It’s that time of the year when everyone tries to better themselves. Or at least, the hopeful and potentially naive try to better themselves. The more skeptical might have already stopped coming up with new years resolutions. Yet, I definitely still believe in the potential of a fresh start.
Though I’ve never quite succeeded at fulfilling all of my goals, I’ve made progress. And, I’ve learned more about the power of making goals attainable. I believe that I should follow through on promises to myself with the same level of importance I give to promises I make to others.
You matter. You can improve. You can do anything you set your mind to.
With that being said, here is the TEDxMileHigh New Year Challenge. I invite you to join the challenge. If you decide to do it, follow through. Commit. It’s only seven days long. It’s incredibly attainable. It will push you out of your routine and into a new experience. And, since it has a TEDxMileHigh-twist, you might even find it fun!
How Does the New Year Challenge Work?
Each day of the week, you have a task to complete. That’s it! Feel free to recruit friends and family to join you or share the challenge with your colleagues for moral support. Feel free to print the challenge and hang in in your kitchen.
The New Year Challenge: 2020
Day 1: Positivity
Task: Go the entire day without complaining.
Why: It is so easy to complain. Sometimes we do it without even realizing it. Take this day to take note. How many times a day are you complaining when you could be celebrating? In moments you fill with complaining, how else can you participate? Do you need to ask people around you to cut back on complaining?
Day 2: Attention
Task: Look up 10 times throughout the day.
Why: Routines keep us productive and organized, but sometimes we get so caught up in them that we forget to be curious about the world around us. If we follow the same route to work every day, we might not notice interesting or beautiful things around us. Take 10 small moments to pay attention to something new. Decide to look up, look at the mountains, notice the tree above you, or watch the bird fly away.
Day 3: Kindness
Task: Do someone a favor.
Why: When was the last time you did something for someone else just because? Or when someone did something kind for you? Maybe you perform random acts of kindness all the time. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you did. Either way, why not extend some kindness to someone else. Do something selfless for someone without expecting anything in return.
You could buy a stranger a cup of coffee or leave your favorite book in a public space for someone to else to enjoy. You could even volunteer to give free mom or dad hugs—or be a stand-in parent at a wedding—in support of the LBGTQ community (watch this talk by Susan Cottrell).
Day 4: Courage
Task: Do something that scares you.
Why: If you haven’t discovered your fear archetype yet, now is a good time. Fear holds us back on a daily basis. Take this day to conquer small fears you encounter throughout the day. As you go about your day, notice if you make any decisions out of fear. When you are scared, do the thing that scares you in that moment. Even if it’s just saying hello to a stranger in an elevator.
Day 5: Self-Care
Task: Treat yourself to something alone.
Why: We can often rush from one event or meeting to another, without tuning in to what we need in a given moment, day, week, or even month. It’s so important to take care of ourselves and to spend quality time (date night!) with your one-and-only self. Today, give yourself permission to take care of yourself. See a movie alone, take a bath, or eat at a fancy restaurant alone. Spend some quality time with yourself doing something fun or regenerative.
Day 6: Connection
Task: Leave your cellphone at home for the day.
Why: It seems and often feels like we can’t live without our cellphones, but we really can. Even if you don’t believe you are addicted to your little screen, prove me wrong by leaving it at home. Notice how you might feel more connected to the rest of the world, the people in your life, and the experiences you have. Notice how you are more equipped than you think you are to navigate and orient yourself, find solace in quiet moments, or even that you can recall more than you think without your device.
Day 7: Self-Love
Task: Go the entire day without putting yourself down.
Why: The truth is a lot of us spend our days putting ourselves down. Whether it’s through self-deprecating humor or by deflecting compliments, most of us are guilty. If someone compliments you, accept it. Say thank you. If you are disappointed in yourself, focus on what you are doing well, how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned.
I hope you have fun with this challenge. Here’s to another year and decade of positivity, attention, kindness, courage, self-care, connection, and self-love. You can do anything you set your mind to.