Without planning it or knowing I was doing it, the past two years during the month of by birthday – and coincidentally starting with a milestone one – I have tried something new. I am now making it an annual tradition – around the anniversary of the beginning of my life – to try something new each year. Sometimes it may be a one-off type thing, as this year’s, others a habit or practice that I want to start or end. Unlike a typical resolution though, I only aim to do it for a month, and there is the reason it has and will succeed. The hope is that for even doing something for a month it may stick and become a permanent thing.
Last year my new thing was participating in NaNoWriMo – National November Writing Month – where I joined in with hundreds of thousands of others in attempting to write 50,000 words – approximately 175 pages – of a novel during the month of November. I tried, and succeeded – I hit the mark with a story that was maybe 2/3 completed. I never finished but that exercise alone inspired me to keep going and since then I have done more work towards an actual one to finish. I would have liked to participate this year again but though I did not, I know when I put my mind to it I can focus on the task at hand and do it.
This year, as part of this project’s focus on men’s wellness, I participated in Movember (The Month Formerly Known As November) ‘A MOUSTACHE GROWING CHARITY EVENT HELD DURING NOVEMBER EACH YEAR THAT RAISES FUNDS AND AWARENESS FOR MEN’S HEALTH.’ Normally a clean-shaven gent, I went all out and grew a Van Dyke, the results of which you can see here. I was hoping to be the face of men’s health and raise funds for men’s health. I did raise a little but not as much as I hoped for as I did not get out much for people to see and ask what was up with my ‘stache. Though November is over, if you are so inclined you can still donate to my page.
This was my second year stepping outside the box and trying something and though both of things were essentially one-time events, they both may have lasting effects. I will for sure write again, I have continued that in a lesser manner. Not sure about the facial hair thing – it is all gone now – but it once again showed I can commit to something out of the ordinary. I could, and likely will in the future, use November to do something like change my diet, exercise, give up a bad habit, etc. – the types of things you resolve to do at New Year’s. But as stated, the difference is I would be going in knowing I am doing it for a month which should make it easier to commit to. And then after doing it for a whole month it may become a new habit that will not end. I think this seems a much better plan than thinking about changing it for a whole year.
I think this could be a good idea for anyone else to try. For your next birthday, think about making a change just for the month of your birthday. What do you think? If you have a birthday coming up what change for the positive can you try for a month? Give up smoking? Eat healthier and/or greener (vegetarian, organic, local)? Read more? Give up TV/Computer? Take the bus?
As for me, what is next? I have no idea – it is eleven months away – but now that I have done it twice it may just be a habit, practice, or tradition – whatever you want to call it.