2018: 12 months, 12 challenges | Simply Marcia

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2018: 12 months, 12 challenges

Having made it to mid-January without a drop of alcohol (the longest I’ve gone without a G&T for years – literally), and determined to see Dry January through until the bitter end (16 days and counting …), I’ve decided to create 11 further month-long challenges.

Why? Well a) because having an end in sight is motivation in itself, b) around 4 weeks for a challenge is doable as far as I’m concerned (and before the novelty value wears off) and c) past experience has shown me that grand sweeping, generic resolutions along the lines of ‘I’m going to get fit’ or ‘I’m going to lose weight’ just never, ever work for me.

But, short-term commitments or challenges are good for me. I’m not always very good at trying new things – it’s the scared-of-failure thing I think! So anyway, I’m hoping that one of the outcomes of my challenges is that I learn to enjoy new habits – so most of my monthly challenges are based around nutrition, health, fitness and good mental health practices.

So this is my plan of monthly challenges:

I’m already half-way through dry January and to be honest, it’s going ok actually. I’ve had the odd moment where I’ve really fancied a cheeky little G&T but I’m determined to get to 1st Feb without alcohol – I think I might be finally discovering the will power I never thought I had.

Sugar free February. Supported by Cancer Research UK, this is another higher-profile monthly challenge. Their site has loads of tips and advice. I’ve also found some great recipes on The Body Coach site as well as individuals on Twitter to follow including London Health Mum for sugar free tips.

30 minutes of blogilates every day. Ok, so 30 minutes a day might not sound like much of a commitment but, this will be on top of my 45 minute daily uphill dog walk (and work, children, etc) – so for me, this IS a commitment.

3 vegan days per week. I try to have around 3 completely meat free days per week and have vaguely dabbled with vegan meals but want to do it properly a few days a week. A great site for tracking down ready-made vegan meals, snacks etc is My Vegan Supermarket and for vegan recipes and a 30 day Vegan Pledge you can take, to go vegan for 30 days, The Vegan Society will be my go-to.

The Body Coach’s 2 week (x 2 workout plan to lose weight and tone up fast! I’m anticipating this one being tough – we’ll see how it goes!

No dairy. I’ve more time to research this monthly challenge but found Healthy Magazine is a useful starting point.

Meditation and month of calm! In preparation for the kids breaking up from school, I thought this might be apt – I’ve done a bit of research and loads of people swear by the Calm app so I’m going to be downloading this and

I’ve always fancied having a go at making some of my own skincare, so with that in mind, James Wong’s book ‘Grow your own drugs‘ in hand and Lucy Bee’s website on stand-by, that’s my plan (though if it doesn’t quite work out I will might treat myself to a VeganKind beauty box).

Like January, September is a month of new starts and good habits, so am planning on doing the squat & plank challenge (eeek, do I know what I’m letting myself in for?!)

Surf school. I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf properly – or at least have a go! I’ve chosen October as it’s out of season but the sea is still a good temperature. There are some brilliant surf schools here in Cornwall – the one I’m thinking about learning with is Surf’s Up in Polzeath.

Walking to running. I remember running as a child ha! But am keen to see if I can still run so will be downloading the 30 minute run plan from Women’s Running to get me motivated and started!

Green Christmas. I’m pretty sure that as per all previous years, December will be busy and pressured enough as it is, so no fitness or health challenge here except to have as green a Christmas as possible.

Have you ever set yourself a month long challenge? How did it work out for you? Or maybe you’re feeling inspired to try a challenge or two this year?

Wish me luck! x

Exercise excuses

Umm, so the thing is, I don’t really do exercise. I mean I walk super-fast, shaking my booty as I go, as I’m pretty much late for EVERYTHING. And I walk the dog. I bend up and down when hanging out the washing (good for your waist no?!). I have bags dumped on me left, right and centre by the kids when I pick them up from school (I AM the archetypal laden-down, harassed-looking, bag-carrying mummy – aka slave) – great for your arms. I take the kids swimming and kind of drift around, with my 8-year old non-swimmer-child firmly attached to me (umm hello weight-bearing and water-based exercise? No?!).

It’s that for me, both the idea of and the actuality of going to and participating in an actual exercise class (of any description) is like the biggest turn off ever for me. Anything with the label ‘exercise’ will elicit an immediate harrumph and shaking of head from me. As Mr Cowell would say, “it’s a no from me”.
I’m not massively lazy; I mean, I’m actually very, very busy (obvs) and there’s always stuff to do (usually requiring me to be in a stationary and sedentary position), and quite frankly, if I’m being very, very honest, I’m just not that bothered about doing exercise.

Yes, I know about all of the health benefits blah blah blah – I have lived a bit you know. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be super-lean and firm and all that stuff, I just live in a continuous state of delusion that one day, all the careful and healthy eating will (actually) pay off and without the help of even one stomach crunch or leg squat, I’ll wake up looking super trim …

Ok, so back to reality. I’m 44. My body is kind of changing I think. Weight is definitely harder to shift than it was even 5 years ago. Which means less calories are needed (what?!! crap) and I realise a ‘must try harder’ attitude is needed.

A quick visual assessment of my body (which I do love – just a teeny bit firmer please) indicates that legs and tummy are the areas to focus on – think waist down. So my challenge (which partner is (annoyingly) helping to enforce) is to basically do a shed-load of said leg squats, stomach crunches, planks etc. EVERY day and at EVERY empty-space opportunity. Think whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, when brushing teeth (leg squats only for this one – am thinking teeth brushing whilst stomach crunching could be taking multi-tasking a step too far) or whilst waiting for the bath to fill up. The golden rule though: never in public – empty-space opportunities such as waiting for the bus to arrive, or waiting for the kids to hot-foot it out of the school gates are not the time.

If, like me, you need a Mr (or Mrs) Motivator to keep you going, then have you come across The Body Coach? He’s on a one-man mission to get us all lean, clean and super-hot. Follow him on Facebook for free (and quick) toning-up tips and recipe ideas 🙂

No more exercise excuses!!