Now that we’ve officially crossed the half-way mark of January, I thought it was only fitting to take a second and check in on each other. How are you doing? How is the new year going so far? I finally took the plunge and tossed out our Christmas tree last weekend. Even though it sure was hard to say goodbye to that bone-dry mini fir, I convinced my husband to leave up a few strands of lights around our apartment. That way, we can enjoy the spirit of the holidays for just a tad-bit longer. Plus, those warm white bulbs always illuminate such a cozy vibe, don’t you think?
Anyway, enough of my off-tangent rant. Time to get back on track.
How are your new year’s resolutions coming? I know I mentioned some simple resolutions to revitalize your body, mind and soul here that are totally doable any time of the year, but then I got to thinking: What about the people that are looking to grow and evolve but aren’t really keen on resolutions in the first place? And that’s why I’m here today.
Instead of creating one, two, three (four, five, six) giant self-care goals to achieve throughout the next 365 days, why not take the year one month at a time? That way, you can tackle smaller challenges with each 30/31 days that pass and revel in just as much (if not more!) self-improvement success by the time December rolls around. Enticing, right?
Now of course, everyone is unique so your idea of self-care might differ with what I’ve listed below, but I’m hoping it will at least help you get started on your journey!
January: Infuse your mind with inspiration.
With the cheerful holiday decor all packed up and the outdoor temperatures consistently dropping, it doesn’t take much for January to seem a bit dreary. But don’t let the cold frigid weather get you down. Instead, take time to infuse your mind with inspiration. Plan a trip. Add adventures to your bucket list. And if you don’t have a bucket list, create one. The excitement of having something to look forward to will be the heat needed on even the coldest of days.
February: Fuel your body with good, clean food.
Feed your soul by fueling your body with good, clean food. Make February the month you step back and really take a hard look at your everyday eating habits. Get into meal-planning. (Trust me: this concept really does save so much time and money.) Dabble in new cuisines and cook yourself nourishing meals. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel overall!
March: Ignite your inner bliss through mindfulness.
March toward mindfulness by uncovering new ways to ignite your inner bliss. Whether that be through meditation, yoga, coloring, or simply jotting down your thoughts, taking the time to focus on your breath and become more mindful with work wonders for your mental health. Plus, you’ll start to discover even the smallest of beauties scattered throughout the everyday. (If you’re new to meditation and want guidance, I highly recommend the Headspace app!)
April: Spark up your senses with aromatherapy.
Have a headache? Can’t sleep? Simply need some stress relief? If you’ve never tried aromatherapy, you are missing out, my friend, as essential oils are nature’s magic. So grab yourself a diffuser and get to infusing. Take time to find which oils work best for you and then create your own aromatherapy routine. Your senses will thank you.
May: Move your body and make your way outside.
By the time May comes about, chances are you might find yourself in a gym rut. (I know I do around this time of year.) But hopefully the sun will start making temperatures rise and you can transition your workouts outside. Run, hike, bike, you name it — any form of exercise will be more enjoyable with some Vitamin D.
June: Take time to talk it out.
Ever heard of the old saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved?” Don’t run yourself into the ground by bottling up stress, tension, or any other worries you might be facing. In fact, talking through issues or concerns with a therapist, counselor, or a trusted loved one is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
July: Compliment yourself (and others!) more.
No matter the day, even the quickest of compliments can go a long way. That said, make it a goal to compliment yourself at least ___ times daily. You’ll not only instill more confidence and self-love in yourself, but you will also grow your inner strength. And as always, don’t forget to spread the kindness to others.
August: Create new positive affirmations.
To build upon July’s challenge, create personal affirmations for yourself. For instance, I find more positivity in the everyday when I constantly remind myself to “be the change I want to see.” Repeating these types of mantras daily, weekly, or even monthly will assist in clearing your mind and building more mental strength.
September: Set “bedtime” boundaries.
Make September the time you prioritize sleep and get those eight full hours of zzz’s. And if that means you need to set “bedtime” boundaries and make your bedroom a no-phone zone, then so be it! Having this time to peacefully unwind will be worth it; I promise.
October: Learn something new.
Ignite your curiosities by challenging yourself to learn a new skill. However much you wish to push your limits, there’s no doubt you’ll instantly feel empowered. And who knows, you might even uncover a new passion! Don’t worry if you’re not really sure where to start; Becky listed several fun ways to learn new skill-sets here. The best part? Many of these outlets are FREE.
November: Give way for more gratitude.
Instead of waiting until Thanksgiving to express appreciation, use the entire month of November to give thanks. Jot down the people, places, and things that bring you joy in a gratitude journal. Shower family and friends with love by implementing a few of these budget-friendly tips. Not only will this make you much happier as an individual, but you’ll become amazed by the powerful positive effect gratitude has on others.
December: Lend a helping hand.
With December being the month of gift-giving, opt to give something you can’t stick under the tree: your time. Seek out local volunteer opportunities, or choose a cause you’d like to be a part of and lend a helping hand. Even random acts of kindness can make a difference and will certainly make the world (and holiday season) a whole lot brighter!
And there you have it: The Ultimate “Self-Care” Challenge. Feel free to switch it up however you wish and cheers to welcoming more “me-time” in 2018 and not feeling guilty about it!
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BY Kathryn - January 14, 2018
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
I love that you separate these goals into different months so it’s easier to try them all out! Thank you! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Isn’t it so much easier!? I, too, like this approach, as it’s not so overwhelming from the start but more so of taking the year as it comes! As always, thank you for your sweet words, Charmaine!
Love this! I usually make New Years Resolutions, but this year I didn’t. I like the idea of taking things month by month! Self-care is so important and all of these would make such a positive impact on myself (and some on others)!
Mia | https://www.verymuchmia.com/
I couldn’t agree with you more, Mia. As much as I try and prioritize self-care, it’s so easy for that time to get pushed to the side if I’m not careful!
Thank you so much for this article. I can’t wait to try some of these, especially aromatherapy
Yeah, so happy to hear that, Anita! I especially love the lavender oils for relaxing (I like to spray it on my pillow before sleeping!), as well as peppermint. If you dab a drop of peppermint on the tip of your nose, it will instantly open up your senses!!
[…] 12-month self-care challenge for […]
I love this idea. Thank you for sharing. Will yo be doing a post on each monthly theme at the appropriate month? x
Thank you for the kind words, Kay. Wishing you a very special 2018!
I love the way these goals are presented and spread out! It makes it seem natural and not overwhelming! THank you!
My thoughts exactly, Kaitlen! As much as I love resolutions, my mind easily gets overwhelmed, which is why I love breaking the months up. And this way, you don’t have the 365-day pressure of one goal!
Just bookmarked this. I keep telling people that it pays to take care of yourself. My goal this year is to make myself (and my wellness) top priority.
Yeah!! So happy to hear you found this article helpful. Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 🙂 Cheers to more self-care!!
I love resolutions/goals based on months! I do a monthly ‘what if’ goal, where I try something new (like meditation, dry brushing, pushups), and I see what happens. Is it worth it? Was it a bust? It’s amazing how sometimes the tiniest habit changes are real paradigm shifts. Also, July: compliments. I love this. I lived in DC for a while, and a homeless man there made his living giving people compliments. I don’t know how he did it, but he had a knack for complimenting just the right thing so that it felt so real and genuine. I always… Read more »
Ah, I LOVE your “what if” monthly goal idea! It never ceases to amaze me how different I can feel (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) each month so taking the time to reflect is always worth it. And your story about the homeless man in DC who made a living giving people compliments just made my day. What a lovely reminder of all the kindness there still is in this world we share!
I gave up resolutions years ago and instead choose a word for the year. . love this new challenge . . beginning it today!! 🌹
Love the idea for choosing a word each year! I hope you enjoy this challenge, too 🙂 Cheers to an amazing 2018!
I love the ideas. My biggest challenge is to set up the bedtime routine. It’s always been hard since I’m working from team all over the world, which make most of conversation happens in the oddest time. But I keep trying to put back my routine to normal.
Ah, that does sound like a challenging schedule!! I wish you the best of luck though. Even if you just begin with coming up with some sort of weekend bedtime routine, that might be prove to be a great start!? Let us know how the challenge goes for you 🙂
[…] great resource for finding fun blogs), an amzing new-to-me blog ‘Ultimate 12 Month “Self Care” Challenge’ by Kathryn McLamb. Kathryn has pulled together a fun challenge for 2018 and I’m jumping on […]
great list! a lot of these are things i want to focus on this year, and i love the approach of breaking it down one month at a time.
I was searching for some 30 day challenges for my group. I believe I am in the right place. I hope that its ok to utilize such information ( I will make sure full credit is cited).
Great information! Thanks!