November: A Very Challenging Month

Well, that went by quickly. I’m pretty sure I blinked and the entire month of November managed to sneak its whole big bad self right by me. How?

I took part in three separate and completely unrelated challenges last month: NaNoWriMo, a plank-a-day, and No Sweets November (a joint effort between Sarah and I). I thought I might be overloading myself with challenges, setting myself up for failure, but doing three at once seemed to actually help. It was hard to flake on one when I had already done my part for one or two of the others. It was almost a feeling of, “Well, I wrote my 1667 words for NaNoWriMo already, so I can totally do a plank, too,” rather than, “But I diiiid my words already, why do I have to do more?!” It was like commitment to one reinforced my commitment to the others.

It was quite satisfying, actually. I managed to finish NaNoWriMo for the second time ever, with 50 002 words and three days to spare. The draft is a festering pile of crap, but aren’t all first drafts? I am quite excited to leave it for the next few months and then come back to rework it into something that will be potentially more readable.

I didn’t stay completely away from sweets. I cheated. A lot. But it did help in one major way: it helped me say no to the constant parade of sweets that march through my office every single day. People are always bringing homemade goods, or donuts from Tim Horton’s, or leftover Halloween candy, and having the No Sweets November challenge in the back of my mind really helped me to stay away from them. But I had several cookies on the day that we set up our Christmas tree. And a sugary, speciality hot chocolate from Starbucks. And a piece of apple pie when Toria came over for Supernatural night and brought it with her (YOU CAN’T SAY NO TO A GUEST, YOU GUYS). And a piece of apple pie when we were in Bragg Creek for the day. But the challenge helped me realize that it’s actually easy to say no to sweets when I don’t really want them, and that was a definitely a lesson worth learning. (And no, you don’t need to remind me that we are supposed to be giving up junk food for a whole year. Ha!)

But the result that I am the proudest of is my plank. The idea of the plank a day challenge is, you guessed it, to do a plank every day, for as long as you can hold it. When I joined the Facebook group my friend set up, she posted a graphic showing an advancement up to a 5 minute plank at the end of the month. I nearly cried with laughter. On November 1, I did my first plank and I barely managed to hold it for 30 seconds. On Saturday, I did my last plank of the challenge and I held it for 5 minutes and 3 seconds. YUP. I made it to that five minute mark that I thought was so absurd.

That, ultimately, is the benefit of challenges such as these. It makes you realize that you are capable of pushing yourself so much further than you ever thought possible. Like Iron Man.

Now excuse me while I go watch The Avengers for the 20th time.

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Jessica

Jessica

Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me