So instead of my New Year's Resolutions, I'm going to give you some of my January Challenges and Personal Goals for the coming year!
I have two new challenges for January: (Well, one is technically for January and February, but close enough, right?)
1) No- Spend January!
The rules: No spending on non-essential things such as: going out to eat, new clothes, movies, etc. Only $1/day to spend on groceries as needed. The only spending this month will be on bills and necessary expenses.
My husband is totally on board, and I stocked up groceries this past Sunday. The only potential problem I see at this point is running out of fresh fruits and veggies. I have some frozen and canned ones to hopefully tide me over for the month, but as a vegan, I go through a lot of fruits and vegetables in an average week.
The point of this challenge is (selfishly) to save money, but also to limit needless spending and consumerism. Sometimes I find myself buying lots of things I don't even need. I've been making an effort this last year to become more minimalist, but hopefully this challenge will help highlight how to save money and be more conscious of spending. Also, my husband and I love to go out to eat, which is probably another large source of spending. So hopefully I'll be challenged to be more creative in my cooking and eat through some of the various grains and canned goods that I have stockpiled in my kitchen.
Wish me luck! So far I have managed to spend $0, so I still have $31 left to spend for the month.
To see my inspiration for this challenge, check out these links below to some blogs of other families who've successfully completed this challenge:
30 Days of Nothing from Living the Frugal Life
Thinking About Nothing from Bushel and a Peck
Yes, entire families! We're only two people, and I think it's going to be a little difficult. But if they can do it, so can we!
2) Jillian Michaels Six Week Six-PackI know, an exercise resolution! But this one actually seems pretty damn awesome! I'm planning on completing six weeks of following the Jillian Michaels exercise routine. According to Jillian, you should do the 30-minute routine 5 times/week for 6 weeks. There are two different levels, and you're supposed to do Level One for the first 3 weeks and Level Two for the second 3 weeks.
I've only been doing this routine for less than a week, but I feel a difference already! My stomach looks and feels tighter. (I should note that I've also been exercising, running, and eating healthy on the side.) Now, I don't expect to have a six-pack at the end of the 6 weeks, but I believe that I'll be more toned and lose some fat. I've taken a before picture, and I plan to take an after picture to show you my results of this challenge at the end of the six weeks. So stay tuned!
Goals for 2014:
1) Complete a mini-marathon (or two)!
I'm already signed up for the DC Rock n' Roll Half Marathon on March 15th, and I've made myself a training plan for how to reach this goal. My plan is to run at least 3-4 days/week with a long training run on Saturdays or Sundays. The plan is kind of flexible, but I have my first longer training run this weekend (5-6 miles, depending on if I feel strong enough to go for 6 this week). I hope the weather gets better! We just got about 3 inches of snow, and I had to do 4 miles indoors last night. I hate treadmills, so I only did one mile on the treadmill and 3 miles on the elliptical. The elliptical isn't really comparable to running outside, but it's better than nothing!
2) Pay down some serious student loan debt!
My 30 Days of Nothing/ No-Spend January challenge should help with this goal, but I want to make more of an effort to spend less on entertainment and fancy food and to have significantly less debt. We recently paid off one of my Sallie Mae student loans with the highest interest rate (10.75%! Yikes!), and it felt so good! I want to keep this up because one day, we'd like to be able to buy a house. If we pay off large amounts of our debt, we'll have more money to put in our savings each month for that goal.
Between myself and my husband, we have about a dozen student loans and one car loan for my car that we just got last year. We pay more in loans each month than we do in rent, and adding it all together it just becomes a staggering amount! I've read a lot online about other people tackling their debt, and I've become inspired to be more frugal and work on this for myself.
Other News:I've done some thinking about the purpose of this blog. I initially started it to keep track of my 90 -day Vegan Challenge, but it's become more than just a challenge and turned into an entire way of life! I've decided that I'd like to expand my blog to include all of my interests. There are lots of other things than being vegan that I'm passionate about: running, exercise, music, nutrition, and more. I'm planning on writing more about these topics in the coming year. I'm currently thinking up a new title to my blog and expect to see some design and layout changes this month. I hope you enjoy it, and I appreciate your feedback!
What are your goals/resolutions for 2014? Do you have any short-term goals for the month of January?