January of the Year Without

The first round of the "Month Without" experiment.

The month of January was an antithesis for me, but it was by choice.

Although it should witness plenty of gusto and rush in trying to cover ground and put into motion the goals that have been set for the year, I specifically desisted from this expected approach.

Being that in 2014 the focus is more on systems than goals, I chose to experiment with January – to see what would work and continue the year with adjustments to the observations made during the month-long experimentation.

In January, there was a constant flux of interruptions and instability that hindered the new habits and routines I had decided to start. Most of the tasks (personal) due for the end of the month were still unchecked on the 31st. With a different attitude, I observed the trends that preceded the massive failure that would have been averted if I practiced:

  • Setting rigid time for certain activities
  • Having an uncluttered list of routines on paper and in my head
  • Using paper to replicate Wunderlist’sinbox method (GTD) (technology wasn’t working now, as I can’t send multiple tasks to any app via one email)
  • Focusing on not more than 3 things at any given point in time especially “to-dos”
  • Working one task at a time

The Month Without

The best thing I ‘took home’ at the end of January was the result of another experiment I was conducting on myself. I had read a lot from Leo Babauta’s blog last year and decided to try out his “The Year Without” concept with my own monthly challenges. The main idea of these challenges is to stay off something for a month. Simple. Personally, I think this is something you should try out. One thing it has done to me is that, it has made me more observant (January was very chaotic, especially in my head) and in the process I made some new discoveries about myself. January was my “Month Without Soft Drinks”. Out of 31 days, I failed only five times (I drank five bottles of soft drinks). During this challenge I learnt that:

  • Urges rise and fall when you wait a little longer and do nothing (this happened many times)
  • Being prepared for anything is everything (The days I took a drink were days that I didn’t plan ahead about what I would eat, so I ended up drinking to augment)

Moving Into February

Carrying out my “The Month Without” challenge was really insightful for me and I plan to continue in February. February is “The Month without Sugar” and although I am starting late (from the 8th), the most important thing is that I am starting. I believe I will get better with time. In addition to sugar I have included some more.

  • The Month of 500 Words Everyday
  • The Month of One Book Every Week (40 Pages Everyday)
  • The Month of Meditation Everyday

To make these challenges easier to do:

  • I will choose specific and rigid time
  • I will set up reminders for everyday
  • I will write them in large lettering and put them in a visible place like my room, my phone’s standby by screen

I am looking for a partner though. Wish me luck in February.

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