2016 Challenges

Feeling a little less stressed I am thinking about challenges, and reading challenges in particular. I have two things due for uni in January, one of those has been emailed in today so right now I’m feeling a little freer and a little less stressed. So lets start with an important question:

Is anyone else’s hero Carrie Fisher right now?

Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”

Here’s the guardian’s article: “Carrie Fisher blasts Star Wars body shamers on Twitter” There is also a discussion on how she lost weight for the role and her thoughts on the matter.

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Anyhow, back to me. I’ve been thinking about a reading challenge I want to do. Here are some rules I have for my reading challenge:

  1. You must own the novel already.
  2. You must not have read it in the last ten years.
  3. You can read other things alongside if you wish.

I’ve been thinking that I’d like to try and do this slightly seasonally. I’d like to read the Hogfather by Terry Pratchett and a Christmas Carol by Dickens in December for example. Mostly this challenge is also about reading part of my growing collection that I haven’t touched yet, so I’m aiming to go for things I haven’t read yet.

For a quick initial list here is the first half of my reading challenge (in no particular order)

  1. The Hogfather – Pratchett
  2. A Christmas Carol – Dickens
  3. Sexing the Cherry – Winterson
  4. Farewell to Summer – Bradbury
  5. The Wasp Factory – Banks
  6. Pollen – Noon
  7. The Thousand Splendid Suns – Hosseini
  8. A Wizard of Earth Sea – Le Guin
  9. Far From the Madding Crowd – Hardy
  10. Mrs Dalloway – Woolf
  11. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Joyce
  12. She Came to Stay – Beauvior

 

Of course this isn’t the full list, but I guess I’m starting this year, as I start every year: Procrastinating. Whatever your doing and where ever you are: Happy New Years Eve!

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New Years Resolutions

Its almost the end of the year so naturally New Years eve is on my mind. Previous years I haven’t made much fuss, I haven’t made resolutions I’ve mostly I’ve spent it asleep as I’ve worked new years day. Mostly laughing at my hungover co-workers – which was a regular occurrence at my previous long term job.

It’s got me thinking because this year is a little different, I have both Christmas and New Years eve to myself. Should I go out? Should I make a resolution this year? I have had a couple of transformative years,  I changed my lifestyle drastically, lost a lot of weight and am generally healthier. I can’t really pin point if this was due to a resolution but there was decision making involved. Active decision making feels different from resolutions to me. Resolutions seem like the good intentions of Bridget Jones.

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They’re like promises we intend to break. Has anyone else ever noticed that resolutions seem to come from what we think we should be doing? Get in Shape, Stop Procrastinating, Become More active, Earn more money, Learn to be Happier, Get more Sleep, Quit Smoking, Drink Less, Eat Less, Have better sex, Read More, Reinvent my Wardrobe. They really sound like making promises to ourselves to be better. So we want to get in shape and sleep more and learn a new language and learn to cook and travel more. We want to be more productive and feel like we look better and are better and are interesting vibrant human beings.

But resolutions are also a little sad, because they’re sometimes treated with a half hearted smiles and a nod at what we know we won’t achieve. Sticking to things for an entire year isn’t really that big of a commitment in the long run. As two examples, I know a woman who didn’t drink for a year and a guy who wore a onesy every day for a year to raise money for charity. Both of them treated it like challenges and lasted the year.

I wonder if we challenged ourselves and made active decisions to make a lifestyle change or pick up a hobby or whatever if we’d be more successful. Its hardly surprising then that by the end of February some resolutions have been forgotten, already broken, put aside for next year if we’re not really seeing resolutions as serious things. They aren’t binding contracts. In reality they probably say a lot more about the person that makes them to break them. 

If I was going to make three resolutions they would be: ‘go to new places’, ‘write more’, ‘read more’. But I want to challenge myself in 2016. Because I don’t stick to resolutions. I’m much better at crossing things off lists and following a set plan.

For a realistic 2016 challenge: I’m going to make up a list of 12 places I want to go. 24 books I’d like to read. And a writing challenge, but I haven’t quite figured that one out yet. I’ll get back to you on exactly what these challenges are going to involve before New Year. There will have to be rules, lists to cross things off on, and we’re not going to call these resolutions.

These will be the 2016 Challenges.