January is all about starting fresh, building new habits, kicking out the old ones, and generally becoming a better version of yourself.
Ok I'm being a bit sarcastic, because we all know that 90% of the time, those resolutions don't stick. And that's ok. We know that our value isn't wrapped up in how well we attain our goals or how much we improve ourselves.
BUT - there is always room for growth.
As you already know if you've been around here a while, I love goals. I love challenging myself and trying new things and linking arms with others who are doing the same thing. And that's why I get excited about community challenges.
I think of a "community challenge" as a commitment (whether a month long, year long, or more) that a group of people make to do something together. I know that sounds a little vague, but you'll see below exactly what I'm talking about.
In just the past few days, I've found four challenges that I think will really spur me on towards spending more time in God's Word, reading books outside my regular genres, eating healthier, and jump-starting my blog for the new year.
These are all challenges that I'm doing with others, which is exciting - because it means I'm not in this alone.
I'm sharing these because I hope you will join me in on one (or all?) of them too, or find a new community that can inspire you to act on all those good intentions that have been floating around in your mind!
challenge 1 - get in the word every day
If you haven't heard of She Reads Truth, get over there now. It is a fantastic online Bible study community for women that studies the Bible, sharing devotionals and comments via forums year-round. Their smartphone app is gorgeous, and on January 1, they introduced a free plan to read through the entire Bible in 2015.
I long to spend more time in the Bible every day, and so often I don't. And when my mind isn't in the Word, my heart gets confused pretty easily. So I'm pretty excited about challenging myself to read chunks of Scripture every day!
I've tried other reading plans before, but most plans give you readings from 4 different parts of the Bible, hich I really don't like. The SRT plan starts you off "in the beginning" with Genesis and John (get it?), which also coincides with their current devotional study of John. Perfect!
challenge 2 - drink green smoothies
I have become a green smoothie fanatic since moving back to KC. And I probably don't need that much encouragement to drink more smoothies! But it's fun to try new recipes, and this month, Simple Green Smoothies is launching a live challenge to drink a green smoothie every day.
You can sign up free on their website for weekly recipes and shopping lists, healthy tips, and encouragement via their Facebook group! They also have a gorgeous Instagram feed with daily recipes that I've really enjoyed.
challenge 3 - get out of my bookish comfort zone
Last year I read 50 books (woo hoo!). Some of them definitely stretched me, but I stuck to my favorite genres (Christian living, mystery novels, and literary fiction) for probably 90% of my choices.
But this year, I'm trying out the reading challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy - 12 books in 12 months, each with their own unique twist. I'm already listening to the book I should have read in high school (To Kill A Mockingbird), and have a few more already planned. Having to choose a book I liked because of the cover, or a book my mom loves, should be pretty interesting.
Bonus challenge - if you really want to set the bar high, check out the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge - they give you a whole list of 50 book ideas to launch you on your way to literary prowess!
challenge 4 - build that email list
If you're not a blogger, I give you a permission to let your eyes glaze over. But if you are, you should definitely check out Nathalie Lussier's 30 Day List Building Challenge. I actually signed up a couple months ago, and I'm finally getting around to going through it. In the first few days she's already given me some great tips on defining and tracking goals.
And if you haven't signed up for the monthly Journey Mercies newsletter, why not? After a few months' break, I'm ready to send some fun encouragement, inspiration, and personal stories straight to your inbox! Sign up here!
I'd love to hear about challenges you're taking on this month! What are some ways you're making yourself grow in 2015?