The 2012 Challenge Wrap-Up

2012, like most years, has been a year of challenges. For me, it’s specifically been a year of challenges I’ve set for myself and then blogged my way through.

Here, as part of The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge, is my wrap-up of the challenges I’ve started—and sometimes completed—this year:

1) My Bold Plan for 2012: Starting January 1st, I did a self-guided version of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s 8-week MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) series. I actually completed all 8 weeks and for nearly half of the year had a really robust and regular meditation practice. Then we went on vacation and one of the cats decided to show his dismay at being left behind by comprehensively soiling my meditation cushion, and that was essentially the end of that daily practice. I got a new meditation cushion, but I’ve not been able to recapture the morning meditation habit.

2) Self-Compassion: In March, I challenged myself to develop self-compassion by journaling about an uncomfortable occurrence each day for one week (more info is at that “Self-Compassion” link). I did this as part of the Mindful Mama Carnival, co-sponsored by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. I did manage to journal every day for a week, but while I came up with some decent insights, it wasn’t really a practice that stuck with me.

3) Savory Smoothies Challenge: In August, I challenged myself to try a new savory (non-fruity) smoothie each day for a week. The first couple I tried were just…ugh. But I stuck with it and found three savory smoothies that have made it into my smoothie rotation. I still drink one nearly every morning, except when the avocados look brown inside or smell like bacon. Not that I have anything against the smell of bacon, I just think avocados should smell like avocados.

4) My “Little Audacious Plan”: In September, I wanted to set myself up with a big, ambitious challenge to finish out the year, but instead I set out to complete four smallish tasks. I ended up completing one of them (I got rid of my Facebook profile) and kind of halfway completing another (see ROW80 under #5). The other two? Yes, well, let’s not mention those.

5) ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days): After mulling it over for about a year, I finally decided to jump into a writing challenge for the fourth round of ROW80 this year. I was going to re-read a chapter a week of The Pen and the Bell by Brenda Miller and Holly Hughes, journal each day using one of their writing prompts, and meditate each day with one of their meditation suggestions. I can’t even tell you where I am with this. I did maybe 5 1/2 weeks of it and then just kind of dropped it. I’m hardly even journaling anymore, and I don’t remember the last time I meditated. Since I’m not even sure if the ROW80 round has ended yet or not, I’m pretty sure that means I’ve dropped out.

6) Weekly Photo Challenge: This may be the most fun I’ve had doing a challenge this year. When I first started posting as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge, I was so worried that the photos I took with my little point-and-shoot were silly or didn’t follow the challenge topic properly or not artistic enough or they broke some basic photography rules that everyone but me knows. I still want people to like my photos, but I don’t worry so much anymore about whether or not my pictures are “good.” I like the way the challenge helps me see the world in a different way, not only because I see different things  than I normally would while looking for subjects to photograph, but also because I get to see everyone else’s take on the challenge. Since late May, I’ve posted for this challenge nearly every week.

So, those were my challenges for 2012. I’ve got a couple in mind for 2013, but I’m going to let myself go challenge-free at least until January 1st.

What challenges have you set for yourself in the past twelve months? Did you meet your goals, or are you still working at them?

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