Join me in this Challenge: Small Wins for February

Small Wins Challenge

We all have so much that we want to accomplish each day. I know that I never get everything done that I want to. There just isn’t enough time in the day! But instead of feeling like here you are months and months later, and nothing has changed, what if you felt differently? What if instead you could say that you did a lot?

It’s all about how you frame it. If you look at everything that you accomplish as a “small win”, you’ll feel a lot better about the things that you do get done.

Plus, the more that you realize that you’re accomplishing, the more you’ll be happier realizing it, and you’ll want to do even more.

Because of this, I’d like to help make February a lot better for all of us. Instead of each of us saying to ourselves at the end of the month that once again we didn’t get enough done, I want us to see it differently. I want us to see how much we DID accomplish in February, and how many wins we had.

So each day for the month of February the goal is to accomplish something. The whole point is that it can be something small. We just want a small win. We don’t need to clean the whole house today, but what about clearing off the counter? We don’t have to organize the closet…but what about finding 10 things that we don’t want anymore and can donate or sell?

In other words, we need to make sure that we have a “small win”. February is the best month of the year to do this in. It’s the shortest month! We only need to do this for 28 days and then we can say that we had a small win every single day for the month.

In fact, I think you’re going to enjoy this so much, that you’re going to want to keep doing this. At least that’s my hope, and my goal.

I’m going to be doing this challenge as well. In fact, I planned on doing it myself before I decided to share it. Why? Because I also have big things that I want to accomplish…and they never get done. If I think of the big things, they’ll never get accomplished. Plus, I feel like I never accomplish anything…and I know that is NOT true.  But if each day I can have a small win…and pay attention to that fact, little by little I’ll get to where I want to be.

So who wants to join me? It doesn’t matter if you see this and it’s already a few days in…or even a month later. Let’s see how many small wins we can get!

Day 1: Do Something You’ve been Wanting to Do

Sometimes it’s easier to finally get yourself to do something when you REALLY want to do it!

I like bagels. They’re a quick, easy, and tasty lunch while I’m working. It only takes me a few minutes to get it ready, and then a few more minutes to eat. Then I can go back to whatever I was working on. The problem is that they aren’t the healthiest lunch. I do try to make them a bit healthier by putting a vegetable on top of the cream cheese most days, but still…

To fix this, I started buying wheat bagels. I know they’re healthier, but I don’t know how much healthier since they don’t come with a nutrition label. For weeks now, I’ve been saying I want to make my own bagels. This way I can use whole wheat flour, and make sure they are healthy. I can also add in whatever I want to make them even better.

Today, I FINALLY made bagels for the first time. Now, I am NOT usually a bread maker. I have the book “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and have made my own no-knead bread a few times before over the past decade, but that was it. Note to myself: Use the book and make some bread sometime this month!

While it look a lot of waiting time – for the dough to rise, and the bagels to cook, it really wasn’t that time consuming. I tried a piece of one soon afterwards, and it tasted 85%-90% like the bagels I’d buy. Considering that it was my first effort, I was really impressed! And now I have lunch for the next week as the recipe made 8 bagels. This time I made plain whole wheat and everything whole wheat bagels, but next time (and there will be a next time!) I think I’ll add some other things to the dough to try something different.

Day 2: Do Something While You’re Waiting

I used to exercise every morning for 20+ minutes. Due to many reasons, that hasn’t been happening enough lately. I’m lucky I get up when the alarm goes off! I recently read that even doing one minute of exercise at a time a few times a day can help.  The article says that by doing one minute of exercise at a time a few times a day you can help stave off disease and early death. Now I might not be able to get myself to do 20 minutes at a time…but I have absolutely no excuse to not be doing one minute at a time a few times a day.

So today, while I was waiting for my bagel (that I made yesterday) to toast, I jumped on my mini-trampoline. My daughter asked to use it the other day, and so it’s still out. I jumped on it for about 3 minutes while waiting. It was enough to get my heart rate up, and so I felt like I accomplished something.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll add another few minutes in at some point during the day. But the point is, I got a win…and did more than I had the days before, and that’s what matters.

Day 3: Doing Something I Want to Do (again?)

I love reading. In fact, I spend a lot of time reading. I have a huge list of non-fiction books that I want to read. Many are business related, but either way, they’re on my list because I WANT to read them. But somehow, whenever I reach for a book, it’s almost always fiction.

I read fiction so much faster…and let’s face it. Most of the time it’s more fun. Don’t get me wrong, I learn a lot from non-fiction books, but I’d prefer to read the fiction ones.

Well, I got a book from the library a week and a half ago, and I was only about 10% done with it. It’s called The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness by Robert Waldinger M.D. and Marc Schulz Ph.D. It’s all about how to lead a good life. They talk about how to be happy. It’s a REALLY interesting book. I enjoy it. But like I said, I don’t reach for it when I want to read. I only have a few more days before the book has to be returned, so I forced myself to read it a bunch today.

I’m really enjoying it and am learning a lot. I’m glad I’m reading it. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll finish it before it’ll be returned, so I’ll have to put it on hold again. Hopefully I’ll get it back soon and will be able to finish it.

Day 4: Doing Something I DON’T Want to Do

This morning I took my daughter to a birthday party. I didn’t know any of the other parents there. Now in case you don’t know, I am a HUGE introvert. If I could do whatever I wanted, I would have sat there quietly reading a book until the party was over. I wouldn’t have said a single word to another parent. But I know that wouldn’t be the smart thing to do. So, I got out of my comfort zone (I mean REALLY far out) and went up to multiple parents to talk to them. I can’t say that it was smooth…and that they were great conversations, but I did go up to parents and start talking. I introduced myself, told them which kid was mine, and asked which was theirs.

I think by the end of the party I had talked to about 6 different parents! I was really proud of myself. Don’t get me wrong…the first thing I did when I came home was tell my husband that I didn’t want to talk to another person for at least 3 weeks…but I did it. And now the next time I’m at an event, I’ll at least know some of the other parents.

Day 5: Getting More Sleep

I know everyone needs a different amount of sleep…but I’m one of those people that needs a LOT of sleep. Unfortunately, for the past few months I have not been good at getting it. It’s my own fault. At night once my daughter is finally asleep, I just want to relax. So I watch some TV, play on my laptop, and before I know it, it’s past when I wanted to go to bed.

Then, to make things worse, I’ll get into bed and read for a while! This adds up to a huge lack of sleep for me…and it’s been making me very exhausted. So I was able to take a one and a half hour nap this afternoon. Plus, I went to bed at a reasonable time.

Now I just need to keep it up!

Day 6: Planning Meals a Little Bit Ahead of Time

In a perfect world, every Friday night my husband and I would figure out what we’d have for dinner the following week. That way, we would make sure that either on Saturday or Sunday we’d go to the store or stores that we needed to get the ingredients.

This would make the week go easily then, as when it was time for dinner, we’d know exactly what we were having.

That never happens. I’m thrilled if I know what I’m making for dinner sometime earlier in the day.

I was going food shopping today, so I was making a list. I came up with a few ideas so that I’d know what we were having the next few days at least. Is it perfect? Nope…not even close to what I wanted. But at least the next few days I don’t have to think about dinner. We’ll eat earlier too since we won’t have to spend the time going “What do you want for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” back and forth like usual.

Day 7: Reading to Relax

I love to read. I find it very relaxing reading fiction, and really enjoy doing it. I don’t always get the time to read though. Today, I read not only while my daughter was in dance class and I was waiting for her, but also read during lunch as well as at night before bed.

It was really nice to spend so much time reading. I have to make sure I keep reading every day…or at least almost every day.

Day 8: Cleaning

My daughter stayed home from school today as she wasn’t feeling well. So I didn’t think I’d get anything accomplished either with work or around the house. But I was happily wrong. The credit for this one goes all to my daughter.

She asked if we could play in her room. Of course I said yes, and when we got to her room, she said that she didn’t like that the middle of the room had “stuff” (a.k.a. some of her toys) in it, and could we clean it?

Of course I replied with an enthusiastic YES! We spent the next half hour or so cleaning up her room. When we finished, I found out why she wanted it clean. She wanted to be able to have the room to dance around in her room. As soon as we finished, we danced around her room, and she showed me the different steps she’s learned in her ballet and tap class.

Day 9: Put Away Laundry

Most of the time I do my daughter’s laundry during a weekday while I’m working. Since I don’t want to take the time to put it away while I’m working, sometimes it just sits in the laundry basket for a while. So I spent some time today going through all of the laundry, putting it away, and going through some of her drawers. It looks a lot nicer now, and her room looks even better now!

…to be continued tomorrow!

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