Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Little About My Monthly Challenges

So, I started the whole "monthly challenge" thing kind of by accident. It was November, so a bunch of people were doing NaBloPoMo, and then there was a group of people doing NoBloShoeMo which was 30 days of showing off your shoes. So I thought I'd put my own little spin on NoBloShoeMo and do a month of paring down my shoe collection. And then when that was done, I thought, "Well, that was fun, let me try another monthly challenge."

So it was random fluke that made me start the whole monthly challenge thing, but I found that the challenges gave me something to a) write about and b) focus on for the month.

And now that I've completed three monthly challenges I think I can safely say that I think they're a very effective tool for changing habits. For instance, when I started DeSloFooMo, I was terrified. I *lived* on pre-packaged one serving meals: Trader Joe's packaged salads, frozen mac and cheese, the occasional Lean Cuisine. I assumed that I would try out cooking for a month, and that would be that. In January, I'd be back to my pre-packaged convenience meals.

Except, that it didn't happen. This past month, I ordered delivery three times (all with friends.) I got fast food once (I had a desperate craving for Subway.) I got a pre-packaged one serving meal exactly never. That's right. I went from someone who lived on pre-packaged meals to not eating one once this month.

The monthly challenges have allowed me to sort of test the waters, to take challenges on that I would normally never take, because I can tell myself, "Oh, it's just for a month." But guess what? After the month is over, my habits have re-formed.

Similarly with JaLeDiMo, I was freaked out about giving up toilet paper. But, it honestly hasn't been as big as a deal as I was making it out to be. So, I'm not going back. I like my spray bottle just fine. I didn't love the handkerchief thing, but I'll probably keep it unless I have a bad cold (in which case I'll probably use recycled tissue.)

So, what started as a fluke has turned into a very effective tool for me for re-shaping my behavior. Tune in tomorrow for my February challenge.


EcoGeoFemme said...

Have you saved lots of money because of the challenges?

ruchi said...

I haven't been keeping close enough track, but I think I'm saving about $400 per month.

Jennie said...

because of your challenge last month and because it was something I had been thinking about for a while I tried the handkerchief. I have bad allergies but refuse to drug myself so I use a lot of Kleenex. The hk really grossed me out but I was on the tail end of a cold so I've resolved to try again. But because of your challenge I've also decided that when I get back home I'm going to try out the spray bottle. I'm hoping using less TP will make me feel less guilty about using so much Kleenex.
So know that your challenges don't just help you but can help others as well.
Keep it up! I enjoy reading about them.

ScienceMama said...

Yay! I was afraid to ask about the food thing because I didn't want to make you feel bad if you had gone back to prepackaged foods, but that's great!

I'll send you some more recipes!

Also, you should really think about subscribing to Cooking Light mag... it's the best!

Cindy said...

Arduous, you are so right about behavior reforming. We get into the habit of doing things a certain way and often cannot conceive other options. When we do make a change, we often wonder why it was such a big mental hurdle. It took me a year or two from hearing about Diva cup to actually using it (btw, love it, not just for environmental reasons. It's simply an awesome product). It took me a year from thinking about composting to actually doing it (honestly can't say I LOVE it, but I don't mind and feel good about doing it). Even bringing my own coffee mug took a while to stick. Now I am more open-minded about trying new things that might have "scared" me a couple of year ago.

EcoGeoFemme said...

That's a lot! Cool.