Explorations: challenging myself

One of my ‘things’ is that I love trying and learning new things. I also like challenging myself, although I don’t do this nearly as much as I’d like. It’s a much overused cliche these days but I firmly believe that the best things that have happened in my life have happened when I stepped outside my comfort zone. Doing things which are hard or which make us uncomfortable are the very things that make us better, more rounded, and wiser people.

In thinking about what I want to write about on my blog I’ve been inspired by a lot of different people who have, in one form or another, used the idea of doing various experiments or challenges in order to develop a healthier mind, body, or spiritual practice.

I’m going to follow in their footsteps and develop my own series of Explorations, personal to me, and I’ll use this blog to write about the experiences and what I learned from them. It’ll hopefully challenge me and get me trying new things, perhaps forming new habits, skills, or routines (or maybe even resurrecting old ones).

A month is pretty standard for these kind of things so I’ll take that as my starting point, however, it’s not currently conveniently the beginning of a month, and I like to do things a little bit differently anyway, so for anything I want to commit to on a daily basis I’m going to go for a similar length of time but use my favourite number of 33. So, each Exploration is going to be 33 days of ‘something’. That said, I might decide to do some things which are more of a weekly thing in which case I’ll probably aim for 3 or 6 weeks.

I was going to start with overhauling my writing practice and commit to writing 750 words every day. Back in 2013 I managed a 113 day streak of doing this (I use a site called 750words.com which tracks all kinds of stats) and despite getting out of the habit and only using the site on and off for the last few years, I’ve been broadly sticking to this commitment on weekdays for the past few weeks. So that would be a very gentle start with something I know I can do and would only take a smidgen more effort than I’m currently expending on the task. So no, I’m not going to start quite that gently.

The other thing I thought I might do is give up sugar again. I actually did this pretty successfully for over 4 months earlier this year. No chocolate, no cake, no fruit juice etc. On the face of it, this too then looks like something that should be a pretty easy one to start with. My reasons for, and challenges with, giving up sugar will take up a whole blog post on their own, so I’m not going to go into detail here other than to say that right now the idea of giving up sugar again feels like the hardest thing I could ever do.

I started the previous paragraph to say why I was going to rule it out as my first Exploration, but as I’ve been writing I realised the reason I want to rule it out is because I feel that I can’t do it. So that’s exactly why I’m going to make it my first one.

Exploration #1 – Give up sugar for 33 days (and hopefully beyond) 

I’ll be back with that blog post about my reasons and challenges for giving up sugar in due course. Til then, wish me luck and encouragement, and if you don’t want to miss any future posts then sign up to get them by email.

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