Friday, 14 March 2014

Monthly Challenges: One Year On

One year on from starting my monthly challenges, what did I discover?

First and foremost do something you want to do, rather than something you think you should do.  Otherwise you find motivation can be somewhat lacking half way through the month and it feels like you're pulling teeth.  I found that happened on the health month when I fell off the rails trying to get fit.

Secondly, by focusing for a month you find you can make breakthroughs on your chosen subject.  The reading month really helped me get back into reading and it helped establish the habit again, which has continued throughout the year.  I managed to triple my blog traffic after a month by learning more about SEO and tweeking my blog.  Most importantly this traffic has not just sustained, but also increased after being short listed for the Blog North Awards. My long overdue craft project of my knitted blanket was completed, however it did cause some RSI in my hand and I had to have an MR scan (absolutely true).

Monthly challenges are great to start developing good habits.  My money challenge made me become more aware about taking advantage of different online discounts available and cash back services.  I also realised that writing is a really good for maintaining positive mental health.

Finally it confirmed I am a learning junkie.  Finding out about the free courses on Coursera was a godsend.  I've completed about four courses now and I found that as long as I chose a subject where I have a genuine interest in the course was a joy.  If not, the course was a chore.  The main point to note is not to take on too many courses at one time (guilty as charged), otherwise you lose track of where you are up to and end up chasing your tail to keep up with lectures which spoils the experience.

Since December I have been on a hiatus - somehow moving house is not helpful for monthly challenges.  Although once things have calmed down I will restart the monthly challenges as I really enjoyed doing them.

Key things to remember when setting a monthly challenge:
  • Do things you actually want to do as it helps with motivation.
  • A great way to establish good habits.
  • Helps you to focus so you can complete outstanding projects.
  • A really good way to learn new things.
  • Most importantly have fun doing them!  But don't end up needing to seek medical help.

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