A New Series: Challenge of the Week

If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram over the past few weeks, you’ve likely seen me talk about a new series I started called the “Challenge of the Week.” This is the story of why I decided to do it, what it is, and where it’s going. Make sure you read to the end because I need your input on a question I’m asking about my next step for this series!

So, I’ve always loved New Year’s. I don’t necessarily mean New Year’s Eve, though I like a good party just as much as the next girl. What I really love about New Year’s, though, is that it’s a time of new beginning. It’s a time to pause and reflect on the year that has passed -- everything you accomplished, big events you experienced, great memories you made. It’s also a time to look forward to the year that is to come -- a time to hope, to dream big, and to challenge yourself to aim higher than ever before.

Each year I have a ritual of setting aside time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year.

Each year I have a ritual of setting aside time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. I take this time really seriously, and I never skip it. A few years ago, I even went on a solo camping trip over New Year’s to really give myself the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. I hiked, journaled, and did lots of thinking. I came back having learned a lot about myself, and with a renewed purpose for the new year.

This year, I took a different approach. I gave myself a bigger chunk of time - the first few weeks of January - to think about my intentions for 2019. Over the course of two weeks or so, I grabbed an hour here and there to write down my hopes, dreams, plans, goals, etc. This way of doings things felt less time-constrained and forced than in the past. I let myself take my time with it, which meant that my goals began to feel more authentic and true.

Create structure. Prioritize mental health. Take action.

After doing a bit of this soul searching, I realized that I really only had three big resolutions for the year. The first was to create more structure in my life, both at work and in my personal life. The second was to prioritize my mental health. And the third resolution was to take deliberate action on a few business goals I had. Create structure. Prioritize mental health. Take action. That’s where I would focus my energy this year.

But how would I make these things happen? While I am notoriously great at coming up with new ideas, I am also notoriously not-so-good at following through on these ideas. Knowing this about myself, I decided I needed accountability. I needed an audience keeping me on my toes. I needed… Instagram? I came up with this idea: I would publicly walk through my goals on social media. Every week, I would do a new “Challenge of the Week” that was related to one of my three resolutions: Create structure, Prioritize my mental health, or Take action on specific goals.

So here we are. It’s three weeks in, and I gotta say… it’s working. So far I have done 3 challenges:

Week 1: Plan my day the night before.
Week 2: Establish a bedtime ritual.
Week 3: Create a morning routine.

I’m still working through week 3, and it’s been the hardest challenge thus far because I am SO not a morning person. Without the accountability of an audience waiting for my update at the end of the week, I likely would have given up on the challenge after a few days of struggling through it. Now, I’m probably flattering myself here. I’m not sure anyone is really that invested. Regardless, the idea that people might notice if I didn’t follow through is a strong motivator for me to complete the challenge.

Without the accountability of an audience waiting for my update… I likely would have given up

What’s even more exciting and helpful is that by making my weekly challenges public, I’ve been able to get advice and encouragement from people I never would have asked to keep me accountable outside of social media. They’ve given me suggestions for my evening ritual, ideas for a morning routine, and shared all kinds of things that have or haven’t worked for them. Some people have expressed excitement about seeing my results at the end of the week, and this gets me excited about having something helpful to share with people. It’s so great to get to work on my goals and help others at the same time.

My next step is to bring the Challenge of the Week to Facebook. Right now, I’ve been doing my weekly challenges on Instagram, but I want to expand to include more people in this journey. I need a little input though -- I can’t decide if I should share it on my personal account or on my art page (facebook.com/briemilam). My page potentially has a bigger reach to include more people, but I think my personal account gets more engagement.

Let me know what you think I should do in the comments!