5 Low-Effort Challenges To Start Now

Photo credit: youngentrepreneur.com

Photo credit: youngentrepreneur.com

I loved this article in The Telegraph which tells how New Year’s Resolutions are changing. People used to resolve to quit smoking and lose weight; now they pledge to read more books and save money. There’s a widening feeling of “Let’s be good to ourselves.”

There are a few popular challenges I haven’t signed on to, and I realized it’s because some of these behaviours have become engrained!

No Spend

1. No Spend Month

I have challenged myself not to spend anything on non-essentials from January 1 to Valentines Day for the past few years. This year I made a list of things I would buy if the price was right, because it didn’t make sense to skip a January sale and pay more at the end of February. Over all, I think I was too hard on myself in past years. Although I don’t need to shop to have fun, I don’t want to dread every winter because of the deprivation I will face! I think a no-spend month is a great idea if you are paying off holiday bills, if you need to give up other things to pay for heat, if you need motivation to start saving, or if you are saving to buy something nice for yourself! This month I am making lots of cafe visits. They keep my spirits up.

How long I have been doing this challenge: 2013 would be year 5, if I were doing it 🙂

Challenges_Junk Food

2. Give Up Junk Food, Fast Food or Packaged Food

It was February 2011 when I discovered Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules and the 100 Days of Real Food blog. Over the course of the next 7 months, I gradually cut back on packaged foods and started making a lot of foods from scratch. While I don’t expect to become an urban homesteader, my attitude has completely changed. I truly enjoy Real Foods and love cooking. I have much more appreciation for the homemaking skills of years past. I don’t want to return to the time when women did the canning while men watched football. But preparing food has become a joy and not a chore at all.

How long I have been doing this challenge: 2 years

Photo credit: research.fuseink.com

Photo credit: research.fuseink.com

3. Clean Up the Computer

I created a little tradition for myself of cleaning up my computer starting on New Year’s Day. I remove all the programs I don’t use, remove all the exec files I downloaded to install the programs, make sure I haven’t added any irritating task bars, disable the features I don’t want on my virus checker, get rid of some desktop icons, empty the recycle bin, check my backups, and all those other chores that are easy to put off. I do have some motivation though – Rom is an IT specialist, and I would be very embarrassed if I needed to ask for his help in restoring my computer, because of some stupid thing I did or failed to do. So I am quite diligent! My laptop will be 5 years old soon, and I hope to get lots more life out of it.

How long I have been doing this challenge: about 10 years

Photo credit: care2.com

Photo credit: care2.com

4. Declutter the House

Link and I moved into our house in 2004, and Rom joined us in 2009 (from the UK). Before he arrived, I had all the flooring replaced in the house, and literally had to move everything I owned – it was almost as big a job as moving house. I took the opportunity to reorganize everything, and create room for Rom’s stuff. In 2011, Link moved out, and we are only now reorganizing the house to make better use of the space. So I have come to see reorganizing as “something one does” whenever you go through a life change. It mentally prepares me for that next phase. I have moved 10 times in my adult life and every occasion resulted in an overhaul of my possessions. This is the first time a home has felt “permanent” to me. Now if you asked me to keep my desk cleared off for a year, I couldn’t do it – maintaining a decluttered state is a whole other goal!

How long I have been doing this challenge: 12 moves or complete re-organizations in 25 years…

Photo credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/7825065?group=A&imgres=lesbians+bed

Photo credit: http://weheartit.com

5. Stop Smoking, Drinking, Drug-Taking and Sex with Strangers

I have aced this one! So much easier when you don’t start 🙂

How about you? What are the resolutions you don’t need to make because you already do them?


  1. Eliminating fast food I accomplished a few years ago, gave up drinking in 1986…my list could be really long as I feel as if I’ve reinvented myself along the way over the years and with that came new goals and leaving things behind. The biggest one that has saved me so much money was my resolve not to buy new books. That was my one shopping vice I couldn’t walk past a bookstore without buying not just one but as many as I could afford at that moment. It was bad!

  2. February will be my low spend month, I’m kind of trying to give up junk food but it is SO hard, I usually keep my computers in tip top shape, since we moved our house hasn’t had time to pick up clutter yet and I don’t smoke, drink, take drugs or have sex with anyone (well, except for the hubby!). Great list!

  3. Eating my apple a day and drinking only water at work and keeping off those buns and office treats have proved to be quite low effort in the end and have now become a matter of habit so I am really pleased with myself.

  4. Hmm I could manage to incorporate nearly all of the above to a greater or lesser degree – except of course no 5, never started any of those either. I keep trying to have a de clutter but it comes back to haunt me. With two adult ‘children’ at home clutter breeds like mad and my husband isn’t very tidy either. Interested in the Food Rules and 100 days of real food, I shall have a look. Thank you for the comment on my blog, I shall have a peek at your older posts.

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