Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Challenges

I don't get super busy over the holidays, which I'm incredibly happy about, but I do still wind up doing a lot of eating.  Thankfully, this year, I only really have one job, which means only one work party, which I'm not actually going to attend.  Don't get me wrong, I like work parties, but they always end up costing far more than I'd like to spend to eat food that I'm never really totally jazzed about.  For those of you out there who have fully catered work parties--I salute you.

Despite not having that party looming, I know there will be others, and treats and large meals, so I am embracing two existing fitness challenges, and creating a financial challenge for myself to carry me successfully through this holiday season.

1. The Runner's World Holiday Running Streak.
This means that from Thanksgiving Day to New Year's Day, I'm pledging to run at least one mile every day. Normally, I never run every single day, but one mile is nothing and is only a ~9 minute commitment per day.  Hopefully, I won't stop after just one, but I am committed to doing at least one mile per day. No excuses.

2. The Yoga Challenge.
My yoga studio's holiday challenge starts today, and I have committed that I will try to do yoga at least three times per week until... sometime.  I'm not 100% sure when this challenge ends, but I've been trying to do yoga three times a week anyway, so this is just an added incentive.  Double bonus, my friend who has been away at Bikram yoga teacher training for the last two months comes back this week and I get to take a class with her on Tuesday!  Oh, also, if I'm successful at the challenge, I get a prize.  I do like prizes...

3. Financial Challenge
This is a self-imposed challenge, but I encourage everyone out there to come up with your own challenge and commit to it before Thanksgiving.  I'm lucky in that I don't have a lot of people I have to buy gifts for.  That's lucky because I don't have much money, and also because I'm a pretty lousy gift-giver under pressure.  BF's gift(s) are already purchased/ decided upon, so for the rest of the holiday season, I'm just going to focus on distracting myself with the above fitness goals, eat at home as much as possible, and try to do as much end of the year saving as I possibly can.  I have no idea what to expect from my taxes this year, so should I have to pay in, I intend to have enough of a cushion built up that it's not that big of a deal.

The rules for this challenge:
  1. Eat out a maximum two meals a week.  This is restaurant meals, not house parties or potlucks, etc.
  2. Stay on budget in all categories.  I've been consistently over budget in the groceries and alcohol categories for the past two months.
  3. Limit alcohol consumption.  It's far too easy to get sucked into the festivities and drink too much, which makes me eat too much.  I am limiting myself to two drinks per day, with at least two days off completely from drinking each week.
  4. Walk/bike to work as much as possible.  This is harder to do some days because I have yoga immediately after work, but on days when I can get to work without a car, I should.
  5. Save!  I still need to sock away as much as I can in my Roth IRA before the end of the year.
  6. Extra work.  I have a chance to pick up some freelance work, I just need to discipline myself and actually get started.  Oh why is it so hard to not be lazy after work and on your day off!  At least the days are short and I never want to leave the house, that should make it easier to stay on task.
Anyone else want to take on some challenges?  Or is life already too challenging this time of year?


  1. Off topic, but my work has given us the health insurance option of our regular insurance with a flex account and a high deductible insurance with a Health savings account. Both have good and bad points. Have you come across these things in your writings and musings on frugalness? One nice thinga bout the HSA is you keep it year to year rather than lose it if you don't spend it, and you can invest it if you have more than 2000 in the account. ARGH, adult decisions!

  2. I LOVE these challenges! My two biggest: Staying on budget + saving. So hard. But, because I won't have a paycheck all of December (my new job only pays once a month), I'm gonna have to.