I spent a while debating if I should sign up for a challenge this month. At first, I dismissed it. On second thoughts, the obvious yet mundane challenge that came to mind was: doing less(er) or learning to be comfortable with doing less. However, the longer I thought about it, the stronger I felt about needing to fit in something that’d bring me joy. The last few weeks of April have been sheer madness. I stripped away everything that could be possibly stripped away. I stopped writing. I put the podcast on pause. I stopped returning texts and tweets. I let the house run wild and did little else outside of work, read, repeat. While it’s kept me from feeling completely overwhelmed, it has left me feeling rather ‘meh’. I needed to add in something that made the day meaning and focusing on just ‘not losing my mind’ was not enough.
I am not expecting May to be easier. If anything, I expect more madness vs less. Thus, it is pertinent that I take on a challenge and even more pertinent that I take on something that’ll bring me joy yet not steal much time. Thankfully, these things do exist. Maybe meditate for ten minutes. Or pick up the long-neglected knitting needles and knit just one row a day. Or maybe a tiny ten-minute workout (plenty of those on YouTube). Or even just write for ten minutes a day.
The idea of doing an extra thing may feel daunting at first but the joy of having it done is disproportional to the imaginary pain I am currently attributing to it. I know what a hectic day filled with tasks that don’t bring with it any sense of achievement feels like. Even worse, I know what a week of it feels like and that is not a rabbit hole I am willing to get myself into. Thus, contrary to my challenge last month, here is the one for May – ‘Knit every day for ten minutes.’
No matter what gets in the way, I am going to do the same thing every day for this entire month. I could have left it at ‘do one thing’. I could have added the flexibility to do a different thing each day of the month but I know from experience that both are a recipe of disaster. The cognitive load of deciding is enough to throw me off track. Could I have picked a better task to do the ten minutes? Of course – I could have added in some exercise or writing. But at the start of the year, I set myself a goal of knitting a scarf and knitting one that is worthy of outdoor use. As of this moment, I can say that my knitting skills are worse than when I began the year thanks to neglect – so why not.
Surprise, surprise. My challenge to self is my challenge to you. Pick one thing and pick it now. Choose one thing that you’ve been putting off for a while. Then do it every day for ten minutes. I don’t care how busy you are. Irrespective of whether you are running a country or a start-up; you have ten minutes. Just ten minutes. Once you have picked your one thing, write it down somewhere you can see it. Maybe even leave it in the comments for me to read. And we’ll check in at the end of the month. I’ll share if I got anywhere close to completing my first scarf and you can tell me if you found success.
On a slightly different note, I’ve been terrible with my challenges this year. My nearest and dearest often get annoyed when I set challenges and don’t complete them. I usually NEVER complete/succeed at them. Sometimes I do. Yet, they fail to recognize that having a challenge gets me halfway there which is a whole lot closer to the finish than the starting point. And to recognize that I quite enjoy the process. I’ve learnt to not beat myself every time I fail hitting the target because I know when 2024 comes around, I’d have inched a lot closer to achieving my 24 goals.
Tell me: what’s your challenge for May and do you think of challenges the same way as I do?