and draw an animal, say no to chocolate and be grateful for bike paths, the warm winter sun and left-over casserole for dinner.

After 30 days of drawing maybe I will be able to draw a decent cup of tea!



30 Day Challenges

#1 Write a I-Like-This-About-You note/text/email each day for someone (Easy) This is the perfect way to let someone else know you care. We are so often focused on the bad stuff that we forget to mention the good. You surely will make people’s day, 30 days in a row!

#2 Talk to one stranger each day (Hard) This is a great one to cure approaching anxiety.Have you ever resisted the temptation to talk to someone because you were afraid and said to yourself that you actually don’t want to talk to her/him anyway? Not anymore! After 30 strangers you will understand people are just people and there’s nothing weird in speaking to someone you don’t know.

#3 Take one picture each day (Hard) This one gets harder nearing the end of the challenge because at one point you will run out of the easy shots. This one is great to combine with other challenges, a great way to make a photo diary!

#4 Re-evaluate one long-held belief each day (Intermediate) Questioning your own beliefs is a great way to rid yourself of bullshit while continually adapting to new knowledge you’ve taken on since putting old beliefs together.

#5 Take a 30 minute walk each day (Easy) Walking is healthy, relaxing and inspiring. And it is both easy and free! A great exercise while walking is to observe other people and think about what the differences and similarities are between you and them. This will definitely increase your empathy and your observing skills!

#6 Take a moment each day to practice self compassion and self-love (Hard) Do you love yourself? Do you beat yourself up after you make mistakes? You can test your own level of self-compassion. Chances are you don’t score very high. This is because our society sets standards that are almost impossible to achieve. And so we form a habit of thinking we are not good enough, not worthy enough. There is also a kind of stigma on self-love, it is often confused with either being arrogant or it being a weakness. Both are wrong. It is a skill that can be trained so you will develop the emotional skill set to accept parts of yourself which you might not like very much, you learn to stop fighting against frustration and start accepting it as an integral part of life itself. Self-love and self acceptance are also crucial to loving and accepting others around you. Exercises to increase self-compassion can be found and check out the love yourself challenge.

#7 Try a new recipe each day (Intermediate) If you want to learn how to cook you need to practice, practice, practice. Forcing yourself to try a new recipe each day is a great way to learn of more techniques and ingredients. It also makes it easier to drop bad food habits you might have and turn them into healthy ones!

#8 Refrain from alcohol and other drugs for 30 days in a row! (Depends) Do you have a social circle where there hasn’t been a sober night out for years? Can you try to have fun without ingesting chemicals to alter your doors of perception? This is a great challenge to learn how to stand up for yourself against peer pressure.

#9 Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (Hard) Ever wanted to write a book? Do it. Do it in 30 days.

#10 Learn how to draw a human face in 30 days (Intermediate) There are many ‘how to’ youtube videos on drawing and if you ever wanted to learn how to draw, stop making excuses. Set yourself a challenge and be amazed what you can achieve in 30 days!

#11 Watch a documentary each day (Easy) Always wanted to know everything about a certain topic? You are in luck, it’s the digital era! There are more documentaries online you can possible watch in a lifetime. YouTube, Google Video, TruthTheory.org and TopDocumentaryFilms.com are some of the great sources.

#12 Read a chapter each day (Easy) We all know we should be reading more often but somehow we are glued to the same computer screen you are staring at right now. Clicking buttons. The solution is to take some time each day to read one chapter. Just one. Easy right? Do it somewhere cozy or outside. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, turn on some ambient music.

#13 Study a topic you’d like to master each day (Hard) Always wanted to know everything about Psychology? Physics? Philosophy? Educate yourself without school! Pick a topic, plan at least a lecture or an assignment each day and become a genius on your passion!

#14 Walk/Drive/Run a new route to work/school each day (Easy) This is a great challenge to keep alert, discover new places, get a better understanding of your city and to have more fun while doing one of the mundane daily tasks of life.

#15 Read a new article on Health each day (Easy) A great way to keep inspired, to come up with new ideas and to motivate yourself to make the best out of life!

#16 Media-fast for 30 days (Intermediate) Don’t watch any television and stop following the news. Limit yourself to reading a maximum of 5 blogs this whole month. Log out of Facebook and Twitter. Stop the information overload and try living simple. You will be amazed how much free time you have left!

#17 Pick one bad habit you already have and ditch it for 30 days (Hard) Are you a smoker? Do you like to see the negative side of things? Do you practice self-hate? Do you eat fast food? Do you play too many video games? Quit them for 30 days, and pick another challenge instead!

#18 Inspire yourself each day (Easy) Studies have shown that people who are inspired are happier, nicer, productive and will not stray away from their chosen path if life gets difficult. So print a quote and tape it to the mirror. Have an inspirational video as your starting page. Use an inspirational mantra for meditation. Get a principle to live by. In short, get your dose of inspiration each day!

#19 Take a cold shower each day (Intermediate) Cold showers are great for uplifting ones mood, cure stress related diseases, to strengthen ones immune system and to make your skin beautiful.

#20 Think of an accomplishment you’d like to achieve for each year of the next 30 years, a year each day (Hard) This is great existential shock therapy. You can’t answer these questions without facing your life as it is right now and how it is likely to unfold. This one also gets harder progressively. It’s a great way to reflect!

#21 Practice a random skill everyday (Easy) There are many available How To’s on YouTube and other video sites. Pen tricks, hand stands, dances, cooking tricks. Broaden your arsenal!

#22 Take the stairs every chance you get (Easy) Somehow escalators seem ridiculous to me, and in some cases elevators too. It always reminds me a bit of all the fat people in Wall-E. Too lazy to do anything. So take the stairs every chance you get for 30 days. It is healthy, it doesn’t look silly and it will add up over a lifetime 🙂

#23 Wake up early each day (Intermediate) It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle

#24 Keep a journal (Intermediate) Great for memory, reflection and especially awesome to look back to in the future and remember the good old times when you did these challenges!

#25 Don’t lie for 30 days (Hard) This is quite the challenge. Stop deceiving yourself and others, speak from the heart. This one goes great with cultivating right intentions, because if you master that, there won’t be any need for lying!

#26 Combine challenges (Easy) Take a photo of yourself reading a different book at a different location. Take 10,000 steps on a new route to meet a stranger and ask for a recipe to try out. Do all challenges, a different one each day.

#27 Doing something that scares you every day (Hard) Fear is the one thing keeping you from being the best version of yourself. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them head on!

#28 Don’t complain for an entire day (Hard) This one will likely take more than a few days to work up to achieving. Even if you’re a highly positive person, it’s difficult not to utter one negative sentence for a 24-hour span. Don’t be down on yourself if you can’t make it past an hour — as with everything this takes practice! This one is also great practice for becoming conscious of your thoughts.

#29 Pray each day (Intermediate) The best moments are just after waking up and just before sleep!

#30 Practice (at least) one completely selfless act each day (Easy) Go out of your way to help someone else out who may or may not deserve your kindness. Take out your neighbor’s trash. Give a $5 to a homeless person. Do something that takes real effort on your part while brightening the day of the receiver.

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