Challenging changes

It’s been a good year – filled with challenges and changes (blogged and otherwise).

Was it worth doing a year of Change Challenges? Yes!

Here’s why:

* I enjoyed dreaming up and tackling 52 changes. Some were fun, some were difficult but all were worth doing.  It got me into a change mindset and it became easier as the weeks went by. I’ve learnt that change can become a way of life (and a good one too). Of the 52 changes (see the full list below), a whopping 41 have stuck.

* Learning to blog was a challenge in itself and, in all modesty, I think my technical blogging skills improved greatly over the year. As with any new skill, it took time (about 3 hours a week to write, polish and post), practise and experimentation.

* As a private person it was, at first, confronting for me to be so visible. It felt like having my diary made public. I got used to this change and  I thought of it as writing for friends rather than anyone out there who happened to Google one of my topics and land on my blog.

* It’s been heartening beyond words to connect with so many people and to get their support and feedback. My Change Challenges have led to all sorts of interesting real world conversations and I’ve loved hearing that it inspired people to do their own change challenges.

What’s next? Lots more changes and maybe another blog………

Thank you for your support!

For  sceptics and list-lovers, here the complete list (with links – and in bold for those that have stuck) of all my 52 Change Challenges and an update for each:

Week 1 Giving up coffee  – I have a cup of coffee a day thanks to Gwen who sent me Scandanavian research showing the benefit to women of a cup a day for stroke prevention – still also drinking decaf and herbal tea

Week 2 Donating platelets – sadly, I can’t donate blood anymore because it’s considered too risky as I fainted a few hours after a donation

Week 3 Changing my neutral expression – still not a habit but working on it

Week 4 Commuting by bike – I love my bike and commute whenever I can

Week 5 Reading a best seller – I finished the trilogy, saw the movies and need another bestseller recommendation please

Week 6 Growing lettuce – I now now have a flourishing herb garden

Week 7 Becoming an Apple addict – I’m a stronger fan than ever. Go Apple!

Week 8 Holidaying somewhere new – combining the old and new travel locations will be my ongoing travel philosophy

Week 9 Doing crossword puzzles – I haven’t done one in months

Week 10 Grooming my eyebrows – the mirror reminds me to keep doing this

Week 11 Housesitting – I haven’t done this again but still like the idea

Week 12 Beating the souffle barrier – I no longer fear making souffles and am also no longer in awe of them on restaurants menus

Week 13 Trapeze – getting into the swing – probably my toughest physical challenge and not likely to do this again- but have recommended it to others for nerve wracking fun

Week 14  Relishing opera (thanks to Teddy) – haven’t been again but would (especially if Teddy was there too)

Week 15 Dragon boat paddling – for a cause – my most read blog and even though I’ve not done it again I’m hugely supportive

Week 16 Minding my language – when ‘no’ means nothing – requires ongoing vigilance

Week 17 Splurging on eBay clothes – I haven’t bought more clothes on eBay but have sold things and love it that my daughter bought an iphone and car on eBay

Week 18 Getting physical at the gym – yes, a definite in hotels when traveling

Week 19 Changing within change – a big learning is that it’s much easier to change if one’s used to change

Week 20 Adjusting my posture – another one that requires ongoing vigilance

Week 21 Baking bread (if at first you don’t succeed…..) – I make bread regularly

Week 22 Volunteering at St Vincent’s – amidst continuous change – I’ve changed to another volunteer project at St Vincent’s (writing biographies for palliative care patients)

Week 23 Braving the elements – Stanwell Park Ocean Swim Challenge  – I’m doing another ocean swim this weekend

Week 24 Going solo – due to other changes, haven’t done this again – but would be comfortable to do

Week 25 Being girly – yet not quite nailing it – my toenails remain bright and I’m about to try shellac polish for the fingernails (thanks, Lucy)

Week 26 Attending the Royal Easter Show – first time ever – and maybe the last!

Week 27 Power brushing – I love my electric toothbrush and Big Hair brush (though big hair eludes me)

Week 28 Water skiing – not drowning, waving – may be brave enough to give this another go

Week 29 Managing volunteers – practicing what I preach – I’ll be back for another stint a the Sydney Writer’s Festival in 2012

Week 30 Creating creme brulees – with a blow torch – I’ve become a dab hand with the blow torch

Week 31 Wearing fur (is vintage ok?) – I’m more comfortable wearing it encouraged by the warmth

Week 32  Learning to play bridge – on hold (after failing to progress)

Week 33 Watching thugs at play (aka State of Origin) – likely a one-off experience

Week 34 Living car-less – easy one to do again if needed and maybe permanently one day

Week 35 Lighting fires – I became better at this with practice and I’m all set for next winter

Week 36 Cooking online…..(are cookbooks obsolete?) – a new habit with only a couple of lapses with tearing out irresistible recipes

Week 37 Saying thank you – via snail mail – done regularly onw

Week 38 Breaking my broadsheet habit – I’ve almost totally broken this habit apart from the weekend papers which now feel quite cumbersome to read

Week 39 Perfecting poached eggs (naked-style) – thanks to lots of practice, I can now produce poached eggs in a flash

Week 40 Overcoming a mental block – without pressure – not that I check the tyres that often, at least I can

Week 41 Saving while spending – forget it…..coupons (apart from my beloved Entertainment book) are not worth the time and money

Week 42 Channeling Cadel – fit or not? – knowing I’m fit is good but I haven’t kept up my training program because (here’s my excuse) I prefer walking, swimming and cycling outdoors

Week 43 Shedding skin – exfoliation frenzy – definitely a regular habit now

Week 44 Kicking my breakfast habit – I’m continuing to eat variable breakfasts

Week 45 Conquering the mountain on skis (almost) – I’ll try this one more time before giving up

Week 46 Making yogurt the easy way – I make it at least weekly

Week 47 Wearing a ponytail – I’m striving for more length and looking forward to the ponytail travel challenge

Week 48 Enjoying the moment – practising mindfulness – an ongoing challenge

Week 49 Walking with poles (instead of pole dancing)  – I wouldn’t do a big walk without them

Week 50 Finding a bed in a booked out city – a good experience which I’ll repeat

Week 51 Having a regular dose of bliss – an easy new habit

Week 52 Tackling a challenging chore – worth the hassle and will do again

Change always comes bearing gifts.  ~Price Pritchett

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