These 12 Months of Bliss challenges start out a bit like a personal experiment, no? Truly, I think that’s kind of how we should think of them, especially in the beginning. I remember when I started this year-long project for the first time back in 2010, I was partly doing it to see if making small changes in my life each month could truly bring me happiness… bring me the change I was so desperately searching for in that time.
When you first begin a new challenge at the start of each month, you might look at the challenge itself and wonder, how in the world is this one little thing supposed to change my life? But I assure you- because I’ve been through these twelve months before – they can. They did change my life. And maybe you’re not looking for your life to be changed (or maybe you are) – maybe you’re only looking for something new each month to throw yourself into and I think that’s fine too. Whatever the reason is that you have joined me in this year of “self projects,” I hope you’ll trust the process. I hope you’ll join me each month – whether the challenge’s “directions” interest you or not. I hope you’ll believe me when I say that there is a rhyme and a reason for each of these challenges, and that when done consecutively – they truly do have the power to bring you to a place of better self-understanding and happiness. If you’re late to this party, make this month your first month and tack on the previous challenges to the end of your year. You can still take part in Twelve Months!
Sometimes with a challenge that is somewhat gradual (one lasting a month), the changes are often gradual as well which means if we’re not keeping track of them – we might not even realize they’re happening. This is why I really recommend keeping a Twelve Months of Bliss journal. I would even go as far to say that without keeping a journal of your thoughts, and – at the end of each month – being able to go back and read your feelings from the beginning of the month, this entire project has the potential to be a complete bust. (I’m serious.) Trust me on this and start a journal.
Of course, I do hope you find each of these challenges interesting and fun but remember – when we set out to change certain parts of our lives or ourselves, there will be certain aspects within the change we may not be completely thrilled about. But trust the process, ok? 🙂
With all of that being said, did any of you check out September’s challenge on the Twelve Months of Bliss page yesterday?! In case you missed it:
SEPTEMBER 2015: Stretch.
“Do it with passion or not at all.” -Unknown.
Challenge: Spend 20 minutes each day stretching: 10 minutes right after you wake up in the morning and 10 minutes before you go to bed. (*Please remember that stretching should not feel painful! Do not stretch until it hurts. It’s very important to warm up your body prior to stretching: you can do this in the morning by jogging in place. If you need tips on safe stretching, check out these 7 Smart Stretching Tips. You can also find different ways of stretching here.) Of course, if you would like to spend more than 20 minutes of stretching each day, go for it!
How Often: Each day, twice a day: once in the morning right after you wake up and once before bed.
What you will need: I use my yoga mat since it makes laying on the floor a bit more comfy but if you don’t have one, it’s not necessary. I definitely recommend using a timer though (on your phone, oven timer, etc.) so that you’re not focused on the clock and instead can focus on stretching and breathing each time – the timer will let you know when your 10 minutes is up.
Why?: Not only are there physical benefits from stretching (increased flexibility, prevention of pulled muscles, posture improvement) but there are mental benefits from stretching too – ones that I believe can help your day-to-day. Stretching once in the morning and once at night each day may mean that you will need to wake up earlier in the morning, or that you might find yourself stretching on a Saturday night in your party clothes, but it can still be done. This is a commitment you’re making to yourself – body, mind and soul!
[For those of you keeping a 12MofBliss journal: Day One of this challenge: How does your body typically feel when you wake up in the morning? What are your mornings typically like? How does your body feel when you go to sleep? What are your evenings typically like? How would you describe your general feelings and mood? In one word, how would you describe your average day? Then, on the last day of this challenge, answer those same questions. Have your answers changed? What things did you think about as you stretched throughout the month?]
September’s Linkup: This month’s linkup will take place at Ember Grey on Wednesday, September 30. This linkup will serve as a place for all of us to share our thoughts and reflections on this particular challenge.
Happy stretching 🙂