It is the second day of February and I am now into the second full month of the #FourForForty challenges I set myself at the start of the year. I guess i am at the very least a little proud in that i have NEVER taken a New Year Challenge or resolution more than a couple of weeks into the year…
One month in, I am still full of enthusiasm and drive to achieve the goals I have set myself.
So how are they going?
1 Memorizing Mark’s Gospel
This aspect of the challenges is, I have very quickly recognized, going to be the toughest of them all over the long haul. I am very much on schedule as I write this having committed to memory 2 verses a day for the last month. Chapter one is very well memorized and I am now in the middle of chapter two (at the point where Jesus gives his wine/wineskins teaching).
I have to confess that i did not consider the devotional impact that this challenge would have on me. As one friend commented on a previous post, in doing this I am taking Mark’s gospel into my heart. So far, that has very much been my experience. As I repeat those verses again and again I find myself sometimes being stopped and moved by a single word or phrase or action in the story. I am enjoying this challenge a great deal, but it is still early days, and in the great scheme of it all, I have hardly scratched the surface of what I have to commit to memory over the coming year…but so far so good!
2. The Tonne Run/Walk
This challenge started out well in early January. I was in Washington D.C. for classes and living the student life, i.e. I had no car and was going everywhere on foot or on metro. I got to bank a lot of extra miles in the time I was up there.
If I am honest, I wondered if this would be the one that I would try to back out of in the first month. I am not a natural mover or lover of exercise by any stretch of the imagination (unless it involves team sport). Also, as one friend reminded me, there are days when life just takes over and it is hard to find time to get the three miles I’ve targeted each day done. Life has certainly tried to take over in that January has been a very busy month in church and family life, but I have made it and remain on target with this challenge. When I first returned from D.C. my natural laziness and laid back style kicked in for a couple of days as I took some of those banked D.C. miles and enjoyed the luxury of not moving. Soon I realized that this is no way to move forward and that it’s important that i knuckle down and get the exercise done each day. I have to MAKE the time for this one and that is what I have done.
I am very thankful for the presence of my friend, JW who accompanies me on this journey as much as he can. The friendship, conversation, and general witty banter between us is motivating.
In January, I walked or ran 102.35 miles. These are all miles that are over and above the normal miles that might be accrued in the working day. They represent extra, intentional movement, which is the idea of this challenge for me. Those 102.35 miles represent an average of 3.3 miles per day. My target for a 31 day month is 93 miles or intentional running/walking, and so, January’s efforts have left me with 9.65 spare miles banked for those days when life takes over.
3. 40lbs for 40
The weight loss challenge.
As expected, after the Christmas holiday, and with all the extra movement I have managed to shift a good amount of weight in the first month. Currently I am 10lbs lighter than I was on January 1st. This is a good achievement for me, for sure. However, if i am to lose a total of 40lbs this year it will involve me focussing in a lot more on this aspect of the challenges. The extra movement alone is not enough. My diet is still erratic. Some days it is very good and other days it stinks. If the 40lbs are to be lost this year then my focus on what I am eating will have to improve. No question about it. But I know I can do it. I am confident of it. Watch this space.
4. The Savings Challenge.
This particular challenge involves me putting away the dollar value of the corresponding week of the year we are in. Of course, as the weeks go on, this will be come harder and harder, but there is another reason this challenge is a difficult one: I simply don’t carry much cash around with me. Therefore, the trick to following through on this challenge will be my intentionally visiting the bank and withdrawing the cash to save.
So…confession time. I did not save any actual cash for the first three weeks of the year because I did not have any on my person. So in week four of January, i visited the bank and withdrew the needed cash and some extra too. I don’t know if it is cheating, but I have put away enough cash to carry my savings challenge through to the second week of March. I don’t think it is cheating. By doing it this way, I am getting myself ahead a little bit, and using my time as wisely as possible. I don’t get to the bank each week (my nearest branch is a 30 minute drive away), so it is wise to “stock up” for this challenge when I do go there. Simple!
So there we go. I am on target after one month. I am pumped that I’ve lasted a month and I am pumped to continue moving forward in each of the four for forty!