January Challenge Recap

God was this month’s challenge invigorating. I have had a lot going on in my life recently and most of it came to a head during the past few weeks, but I was able to counter that by getting rid of so much stuff. My original idea was to go through one type of item each day, but once I got into the first few boxes that plan was out the window. I found it best to just pick one area to work on or project to tackle each day. I had also planned to take pictures of everything that I got rid of to provide a visual record, but I found that to be an extra step between deciding I wanted to get rid of something and actually getting rid of something, which could derail the entire process.

I found that beyond the whole getting rid of stuff I don’t use thing I was able to focus on a the way I purchased or used things. I started going through my cabinets and cooking meals that paired with the freezer furniture stuff that I am always stocked with. My kitchen is my favorite place in my house but it becomes clogged with special equipment and mono use tools. Simply decreasing clutter and making it easier to move around and prepare things is a huge relief. The best part of this process is that it is just getting started. The skills I learned over the month will help me moving forward and allow me to keep paring down the things that I don’t need (knife pun)

I also started to reevaluate how I buy things. Whenever I was in a store it was easy for me to look at something and think “boy that would be very helpful” but once I took a moment to think about how often I would use it and if I really needed the product it became very easy to talk myself out of it. I found that if I spend a few seconds looking at it before I picked it up and put it in my shopping basket it was much easier for me to move on without it. Once I put a product in my shopping basket I feel an ownership of it that makes it harder to put back. While I am not a master of marketing or psychology, I was able to see my own process and create a pathway that made my decision process easier.

In the end I sent 3 carloads of stuff to goodwill, gave away some items, cleared out my cabinets and freezer, returned a bunch of growlers and glassware that I don’t use, and learned a bit about my purchasing process. It was extremely liberating to get rid of a bunch of things that I don’t use, and to question myself as to why I ever felt the need to keep these things. I am in no way making the move to minimalism (I kept my backup beard trimmer) but I was able to minimize the amount of stuff that I don’t use often (I got rid of my backup backup beard trimmer). It was a very cathartic way to start the year and I look forward to keeping the momentum going all year.

On to February’s Challenge

Last February I decided to try something new, sobriety. I wrote both prospective and retrospective reviews that help to shape this year’s adventure. Last year I was recovering from some personal tragedies and had fallen head over heals into the craft beer scene so I felt that

Sobruary was a good option. This year I am in a much better place and hope that taking a short break from drinking will help push me forward and allow me to get to the next level.

Why: Why not? It is always important to push yourself to experiment with tweaks that will allow you to get better. I am not as heavy of a drinking as I was in the past but I am still looking to improve. I feel that taking some time off will allow me to recharge my batteries, save some money, and jumpstart some of my fitness goals for the year.

How: This one is pretty simple, just stop. While I still enjoy visiting breweries and cracking some beers with my friends I am no longer in the mode where I want to drink all night in my living room. I will sometimes have a beer or two with dinner or while watching Netflix, but it isn’t a prime priority. The hardest part will probably be spending so much time in bars doing open mics and shows, since having a few beers tends to pass the time and get me into the mood to do comedy.

The System:

Drink lots of water: This is key, it keeps me hydrated and works as a beer substitute. It is easy to fall into drinking a lot of soda or juice, but why drink the calories. I mostly only drink beer, water, and coffee so it should be no big deal.

Steer clear of triggers: I love buying beer, almost as much as I enjoy drinking it. The idea of walking into a store and finding a hidden gem or something new is a great allure. I also love going to breweries and hanging out. By becoming part of the scene I can meet new people and learn new things, but putting it on hold for 28 days shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Don’t give in to peer pressure: I have friends visiting and some of them don’t understand why I won’t partake. Most people get what I am trying to do, but some people will never get it, and that is OK. By having a clear cut goal and making a commitment, plus stating it in writing, I am committed to seeing this through. Peer pressure rarely works on me, especially while sober so it should be relatively easy to deal with.

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