Posts tagged ‘personal challenge’

September 1, 2014

September challenge: Make an “I’m grateful” list

This month’s challenge comes from a quote I saw posted as part of a public participation art display in my local art gallery:

If you don’t feel grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more?

This September, I challenge you to make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life RIGHT NOW. Put at least 25 items on the list; more if you want to. Then post the list in a place where you can see it before you go to bed at night and when you get up in the morning. For the rest of the month, read half the list, aloud, every night; read the other half, aloud, every morning. Add new items as the mood strikes you!

You have lots to be grateful for. LOTS. It is important to recognize this truth, and celebrate it. ❤

April 1, 2014

April challenge: Reach out and touch someone (new)

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
(Maya Angelou)

This April, I challenge you to reach out and make physical contact with someone whom you have never touched before. It could be a hand on the arm or the knee, a hug or a high five, a playful pinch in the ribs — whatever suits the moment, your comfort level and your inclination.

Physical contact with other human beings is vital our health and well-being; it is fundamental to our senses of worth and connection and belonging in the world. Yet we often undervalue our tactile senses — or discount them altogether — in our “modern-day” dealings with other people.

This month, make an effort to change that. Bring physical touch back, and see how good it makes you (and others) feel.

March 1, 2014

March challenge: Live as if you were dying

What if someone told you that you had only one month left to live? What would you do with the time remaining to you? Would you do things differently to how you’re doing them now?

This month, I challenge you to make a list of the things you would do if you had only one month left to live. Then, pick three things from this list and do them before the month is out.

We never know how much time is given to us in this life. Let’s do our best to make the most of what we’ve got.

February 1, 2014

February challenge: Do something unexpected

This month, put your personal boundaries to the test: do something completely unanticipated, something totally out of the ordinary — out of your ordinary. Do something that surprises others, something that surprises yourself. Go out on a whole new limb; test the air out there and see where it takes you. Be astonishing!

Whatever out-of-the-blue thing you do, make sure it’s something that lifts your heart and fills you (or someone else) with joy.

Have fun!

January 1, 2014

January challenge: Become a wild child!

This month’s challenge is inspired by the lyrics from the song “Wild Child” by Enya. Your goal is to start the year off by trying to be completely present to as many of the events, experiences and sensations swirling around you as possible. Take an hour, a morning or a day — or several days! — and give in to the magic of it all. Big or small, loud or quiet, every moment has much to offer, if you give yourself over to it. Even the rain can glimmer with beauty and joy; just look with an open heart.

Best wishes for 2014!

Ever close your eyes?
Ever stop and listen?
Ever feel alive?
And you’ve nothing missing
You don’t need a reason
Let the day go on and on.

Let the rain fall down
Everywhere around you
Give into it now
Let the day surround you
You don’t need a reason
Let the rain go on and on. . . .

Only take the time
From the helter-skelter
Every day you find
Everything’s in kilter
You don’t need a reason
Let the day go on and on.

Every summer sun
Every winter evening
Every spring to come
Every autumn leaving
You don’t need a reason
Let it all go on and on.

What a day, what a day, to take to
What a way, what a way, to make it through
What a day, what a day, to take to
A wild child.

December 1, 2013

December challenge: Aim for the space beyond your safety zone

This month’s challenge is inspired by these words from Michelangelo:

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

This December, choose one of the goals you’re currently cultivating — whether big or small — and aim your sights higher and farther than you think possible. Strive for more than you think you can accomplish; ask for more than you think you can get; throw yourself in farther or deeper than you think you can go. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Now is the month to show it.

November 1, 2013

November challenge: Turn an acquaintance into a friend

This November, I challenge you to take the initiative to invite a new acquaintance to join you in an activity or outing. Choose a person who interests you, but with whom you have not yet engaged in any social activities beyond your normal sphere of engagement, be it work, school, the dog park, daycare drop-offs, or what have you.

We can all use new faces, new conversation and new energy in our lives from time to time, and there is no better way to achieve this than by bringing new people into our social circles. To quote Madame C. J. Walker,

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come; you have to get up and make them!

This month, make the effort to make a new friend, and see where the experience takes you!

October 1, 2013

October challenge: Reach out (In memory of a lost friend)

This month’s challenge is in memory of my friend Anita, who took her own life at the end of August.

This October, I challenge you to reach out to someone you know who may be going though a difficult time. Even if that person seems fine on the outside, reach out anyway; they may be hurting more than you know inside. Even if that person doesn’t ask for help, reach out anyway; they may not know how to ask for support, or they may not think themselves worthy of it. Reach out even if they don’t want you to do so. Reach out even if you think it silly or unnecessary or far too intrusive. Make that phone call, make that visit, give that hug, speak that kind word of support or encouragement. Share your own dark moments, if you are comfortable doing so, to help that person see that they are not alone in what they are experiencing, and that there is hope for the future. Reach out in any way you can, however small. In the end, your single act of caring may be the one thing that pulls that person back from the brink of despair, back onto the road of life.

Peace be with you, Anita. The world is less bright without you in it.

September 1, 2013

September challenge: Watch the leaves fall

It’s September, a time of year when many of us say goodbye to the lazy days of summer and hello to the busy routines of work, school and the like. It’s easy to get caught up in it all, which is why this month’s challenge is designed to help us slow down and step away for just a few nourishing moments.

This month, I challenge you take some time to sit outside and watch the leaves fall from a tree. You could do this in your backyard, in a park, or further afield — whatever suits you at the time. If you live in a place where the leaves don’t fall, then watch a tree move in the breeze, or watch a stream or river flow by.

As you sit, first take a few deep breaths, let your shoulders drop, and relax the muscles in your face. Then turn your senses outwards, to what is happening around you. Watch how the leaves spiral and dance their way to the ground. Listen to them rustle as they collect around you. Smell the carpet of grass that cushions their fall. Feel the warmth of the sun shining through the branches and onto your cheek.

Spend at least ten minutes sitting this way, with your senses engaged around you. If other thoughts enter your head, try your best to let them go and shift your focus back to the leaves.

These few moments of precious presence have the power to recharge your body and refresh your mind. Consider them a gift to yourself. Perhaps they will also help you to let go of the old and make way for the new in your life — something we could all use a little more of at any time of year!



August 1, 2013

Challenge of the month: Speak your mind (your real mind)!

This month, when someone asks you for your opinion or ideas on something, I challenge you to speak your mind honestly, openly, confidently and compassionately.

So many of us cover up our true thoughts or impressions for fear of offending another person, or appearing too (un)intelligent, or because we mistakenly believe that our ideas or opinions are somehow lesser than those of others.

If you fit any of these patterns, this month, break them (at least once)! You may find that people truly value what you have to say — whether it is a compliment, a criticism, or just a point of view that’s different from all the rest. You may find that people appreciate your candour, that they take a genuine interest in your unique perspectives, and that they can handle what might seem (to you) like “criticism” with more ease than you thought possible. And you might feel better inside yourself for having spoken your own truth — no matter how big or small the issue at hand.

This August, speak out! Your opinions deserve it.