Challenges | Prep for 2015

One thing I wish I had done for 2014, which I will be doing for 2015, is get myself a couple of challenges.  These are different from goals or resolutions (which I don’t really make) because they have concrete steps built into them.  My challenge for 2013 was to graduate from college.

This doesn't have much to do with the post, but that's my planner for next year.

This doesn’t have much to do with the post, but that’s my planner for next year.

 

Decide on an area of your life where you want a challenge, first.  Do you want a fitness challenge?  A travel challenge?  A career change challenge?  Maybe you’re struggling to fit your hobbies in with your job and school and family.  A hobby challenge (maybe photo a day?) will help you keep them in your life.  Maybe you’ve moved to a new city and haven’t seen much of it yet.  With a little searching you can easily find a list of the best sites to see, and make that into a challenge, or maybe there’s already a challenge for your city!

For 2015, I will be participating in the Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge.  (You can find the Pop Sugar post here, and I will be uploading a video about it too!)  This amounts to 50 books (or 52 depending on how you interpret the trilogy point) to read during 2015, but it’s more limited than that.  This challenge presents 50 specific types of books, including a graphic novel, a book by a female author, and a book more than 100 years old.  For a different reading challenge you could choose the Rory Gilmore reading list, but that is 335 books long so you may want to choose one season or an arbitrary number of books from Rory’s list.  If you’re not into being restricted in your reading, you could try a GoodReads 50 book challenge.  You can actually personalize that to any number of books that works for you, so if 50 seems too high or too low, you can change it up.  (This year I said 40, but I didn’t take it very seriously, and I didn’t reach it).

A fellow Creampuff on Tumblr, Juli, made this incredible 2015 TV & Movie Challenge, if that’s more your speed.  Much like the 2015 Reading Challenge above, this has different categories, and requirements for completion.  (Sidenote, don’t know what a creampuff is?  You need to watch Carmilla).

 

If you’d prefer a fitness related challenge, you could try Couch to 5k.  Or doing a certain number of 30 Day Shred cycles.  If you’re into swimming set a concrete time goal and write out the steps.

 

Writing an entire novel is a great challenge, if it’s something you’re into.  Nanowrimo and the Office of Letters and Light could get you started.  Rachel Hawkins (author of one of my favorite series) and Victoria Schwab (author of the incredible Near Witch) have a system involving stickers and a calendar which you could adopt.

 

I recently adopted Rosianna Halse Rojas’ 100 Jobs Challenge from 2012 but have since given up because I got a job (actually, since I wrote the draft of this post, I got two!  more info to come).  I’ll probably pick that back up when my seasonal job ends, though.  If you’re in need of a career change, or just a career in general, this would be a great one.  For a career change, though, I’d recommend getting some clear steps in mind before you attack applications.  For more about career searching, keep your eyes open for Job Interview Week next month.  January is all about that Job Search for many of us.

 

I’d recommend picking a couple of challenges to keep yourself motivated.  I’ll probably pick a fitness challenge as well, but I haven’t decided what yet.  If you want something more long term, create a 25 By 25 style list of goals.  I recently-ish revised mine to reflect my current priorities.

Maybe I just prefer challenges to resolutions because I’m competitive.  I am both a Leo and a younger sister, after all.

 

Planners | Prep For 2015

Let’s talk about planners. I am the ultimate planner nerd. I’ve had planners since I was like 10, although I’ve only consistently used them in college and since. Bring me your planner questions!

 

First, let’s decide what kind of planner works for you. Do you want a ring bound? A wire bound? A regular bound? I’ve used all of the above. Generally my favorite is the ring bound, because you can always add pages, but for 2015 I’m using a bound planner from Target. (In fact, it’s this one). Do you need to have your notes in the same place as your planner? Then a ring bound might be for you. I usually ended up carrying a separate notebook anyway, so I didn’t use the notes section of my ring bound planner as much as I theoretically should have.

2015 Planner

Get at me 2015!

Next we need to decide is what size planner you’ll need. I’ve used tiny planners, but I don’t like the lack of space. I’ve used big A5 planners, but they’re hard to carry around everywhere. Usually I default to something about the size of a personal Filofax – 3.7×6.7 inches. For a ring bound planner, keep in mind that your actual binder will be larger, which is part of what makes them even bulkier. If you always carry an enormous purse, I suppose it won’t make much difference, but I also like to be able to grab a small one and just go do my errands. Maybe stop by the bookstore or the library. So I like medium sized planners. If you’re responsible for multiple people, especially kids, you might want a larger planner than I do.

 

Once you’ve decided what size planner you need, and what kind you want, the fun part happens. You get to shop for a planner. I used three different planners in 2014, and none of them were quite perfect. I like to shop online a bit for planners before I go and actually buy one in a store. Target has a great selection, both from the Sugar Paper LA line and from their regular line. (I honestly debated whether I should spend the $8 on my new planner for a really long time, but I love it so much I decided it was worthwhile). Barnes & Noble also has a good selection, as does Staples. If you’re in the Filofax game, you should look around online first because buying from their website is very expensive.

I recently came across the Passion Planner. If I didn’t already have my 2015 planner, I might have bought the Passion Planner. It was created by a young woman who felt lost for years, and then created the planner to work herself out of that lost feeling. I think it looks gorgeous, and fascinating, and incredibly useful. You can even try it out for free!

 

If you’re like me, though, you’re too nervous to buy a planner without reading a bunch of blog posts about different types and different specific planners. One of the best planner blogs is Plannerisms. For Filofax planners specifically, there’s Philofaxy. If you like the look of a Filofax, but also think it looks a little boring, check out Gala Darling’s guide to Filofaxes. Trust me, Gala never does anything boring.

 

This year I chose a bound, pretty, Sugar Paper LA planner from Target because I kept coming back to it. I’ll probably bring a small notebook with me everywhere so I can make notes and have an overall to do list from which I choose that day’s tasks. I know I’ll need that notebook because I’ve tried all different kinds of planners before, and I know myself. Try different kinds of planners, you’ll learn something even if you hate that particular planner.

For more about prepping for 2015, watch this space.