January 2021 Challenge Start and December 2020 Challenge Recap

Sunday January 3, 2020 // Post-Bedtime

Well, here we are again. This article tees up my January 2021 Challenge and recaps my December 2020 Challenge. Let’s go!

Overall Thoughts on December 2020 Challenge

December 2020 Challenge Completed Habit Tracker
Completed December 2020 Challenge Habit Tracker

The December 2020 Challenge was 5 weeks long, compared to the 4 weeks I did for the November and October 2020 Challenges. That’s just the way math and the calendar works sometimes. So knowing this, all my +/- from the previous month are all jacked up and so will January’s recap post because that challenge is 4 weeks long. Oh well. It’s not about numbers, per se, but about accomplishing the tasks. And that’s what I did.

December wasn’t easy. It was by far the toughest challenge yet. Most peoples’ 9-5s ramp down towards the end of the year. Mind speeds up 10-fold trying to cash in on as many projects as they can. My time was strapped. I even took off the 3rd week of the month since I had so much vacation time to burn (ended up having to leave a few days on the table too which I’m wholly, morally against). However that week I was still logging on multiple times a day to play air traffic controller and respond to the various “fires”. Add a teething toddler to the mix and that week was as tough as any of them.

But despite the pressures of my job, having the little guy running around all day long, and the stress of the Holidays I was able to complete last month’s challenge. Here are the details.

Habit #1: Drink 36oz of Water Everyday

Total Water Consumed in December: 1,260 Ounces (+420oz from November)

The water habit is, well, now a habit. Now that I’m three months into pounding aqua I can sense when I haven’t been drinking my regular amount and all of a sudden it’s not 6:30 PM and I’m trying to gulp down a tallboy’s worth of H2O.

For the January 2021 Challenge I’m leaving the amount as 36oz of water a day, everyday once again. I feel like in February I’ll ramp it up to 42oz but for now with the two additional habits I’m adding to the challenge (more on them below) I’m comfortable keeping the status quo.

BTW, 1,260 ounces equals 9.8 gallons of water. That’s almost a gallon every three days for the month. If you would have asked me over the summer if I thought that was possible I never would have believed it.

Habit #2: Stretch for 15 Minutes 4x a Week

Total Time Stretched in December: 303 Minutes (+121 Minutes from November)

In November I found joy doing yoga. In December, I did yoga for a grand total of zero minutes. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to. I was typically doing yoga via YouTube videos in the evenings after my workouts and Calm session. However in December by the time I was done with pre-yoga things it was so late in the evening I wasn’t going to be able to spend any time with my wife.

So I pivoted. I moved yoga time alone in the office/man room to stretch time in the family room while I hung out with my wife. It worked. We could chat and/or watch TV all while I worked on a habit. Win/win even without the yoga. The additional one extra session a week wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be using this new routine.

In January I’m going to leave this habit in place. 15 minutes 4x a Week.

Habit #3: Walk or Run 1 Mile or 15 Minute Workout 4x a Week

Total Miles Walked/Ran in December: 6.03 Miles (-11.81 Miles from November)
Total Minutes Worked Out in December: 270 Minutes (+180 Minutes from November)

Outside of a handful of days, December was coooooold. I was able to squeeze in two afternoon stroller sessions and one run. That one run I remember feeling really good afterwards too. Most of the month was spent in the office/man room doing elastic band exercises, kettlebell goblet squats, and leg lifts.

The post-bedtime exercises are a chore. I researched some additional bodyweight exercises to do which I’ve incorporated into the routine. They help shake it up a bit. I’m not “having fun” with it but know and understand the value of what I’m doing when I’m doing it. And I always feel good when I’m done.

I have zero plans in place to “make it fun” right now. I know I could find new exercises to do, track my workouts and try to beat last time, yada yada yada. But for now I’m content with just showing up. Pumping the iron, or elastic. And crossing it off the to-do list.

For January this habit will remain the same.

Habits #4 and #5: Create 1 New Blog Post and 1 New YouTube Video for EVF a Week

Total Number of New Blog Posts and YouTube Videos in December: 5 Posts and 5 Videos

As you can tell from the chart, every week in December I was scrambling to complete either a new blog post or YouTube video on Friday or Saturday. That was primarily because of my 9-5 being more like 7-7 most days.

I got it done though. It wasn’t always fun but I was quite proud of a number of pieces that I published. I’m at 9 or 10 consecutive weeks of publishing a new blog post and YouTube video and can feel momentum. The momentum doesn’t make it easy to do but it does make it easier. I’m quicker now than three months ago doing things like making screen captures and giving them good alternative text descriptions. I’m spending overall more time on these things but the quality is better. I know it takes Google awhile to get these articles and videos up the charts but hope to start to see growth in the coming months.

For January this goal remains the same.

Thoughts on the Upcoming January 2021 Challenge

January 2021 Challenge Blank Habit Tracker
January 2021 Challenge Habit Tracker

New Habits for January 2021 Challenge

For the January 2021 Challenge I’m adding two additional habits. Habit #6 will be reading 150 pages a week. There’s no set page amount per day. Just 150 pages a week. I have a goal of reading 26 books this year. That’s 26 more than last year. My thinking is that the average book I’m going to read will be around 300 pages. If I can do 150 pages a week then I’ll hit that goal.

For what it’s worth I’m combining January 1 through January 3’s reading total in the chart. This is my challenge and I’ll do what I want! Plus, with this being a brand new habit I need all the help I can get and I’m willing to “cheat” a little bit if it helps me get to the ultimate finish line.

Habit #7 is a bit of an odd one. Habit #7 is to spend 10 minutes 2x a week doing miscellaneous tasks that are sitting on my to-do list. I have a to-do list a mile long in OmniFocus. These are things like “fix AMP issue on website”. Or “figure out how to log into your HSA account”. Or “declutter the silverware drawer”. These things have been sitting there for ages. And I just need a kick in the butt to get me going on some of them. Sure, I won’t complete everything in 20 minutes a week but that’s better than no minutes a week. Gotta start small. We’ll see how this one goes.

That recaps the December 2020 Challenge and tees up the January 2021 Challenge. Wishing you good luck in whatever habits you’re working on.

Make sure to check out the previous Challenges:

– Josh // buried in a book

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