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A few years ago, I gave up on new year’s resolutions in their traditional form. I would make them and break them and then beat myself up about it for the remaining months of the year. Last year I decided that 2019 was going to be the year of doing, rather than talking and I accomplished so much. I started my own business, I became a co-host of an awesome podcast, I travelled the world extensively, and I was happier than I had been for a long while.

So, with the arrival of 2020 came the arrival of great promise of another successful year – but how could I improve upon the last? I decided that 2020 would be the year of fitness and strength, those were my priorities – no pressure to change overnight, as soon as the clock struck twelve, just a conscious effort to increase my fitness and strength over the coming year. We are now approaching the end of January and tentatively, so far so good. I’ve signed up for a virtual run challenge that will see me through the whole year, I have some weights to use at home and I have taken up running again – all positive steps in the right direction. I feel motivated, which is half the battle.

On top of this though, I wanted this year to be a year of change. A new decade, a new chance to make a difference and have a positive impact on the world around me, so I have decided that every month of 2020 I will try a new challenge. Some will be much easier than others, but all are things that I believe are important for the world and for myself – a theme that will be around a lot this year on SWBC. I’ve outlined my challenges below, so if you fancy joining in with any of them, or all of them, then you can too!

If you are challenging along with me then make sure that you let me know on social media! I’d love to hear your life hacks and how you are getting on!

January – Veganuary

If you don’t know what Veganuary is yet, where have you been!? You’ve been missing out! Me and my #WonderfulSupportiveBoyfriend take part every year. It’s when you commit to going vegan for the month of January.

It’s a great detox after the indulgences of the festive period and you also get to try out new recipes! We always eat very well throughout January. Being vegan means that you have to think harder about flavour, and this makes for some pretty delicious eating in our home.

If you haven’t tried it before, or don’t know where to start then head over to the Veganuary website, they have loads of information, recipes and motivation to help you give it a go. It’s only a month, but I would seriously recommend everyone try it at least once.

February – Fast Fashion Feb

Fast Fashion is a growing issue. We want cheap, on-trend clothes and that leads to a lot of waste and a lot of production, which adds to our carbon footprints. It’s much better to buy better quality, multi-purpose items to fill your wardrobe – we all know this, and we are all guilty of consuming fast fashion.

I for one, have waaaaaaay too many clothes. Having spent over 3 months travelling last year and living out of a backpack, I have newfound perspective of how much of the stuff that we own we don’t need.

This cull of unnecessary material items is starting with the mountain of clothes that are at both my flat and my parents’ house. The unwanted goods will be going to charity shops, eBay, and upcycled depending on the quality and condition of each item. This is a mammoth task (and very overdue!), so check back in with me to see how this has gone!

March – Testing out a new, exciting challenge for SWBC followers!

I am currently prepping a new yearly challenge for us all to get involved with, it’s aim is to help both the planet and us to evolve and thrive. It’s all about taking control on things within our reach and using this to do our bit. So, watch this space and make sure that you sign up to the challenge when it goes live!

April – Tackling Zero-Waste

This is something that I have been wanting to do for a while. I think that me and my #WonderfulSupportiveBoyfriend are quite good at living waste-free, but I am sure if I take the time to document our waste and see areas for improvement, that we can do even better.

I am hoping that during this month, that we will be able to locate areas of our lives that could be improved and to find new, exciting ways to reduce our waste or use the waste we create in some way.

I always find that it is tasks like this that I mean to get around to, but never quite do, so I am hoping that by dedicating a month to this one topic that I will allow myself the time and the space to get a grasp on our household waste and reduce it down. Any tips and tricks welcomed!!!

May – Watch this space… SWBC 2020 Challenge to be announced!

Put a note in your diary that May will be a challenge month to all who want to sign up. All I can say for now is that it will be a month-long challenge and there will be some helpful downloads to help you prep for it.

It’s all about loving the planet and yourself, with the aim that by the end of the month that you will have picked up some good habits, some new knowledge and will feel transformed and motivated to face the rest of 2020!

June – Plastic Free Living

This month’s challenge leads on from my zero-waste challenge. Living plastic free is so difficult, it seems to be everywhere.

I try to reduce the amount of plastic that I buy in the weekly shop and day-to-day, I have reusables and I try my best but the amount of plastic recycling we put out each week is still more than I’d like. This month, I am going to try and find alternatives for the stubborn plastics that still end up in my shopping trolley.

I will identify any repeat offenders in my household and try and find alternatives that reduce my plastic, without breaking the bank.

July – Wild July

Some of you may have taken part in The Wildlife Trusts ’30 Days Of Wild’ initiative last year– the aim is to get out into nature and do something ‘wild’ every day. Sounds ace!

I didn’t manage to get my act together to do it, so I am making a pledge that 2020 is the year to go wild! I have recently moved to the seaside, so there is no excuse not to get out and enjoy the sea air and hopefully learn a bit about the local area at the same time.

They have loads of helpful bits and bobs on the website – plus there is an app, so check it out and join in the fun!

August – Deep Clean August

Rewinding to my comment about having way too much stuff. August is the time for sorting that sh*t out. Again, I will be unloading my unwanted items to eBay, charity shops and upcycling where possible to reduce my clutter and live a more streamlined life. My #WonderfulSupportiveBoyfriend is the definition of minimalistic living, and through living and travelling with him, I have come to understand that we don’t need very much to be happy.

Plus, a cluttered home is a cluttered mind and so I am hoping that by making our home a relaxing, tidy place to be, we will both feel better for it. I know that for me, the areas I need to focus on are: a second cull of clothes, sorting books, digitizing CDs, sorting DVDs, organising kitchen cupboards and sorting out my home office.

It is going to take a while to sort through it but I believe that it will be cathartic and worthwhile to help propel and motivate me into the final quarter of 2020.

September – Self-Love September

I love to be busy; I am always spinning a lot of different plates. Which is fine most of the time, but I am aware that I have difficulty shutting off and relaxing. September is going to be all about looking after myself.

Eating well, meditation, exercise, pamper sessions, reading for pleasure… maybe a holiday!? There are so many ways to take a break and check back in with what you are feeling and in September I am going to try any and all of them that take my fancy.

As always, I am happy to take on any recommendations that you have! If you have a way you like to unwind that you want to share, then get in touch!

October – SWBC 2020 Challenge round 2 – to be announced!

October will be your second chance to get involved with the 2020 challenge, or to try it a second time if you loved it in May!

November – Writing Month

I love writing and I am making a conscious effort this year to do more of it when I can. I have set aside November as a writing month, as this is a hobby that I enjoy but often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list and life gets in the way.

Lots of my family members are avid writers and their skill and success is spurring me on to give it my all! The aim for November is to simply write something every day.

It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare but by writing often, hopefully I will increase my ability and, you never know, it might even spark some new ideas for projects for 2021 and beyond!

December – DIY December

I love a craft, don’t you? I never have time to be creative. Adult life seems to get in the way, but when I was a kid, my mum used to do crafts with us all the time.

I am going to use December to do some crafting, maybe even make some Christmas presents, and find ways to upcycle bits and bobs around the house. There is could be glue, glitter (biodegradable, of course!) and a healthy dose of origami – the world is my crafty oyster, why don’t you join me and indulge in a little festive nostalgia?!

Woah. It’s going to be one hell of a year! I believe life is about growth and opportunity to push yourself, so that is plan for this year and beyond. Feel free to give it a go with me, or to amend it to suit your needs and interests. Whatever you do, don’t let 2020 pass you by! There is something in the air and this really could be the year that everything changes. 

Written by Rebecca Hansell for Small World, Big Cause.

23rd January 2020. 

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