Thursday, December 31, 2009

Challenges to Start the New Year

I don't usually make new year's resolutions, but I have stumbled across a couple of cool challenges and have decided to take part in two of them to start 2010.

First is a one week challenge created by John Mayer, coined the "Digital Cleanse". As outlined on his blog:

I’ll be defragmenting my mental and psychological hard drive during the first seven days of the new year, and I invite you all to participate.

The cleanse will begin at 9am on January 1. This gives everyone a chance to text and tweet their new year’s well wishes, and theoretically begins upon waking up the morning of January 1. The cleanse will end at 9am on January 8.
  • Guidelines:

    *email only from laptop or desktop computers

    *cell phones can only be used to make calls, and no text messages or e-mails are allowed - if you receive a text, you must reply in voice over the phone. E-mails must be returned from a laptop or desktop computer.

    *no use of Twitter or any other social networking site - this includes reading as well as posting.

    *no visiting of any entertainment or gossip sites. (No need to detail which ones - you know what they are.)

I think I can do it. Actually, I know I can do it. Texting and social networking make it way too easy to avoid talking to others. It also isolates me from my husband. I know he gets annoyed when we are doing something together and I stop talking and get lost with whatever I am doing with my phone. As for phone calls, I normally avoid calling people like the plague, but it makes me antisocial and distant from my friends and I need to slowly bring it back into my everyday life. This will be good for me. Will you join in too?

The second challenge, Improve Yourself! 2010 was created by Dustin at Engaged Marriage.

As described on his blog:
  1. You will choose one area of your life to improve over the first 8 weeks of 2010 (January 3rd through February 27th). This is completely open based on your desires, but some suggestions would include the areas of fitness, personal finances, spirituality, communication with your spouse, parenting, career, education, romance, etc.
  2. You will set your own goals for what you intend to accomplish over the course of eight weeks. Goal-setting is incredibly important, so I will publish a post soon (now found here) to help you establish specific and effective goals.
  3. Each week, I will publish a post that focuses on self-improvement and motivation, and I’ll report on my own personal progress toward my goals. You must comment on each weekly post to report your progress and remain accountable.
  4. At the end of eights weeks, I will choose the top three finishers based on who I feel made the most meaningful progress in self-improvement. At this time, I will also “call out” all those who did NOT finish all eight weeks (to add a little more accountability)!
  5. The final three contestants will summarize their progress in a short write-up, and you (their fellow competitors) will vote to choose the best overall success story.
You can participate too by leaving a comment here by January 5th.

My goal is to save money for a down payment for our first home. We are planning to buy something in the summer of 2011, after AJ graduates from law school. I recently payed off my credit card debt and since I am sans student loans I figured it is the perfect time to start allocating money to something important rather than blowing all my disposable income on dinners and drinks out and shoes/clothes/bags I don't need. We opened an ING Direct Orange savings account specifically for our down payment and have already saved almost $2,000 in just one week! (BTW, if you want to open an account let me know and I can send you a referral. You'll get $25 from ING when you deposit $250 and I'll get a $10 referral bonus. Win-win!)

So those are my goals to start the new year. Let me know if you decide to participate in either of these challenges!


  1. Thanks for sharing the Improve Yourself! Challenge on your site, Jackie! I'm really excited that you have decided to join, and I love your goal.

    I'm looking forward to improving myself right alongside you in 2010!

  2. Thanks for the John Mayer challenge. I'm going to do that myself!

  3. LOVE there. I may come with you on the first one... maybe...

  4. Ooh, John Mayer's challenge sounds really good, but really hard. I hate talking on the phone because I'm self-conscious about my voice and just think texting/BBM'ing is so much easier. That might be a pretty good challenge for the majority of us! Will you let us know how it goes?

  5. Wow! What a great cleanse and begin to 2010. Sounds difficult, not sure I'd be able to do it. Can't wait to hear how you do! Happy New Year!

  6. i'm definitely doing the digital cleanse! seeing as how i'm not traveling for work the first week in jan, it's probably the only time i can actually do it - otherwise i need to email via my phone while i'm in airports, etc. :) i'm wondering though - does blogging go away during that week too?

  7. Good Luck with saving money. I'm quite impressed with the amount you are going to put away every month. I'm very excited to see your progress over the next 8 weeks with the 2010 Progress

  8. Oh wow...that seems hard. I wonder if I can do it...???

  9. wow!! I am so proud of you! that is awesome ! congrats on saving and paying off the debts.. let's get together soon. I have no idea where this week went xo