Why not try something new this year and step out of your comfort zone! Here are 5 fun ways to challenge yourself in 2021:
1. Take Part in Veganuary
Veganuary takes place in, you've guessed it, January! So it's a great one to start the year with.
Going strong since 2014, the challenge is to be vegan for one month to raise awareness of issues surrounding animal welfare and to promote compassionate choices.
My partner is vegan and I'm intolerant to dairy (along with gluten and soy!), so we always eat a vegan diet. Despite what many people think, I can tell you that our meals are hugely varied, exciting and delicious. Invest in a great book like Feed Me Vegan by Lucy Watson for some amazing meal ideas!
2. Learn a New Language
Whilst this won't be quick, it will definitely be worth it! Pick a language you're interested in or will use either at work or when you (eventually) go on holiday.
Learning a second language provides amazing benefits to your brain, improving memory, intelligence, concentration and lowering risks of dementia and Alzheimer's.
3. Try a New Physical Activity
We can sometimes get a bit stuck in a rut when it comes to our exercise routine. This is despite research suggesting that mixing up your workout allows overworked muscles, joints and ligaments to rest and recover, providing long-term benefits to your health.
I was reminded of this while watching one of the world's strongest man rounds over Christmas. One of the competitors (I can't remember who) was described as mixing up their training to include ballet and pilates because this gave them a huge advantage. I was so surprised!
So why not try something new? Yoga, pilates, barre, kickboxing, tai chi, weights, dance, walking, couch to 5k...the list is endless! Just pick one and give it a real go.
4. Challenge Yourself to a No-spend Month
Inspired by my fabulous friend Charlie, I did this myself last year and was amazed at what I achieved!
It isn't quite what it sounds like. You obviously need to spend some money, so first create a list of exceptions such as rent/mortgage, utility bills, petrol or travel expenses, and a budget for buying groceries and to replace any essential toiletries.
Then look at everything else and simply say no. No coffees, no buying breakfast, lunch or dinner, no new clothes, books, music, games, no holidays etc.
I'm not going to pretend it's easy. At the beginning I felt like I wasn't 'allowed' to do anything and I had to be better organised to prepare meals too. But it was 100% worth it. That month I saved £700 instead of the £200 I usually put away. Mind blown!
I couldn't believe I wasted so much money every month! I learned so much about myself and my money mindset and honestly I haven't looked back. I highly recommend you give it a try!
5. Make a Difference
This one is simple. Choose to make a difference. That could be helping a friend, neighbour or family member, volunteering for a charity, making an extra effort to recycle or shop green, or just being kinder and more generous with your gratitude.
Positive psychology research tells us that doing these things leads to greater happiness, wellbeing and life satisfaction. So think about how you can make a difference this year.
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