30 Days of Meditation & February Goals

It blows my mind that it’s already February, it totally snuck up on me. I get the feeling that the next couple months are going to fly by!

Remember back at the beginning of January where instead of setting resolutions I was 100% sure I would end up breaking, I decided to set goals for each month?

January I focused on meditation.

Well I haven’t talked much about it since then, but it actually went really well. I failed a little bit towards the end, I still meditated everyday, but sometimes that meditation was 10 slow breaths before going to bed. Life and school got a little crazy and it became a little bit of an after thought. While I do think that even a short meditation is incredibly beneficial, I wasn’t devoting the time I should have, especially considering my stress level at the time.

Meditation is something I’m definitely hoping to keep in my life as I move into the rest of the year. I learned a lot by taking devoting time everyday to focus on meditation and I took away a few really important things from my experience:

  • Meditation is one of the best ways I personally found to deal with stress – Isn’t it amazing how much calmer and less intimidating everything seems when you take a second to breathe? I was really surprised by how much calmer I felt after only a couple meditation, the difference is amazing.

  • Meditation is not just sitting in a cross-legged position while chanting “OM” – Well it can be if you want it to, but there are so many different ways to meditate that there really is something for everyone. I haven’t tried even a fraction of meditation methods, but some resonate with me much more than others. I was particularly like Chakra meditation.

  • You can meditate anywhere you want – I mean I wouldn’t recommend sitting down for a meditation session while you’re driving or operating heavy machinery, but I was surprised by the places I found myself meditating. I began the month by sitting on my bed every night before bed, but as the month went on I meditated while I was riding the bus, running, walking to class (while keeping enough awareness to not face plant it on the side walk, that would be no fun). I think my favorite place to meditate was on the bus.
    appalcart meme appalachian state university

    Too true (source)

    The bus is always PACKED in the morning and instead of being crammed in a claustrophobic bus like a can of sardines stress me out, I simply cleared my mind focused on my breath and it made the 20 minute trip much more bearable.

  • Meditation helped my sleep A LOT – I generally don’t have many sleep problems, but after a long day of class and homework it’s really hard for me to unwind and it was taking me a long time to fall asleep. A little meditation before bed helped clear my mind so I fell asleep faster and slept a lot deeper than I was before.
  • I does get easier – I promise. The first week of meditation was really tough for me, I couldn’t get my mind to shut up and I just got frustrated with it. The is to keep breathing, don’t let yourself get too frustrated and keep with it.

If you’re thinking about adding a little meditation to your daily routine I highly recommend it.

And that brings us to February!

This month I’m focusing on two small goals, one fitness-based and one creativity-based.

Goal #1A plank a day

planking on camels

But not that kind of planking (source)

Goal #2At least 5 minutes of sketching everyday

For goal #1 I’m starting off with one minute planks and ideally working my way up to longer planks every week. I feel like I have decent core strength but my planks are pretty weak so I want to work on doing them more consistently

Goal #2 is to help fuel my creativity. I get so many more design ideas when I take time to sketch up some ideas or just doodle for a few minutes everyday. Since graduation is right around the corner and I’m hoping to find a graphic design job, I want to keep those creative juices flowing.

I’m hoping I won’t overwhelm myself by having two goals this month, but I couldn’t pick between a life goal and a fitness goal so I picked both. They’re both pretty small to I think it’s definitely doable.

Is anyone interested in a blog post on how to meditate/different methods? I’ve played around with a few different methods and thought you guys might be interested in learning more about them.

Do you have any goals for this month/week/day/year? I’m usually not a big goal-setter, but small daily goals seems to work really well for me, so I’m sticking with it!

Goals, A Challenge & Thankful Thursday

hello

New Year’s Day I mentioned that instead of setting typical yearlong resolutions I wanted to set of series of monthly challenges kinda like a 30 Day Challenge sorta deal. Well, I finally decided what January’s challenge will be (this is a big deal because I’m super indecisive):

Meditation!

I want to work on meditating a little everyday. I started on Tuesday and I’ve been working my way up from 1 minute, I’m hoping to add on a minute everyday until I hit about 10-15 minutes everyday, depending on my day is going. I’m starting slowly because I know if I start with the full 10-15 minutes I would get completely anxious over it and not do it. Baby steps rock.

I wanted my first challenge to be a meditation challenge because I’ll be starting my last semester of college and it’s bound to be pretty stressful. Some people get ahead in their coursework and have a slack senior year, I take too long to decide what to do with my life and end up with a jam-packed senior year. And for some reason I thought to put off my most dreaded class, Public Speaking, until my last semester. Genius Lea, pure genius. Anyway, I’m hoping that starting a meditation habit will help calm me down and not freak out over things like Public Speaking speeches and the realization that in 6 months I have to start acting like a real adult. Gulp.

I haven’t decided what I want my other monthly goals to be, but I’m trying to leave myself some wiggle room because I want my goals to match where I am in life and that’s pretty hard to predict ahead of time. But I’m thinking February might be some sort of organizational challenge because I’m a pretty unorganized and scatter-brained person and it’s starting to get a little ridiculous. And be glad you didn’t see the state of my room before I left for break, too little time + exam stress + disorganized personality does not equal a clean room.

So speaking of challenges…

The people over at Tribesports informed me about this awesome challenge they have going on right now. It’s called the Run to the Moon Challenge.

RUN TO THE MOON

Following Neil Armstrong’s death in August a Tribesports member created this challenge in memory of him. The challenge is basically to get to the moon! Challenge participants log all their man-powered kilometers (running, walking, cycling, rowing, etc.) until we reach 384,400 km, so far participants have logged about 46,300 km (including 5 km I did today!). The goal is to reach the moon before Neil’s birthday on August 5th.

I love this idea, it’s pretty cool to say you helped reach the moon! And if you’re interested in participating you can check out the challenge here.

And this leads me to what I’m thankful for this Thursday.

thankful thursday

(Thanks Jessie for hosting!)

I’m thankful for challenges. That might sound a little weird but challenges, both good and bad push me to work hard and be a better person. I love participating in blogger challenges because they push me to do things and make positive changes to my life that I wouldn’t normally make.

Conversely, negative challenges push me too. Let’s be honest, the challenges in our life can really suck, but they make us stronger and they’re part of who we are.

This is a pretty meager example but, today I found out I didn’t get an internship I applied for (I need a final internship this summer to officially graduate and get my diploma), it’s really frustrating because I didn’t get the internship because I didn’t have the skills, it was because I didn’t qualify because I wouldn’t be continuing school in the Fall (it’s a state government sponsored internship program, hence the stipulations), which I apparently missed when reading through the huge program brochure. It sucks because it was an awesome (and paid!) internship and I put all the work into writing multiple cover letters and applications. But, instead of letting this get me down I’m going to use it as momentum to apply for more internships.

It sucks that I didn’t get the internship but in a way I’m a little thankful because it’s lighting a fire under my butt to get on top of applying for other internships.

And because that was a lot of words…

Here’s a picture of a cute puppy to make up for it. Because I’m thankful for adorable puppies too. Thanks Pinterest for fueling my obsession with adorable puppy photos.

Busy Bee {MIMM}

It’s one busy Monday today! Now that Thanksgiving is over it’s only a couple weeks until exams which means crunch time for me. Time to wrap up everything in my classes and finally start working on those big projects I was assigned at the beginning of the semester but haven’t gotten around to yet. Hey, it happens sometimes.

It’s going to be a long couple of weeks, but at least Christmas break is right around the corner!

Luckily I have a few things making this very busy Monday marvelous

(A big thanks to Katie for hosting every week)

  • A weekend at home, I love a good weekend back at home with my parents. It helps me relax, recharge and get ready for a busy week. Plus I got lots of kitty cuddling in which makes things a million times better

It’s probably a good thing my apartment complex doesn’t allow pets, I would never get anything done!

  • Going to a guest lecture tonight, maybe that sounds a little nerdy but Melanie Joy is coming to campus to give a presentation on her book “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows”. I haven’t read it but it sounds right up my animal-loving alley and should be an interesting presentation!
  • Chakra meditation, a grad student did a Chakra meditation activity with my Somatics class and it was really awesome. Chakra meditation is definitely something I would never try on my own (it involves chanting, not my cup of tea), but I felt so calm and relaxed and it was a fun new experience! If you interested, you can read more about chakra meditation here.
  • Elf For Health! I saw the Elf For Health Challenge on Lindsay‘s page, fell in love with the idea and literally signed up at the last second. I didn’t think I made it in time for the first round but I was still paired up with another Elf! If you haven’t heard about the challenge, basically there is a different challenge everyday for 6 weeks and you randomly paired with a partner and you e-mail each other positive encouragement/tips/ideas/struggles/etc. during the week as you work on the challenges. My partner and I just exchanged e-mails last night, but I can already tell she is going to be an awesome partner! She actually has a blog too if you want to check her out: Something Lemon. It’s only a day in but I’m loving the challenge and connecting with health-minded people from all over the world. Thanks Lindsay and Elle for putting together such an awesome challenge!

  • Today’s Elf For Health Challenge, which is Meatless Monday! Vegetarianism makes me a pro at this one (:

Today’s lunch, leftover chili + steamed spinach

 

What made your Monday Marvelous?

Are you participating in Elf for Health?

What’s you’re favorite meatless meal?