A 28-day Challenge – Day 1

7/28

Over the weekend, I had a pile of ironing to do. Yes, not the most interesting start to a blog post, I realise this, but nicely washed and ironed clothes are part of a good life and I’ve been slacking, so the pile was HIGH! I counted what I’d ironed in the end – 12 collared shirts, 9 t-shirts, one shift dress, 7 serviettes, 9 dish cloths, 4 pillow cases, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of shorts.

I digress.

The point is that it took me several hours, during which time I re-watched the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cotton, and then listened to a couple of my favourite talks by the Buddhist Reverend Kusala (whom I love listening to and whose talks about Dharma and life are interesting and  funny and wise). It may sound like I was having a little self-help session whilst ironing, but the reality is that I’ve been making small, incremental changes for years, and my father’s death in October 2016 accelerated the process. I say “accelerated”, but if I’m perfectly honest, the acceleration was more about thinking than doing. After my marathon ironing session, we went to a 50th birthday party (my first 50th other than my father – must be getting old!), and I spent a lot of time thinking about all the things that I professed to want to do, but didn’t do.

So I decided to use the rest of the (long) weekend to identify a few things that I really wanted to do and spend 28 days doing them.

My list was as follows (in no particular order):

  • lose 15kgs
  • repaint my bicycle and ride it everywhere
  • play the ukulele for 15 minutes a day – maybe longer!
  • play the guitar for 15 minutes a day – maybe longer!
  • write daily – the aim being to complete, finally, the first draft of one of my ideas for a children’s book
  • publish 2 or more podcasts a week (story podcasts)
  • get my storytelling business into the press and drum up more business
  • publicise my communication skills business and drum up some interest
  • spend time every day building my knowledge of both business storytelling and performance storytelling by immersing myself in the resources available to me – books, videos, audio and so on
  • do Pilates daily
  • improve my German
  • improve my limited Italian
  • embrace body lotion
  • create the perfect perfume for m!
  • practice the 5 precepts daily – not to take life, not to take what is not given, not to speak unskillfully, not to consume intoxicants, not to engage in sexual misconduct (see Rev Kusala for a breakdown of these)
  • practice gratitude daily
  • sing more!

And today is day 1.

My first observation…

My list is rather long! I have 15 items, excluding the “lose 15kgs” and “repaint & ride bicycle” goals. Assuming that I invest a mere 15 minutes in working on each item every day, that’s a minimum of 3.75 hours that I need to set aside each day to do these things.

Fortunately I am an early riser – up at 5am most days, I should be able to spread my activities throughout the day and still do a full day of work, and of course, 4 of my goals are work-related anyway.

So how did day 1 pan out?

Lose 15kgs:
I’m having a go at juicing, either for breakfast and lunch with a healthy supper, or for all three meals depending on what’s happening on the day. I’m giving myself one exclusion day per week where I can indulge if I feel like it, and which also makes some things easier, like birthday parties etc. Today I’ve juiced a litre of fresh juice – carrots, cucumber, lettuce, green pepper and beetroot – and all has been well.

Repaint my bicycle and ride it everywhere:
This may not work. It turns out that my lovely bicycle needs a part called a Tooth Washer, that Shimano (the creator of my cruising bike functionality) no longer produces. I have already bought new paint but but I need to see if we can get the part before we invest time and energy in fixing up a bike that I won’t be able to ride! On the plus side, I have been in touch with several bike shops and my fingers are crossed!

Play the ukulele for 15 minutes a day – maybe longer!
I didn’t get to this – need to plan it better. Perhaps a time? 10am to 10:15am?

Play the guitar for 15 minutes a day – maybe longer!
I didn’t get to this – need to plan it better. Perhaps a time? 2pm to 2:15pm?

Write daily – the aim being to complete, finally, the first draft of one of my ideas for a children’s book
Yes – this blog post!

Publish 2 or more podcasts a week (story podcasts)
Partly – I’ve started thinking about which stories I might tell. I have two podcasts – 2-minute wisdom tales and longer stories – and want to find tales that fit into both.

Get my storytelling business into the press and drum up more business
Yes! Well – not necessarily new business (although I did have my first enquiry about telling at a birthday party yesterday!), but I did get a press article translated and sent off a press article to a friend who works at the local paper, and I ordered my first set of brochures for schools and I have my intro letter in translation. Oh, and I cherry-picked 120-odd schools in Innsbruck and Innsbruck land as a starting point, and have an address list. So yes, I think I made a good start here.

Publicise my communication skills business and drum up some interest
No, I ran of out time on this one.

Spend time every day building my knowledge of both business storytelling and performance storytelling by immersing myself in the resources available to me – books, videos, audio and so on
Yes, primarily the performance storytelling side of things as I have a podcast to publish, as well as two programmes over the next two weeks.

Do Pilates daily
Hah! I stretched a few times but this needs work.

Improve my German
Well… I spoke German several times on the phone, wrote a letter to a newspaper in German and had a slightly defensive discussion with a woman at an event about the role of white rule in many of Africa’s problems…  Does that count? No. No, I didn’t think so.

Improve my limited Italian
Need to work on this.

Embrace body lotion
No! How terrible is this? Such an easy thing. I am off to apply it right now!

Create the perfect perfume for m!
No. Although in fairness, this is not a 15-minute job.

Practice the 5 precepts daily – not to take life, not to take what is not given, not to speak unskillfully, not to consume intoxicants, not to engage in sexual misconduct (see Rev Kusala for a breakdown of these)
I need to clarify here that my two areas of improvement here are not to speak unskillfully (most of the time, I am so busy taking my foot out of my mouth that I can’t speak skillfully at the best of times) and to reduce or do away with my beloved Austrian white wines. The former I probably failed at: I wasn’t particularly careful with my conversation about Africa and white colonialism, if I am honest. Wine – one glass as an event. Not too bad 🙂

Practice gratitude daily
On the way home last night, drivers must have been affected by the soon-to-be full moon. One chap zoomed through a red robot without so much as a by-your-leave, and the other came down a very steep hill and sort of lost control as he (she? they?) reached the bottom, and would certainly have hit us if we had been travelling a little faster. So yes, there was definitely a “thank you” at the time and before heading off to sleep!

Sing more!
No… But perhaps I can roll this into my uke and guitar playing?

Thought for the day

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

—Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Onwards!

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