The Next 365

2 Jan

Okay. It’s January 2nd, 2014 and I have a 365 to account for.

For those of you just tuning in, it’s been exactly three years to the day since I wrote my very first post in my very first 365 Challenge: to fire up a blog I once adored and let sit dormant for years with one post every day for 365 days. It was far more successful and fulfilling than I could have imagined and I’ve become an advocate for 365 Projects ever since, much to the irritation of my friends and family.

In 2012, what I now refer to as The Dark Days, I didn’t complete a 365. In 2013, I enacted Project Fat Ass. To quote myself: “…before I give up all hope of ever being the kind of person who can run for 6+miles and/or fit into single-digit clothing, I’d like to give myself a fair shot by forcing myself to face my fat every single day for 365 days.  And then of course running a 10K so I can be sure something tangible came out of it: a certificate and a t-shirt.”

I did. I did all of that except get in the single digits (they’re a terrible myth, I’m sure of it). I exercised every day and ran a 5K and then exercised every day and ran a 10K and I got a shirt and a finisher’s medal. I took shots of myself every month and tracked my progress . At my least fit, I was 189. At my fittest, I was 155. It was really hard and it was completely worth it.

Originally I placed the 10K at the end of September because I thought it would give me an extra few months to harden up my body post-6-miles before reporting my progress. I thought about all the extra motivation I’d have thinking about how awesome it was that I finally ran that far and that long.

In reality I kind of blew it.

I mean, I walked for 20 minutes most days and sometimes I’d even do something pretty taxing but post-10K Jackie was nothing like pre-10K Jackie.  I should have gone harder. I won’t say I failed because hot damn I completed a 10K but I also won’t say that I was a warrior those last three months. If pre-10K Jackie were around, she’d be pretty upset. I’ve gotten pretty soft.

It’s all good though. Not only because I spent all year understanding my body and my motivations and what does and doesn’t work (and how disgusting my habits used to be), but because it’s January 2nd and it’s time for a new 365.

I was thinking about my big accomplishment this year and celebrating my new improved self with a bag of Skittles and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food (which I now eat in two days, not one), when I really struggled to think of something I wanted to do every day for a year.  I also thought about how many of you have talked about doing smaller daily challenges (30 Days) and how many of you took me up on my Gauntlet challenge earlier this year.

I can do lots of things better or differently than I’m doing them now. I had a whole list of ideas – I could spend all my free time only reading books, I could be vegan, I could go carless for a year, I could cook from scratch every single night, I could say yes to everything for a month – there are many possibilities I could dabble in daily that would seriously affect the kind of person I am and the effectiveness of my personhood a year from now.

It’s kind of hard to choose.

So this year my 365 is actually a series of 30 Day Challenges. I have twelve chances to adopt a new habit within thirty days. Some of them might stick, some of them surely won’t – but every single month I get to focus intently on something I want to be better at and share my failures with you all.

I’ve already picked the first month. As penance for the last three months of slacking, I’ll whip out my tried and true Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred so that I can stop hating on my soft self for the pathetic walks in October and November and the shameless cookie munching through December. That should also give you all ample time to tell me what you want me to do for 30 Days.

That’s right: I’m taking reader suggestions. I’d love to hear from you. Some of my best Lollipop Tuesdays have come from you guys. Heck, we can do one together or you can try to live vicariously through me or you can just suggest something you think I suck at so that you can point and laugh while I struggle.

In 2012 I wanted to be the kind of person who was fit. I wanted to be able to jog and maybe even run a race. It seemed completely out of my territory and I was so scared leading up to the 10K that I wanted any possible way to get out. Because deep down I’m a little whiny bitch and a bit of a pussy.

That’s truth right there. I know that it’s vulgar and I don’t usually do vulgar but that’s truth. And it’s probably true about all of us, really.

Let’s do 2014 correctly, shall we? We’ll live with intent, try new things, and laugh at ourselves. Of course you’re always welcome to just laugh at me, but I do hope that at some point this year you’ll consider joining me. If you aren’t sure what the rules are for a 30 Day Challenge, you can review my recommendations in numbers 1, 2, and 3 here. Eventually I might even put it all in one convenient location because I love you so hard.

Oh, and thank you. Whether you’ve been here since the first post or just got on the train, there is absolutely no doubt I would be a fat, motivationless pile of self-produced oils and cheetoh dust if you didn’t support me and ignore my frequent cat, unicorn, and World of Warcraft references. You’re swell. Thanks. As a token of my gratitude, here’s an oldie but a goodie: a large cat either being offered up to a nation or getting a breast exam in front of one.

cat feel up

Thank you and Happy New Year, all. The suggestion box is open. 

41 Responses to “The Next 365”

  1. moodymandi January 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Love this post! I am little bit more motivated now~! 🙂 I love Phish Food and my husband’s name is Jerry haha…That cat is epic.. 😉


    • Jackie January 29, 2014 at 12:30 am #

      Phish Food is the best flavor but also the worst because between the marshmallow puddles and the fudge fish, I always have something exciting to dig for and end up at the bottom very quickly.


  2. Sean January 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    Take thirty days to learn an Italian Aria

    Lobby for important Legislation

    Hang out with your adorable friends in the south hills for 30 days straight!!!

    Or conquer your neighbors apartment through fear, subterfuge, and other V for Vendetta tactics.


    • Jackie January 29, 2014 at 12:29 am #

      Sean, be careful what you wish for in that little 30 day “hang with your friends” suggestion. Because that would make some excellent blog material, I’m sure of it.


  3. theflipsidetlm January 3, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    30 days of saying yes to everything???


    • Ice_Badger January 3, 2014 at 4:00 am #

      haha…that is what I thought…that could be awesome or go really badly wrong :-S


  4. Janie Doh January 3, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    I am also trying to blog daily this year but I don’t have a set plan of challenges. Right now I am doing WordPress’s Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog challenge, because my blog is new and I have a lot to share about myself. I like the idea of a month of saying yes to everything, but I like it for someone other than me. It would be interesting to read about, scary to live I imagine.


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:51 am #

      That’s kick ass, Janie. I shall follow and heckle.


  5. Blockader January 3, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    What is it about December that makes cookies taste so irresistibly good?


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:50 am #

      I believe it’s the stress and cold and awfulness of it all.


  6. Ice_Badger January 3, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    I love 30 day challenges too 😀 I haven’t come up with any yet, but I am sure I will add some on top of my (half finished..woohoo) 365. I nearly bought Jillian Micheals 30 day shred as a back up for when the gym is closed…or as an additional something to do in the morning…maybe I will go back and get it 😀


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:49 am #

      Do it. She’ll wreck you and you will look awesome and you will lovehate her.


  7. fredrieka January 3, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Haha you’re a hoot!:-)


  8. hitandrun1964 January 3, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    Dance with your beautiful cat for ten minutes a day…kissing is acceptable, hugs too, of course. 🙂


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:48 am #

      I… this is… What if she likes it and starts expecting it all the time!?

      I should be more consistently affectionate with her. She’s so insatiable.


  9. Samantha January 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    For the record, keep the World of Warcraft references coming. Just saying. 🙂

    I don’t really have any suggestions yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with some. Happy New Year, Jackie! Happy to follow along for a new 365 🙂


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:46 am #

      Such an enabler, you. Thanks so much for following! Let me know if you come up with any awful suggestions for me 🙂


  10. anonomouse January 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    I’ve only just recently started the process of daily blogging and found that even that has been quite a challenge. I’d like to be brave enough to try a proper 30 day challenge like having no chocolate or worse, no sugar, but I know that would just turn me into a homicidal bitch… Well, more than I already am. Looking forward to seeing what you choose to do and how you progress!! Good luck!!


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:46 am #

      Blogging every day is rough but rewarding. If you choose to be brave this year let me know. I’d love to note your awesomeness on my forthcoming “awesome people” page for folks who try challenges


      • anonomouse January 16, 2014 at 2:12 am #

        Hey Jackie, yes, it’s still a relatively new challenge and I’m still juggling time to be able to get to write two posts per day – because I’m over achieving and continuing to take on two separate daily writing challenges. It seems like a really simple challenge, but it’s really not. I’m actually surprised that I even have people following my blog, and I’m flattered that you would like to feature it on your blog roll. If you think that other people are going to be interested in my verbal diarrhoea, then go for it!! 🙂


        • Jackie January 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

          If you make it through your 365, you bet your bottom I’m putting you on my page of awesome people. Sending you so much good juju – a post a day is a difficult thing indeed. two a day is madness.


          • anonomouse January 26, 2014 at 4:37 am #

            You’re right. Two a day certainly is madness… but why sit on the edge and just dip my toes in, when I can just jump in the deep end instead!!


  11. bikerchick57 January 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    How about 30 days without cheese? 30 days without pizza? 30 days without chocolate?


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:45 am #

      Oh man. Abstaining from things. Good idea 😦


  12. John Terry January 5, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    love this post


  13. oneawkwardyear January 5, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Love this, such a great idea! I’m not awake enough to come up with good suggestions so I’ll be back with ideas haha


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:44 am #

      It’s probably best that way. You shouldn’t reward me until I have a fancy button with an appropriate and convenient link for you to tell me what to do. Make me work for it.


  14. BaconCape January 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Love the blog! 🙂


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:43 am #

      Hey, thanks! Love the bacon cape.


  15. philosophermouseofthehedge January 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Laughing is good! Always a great place to start.


    • Jackie January 16, 2014 at 12:43 am #

      Agreed! Hey thanks for your posts of pics that fill me with warm thoughts during an ass chapping winter.


  16. mllaurie January 27, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Oh, do the vegan thing! 30-day vegan challenge! I’ll help you!


    • Jackie February 19, 2014 at 1:47 am #

      I have to admit that going vegan scares me. so it’s going on the list of possibilities for next month as well. I’m not sure if I’m always going to have readers vote or not… hmm. Either way, I’m down for tips in advance. What’s a typical day’s menu look like?


      • mllaurie February 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

        Well, what do you normally eat? I can suggest vegan alternatives for non-vegan favourites. Off the top of my head, it could be something like cereal with almond milk for breakfast (many cereals are vegan) and/or toast and jam, maybe some fruit. Lunch could be something simple like a sandwich with vegan slices (which taste very much like the real thing). You can use mustard, ketchup, and many other sauces. Earth Balance makes a garlic mayo, oh my God, it’s amazing. If you’re not averse to cooking, I’ve got lots of great, filling, comfort food-type recipes, as well as lighter ones. The key is not to just cut out the meat, dairy, and eggs, but to fill those gaps with alternatives. Even vegan baking is possible, and honestly, is easier and just as good, and best of all…you can eat the batter 🙂 I’m very happy to help you with anything you need: lists of vegan alternatives, recipes, suggested reading, motivation, anything.


        • Jackie February 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

          I have a concern that I’ll be replacing real food with food that consists of things that might not be better for me. A great example is replacing a slice of provolone cheese with a vegan imitation. I typically eat things with very few ingredients unless I’m eating all-out junk. Words I can’t pronounce and food made in factories is not ideal. It seems odd to me to replace my cage-free, locally raised chicken with an imitation.

          Do you have any tips for going vegan without taking in strange ingredients? Is it too challenging to be vegan and avoid those things?


          • mllaurie February 20, 2014 at 3:03 am #

            To answer your last question first: absolutely not. Mediterranean and Chinese foods are very veg-heavy. I hardly ever eat meat replacements, but they can be nice for people transitioning to a vegan diet, and many of them are completely natural and without weird ingredients…even vegan cheese can be made with things like cashews, but I just don’t bother with them, and I understand your desire to avoid them.

            You might want to check out The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen:

            This is a cookbook of real food without substitutes. Also, anything by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (she has a website and an awesome podcast, too).

            Vegan milks can be made yourself easily from hemp seeds, almonds, or oats.

            The thing to remember is that plants contain protein, which is where the animals we eat get it…the same is true for all other nutrients, including calcium and iron. Leafy greens are packed with iron and calcium. B12 is the only vitamin you’ll need to supplement if you go vegan long-term…it used to be present on plants, but modern farming practices have eliminated it. (It’s a bacteria-based vitamin, and since meat is full of bacteria, it thrives on meat.)

            I’ve got some links and some lovely recipes that I’ll email to you, things made with wholesome ingredients that are easy to make and taste great. Even if you decide not to try going vegan, you still might like them. 🙂


          • Jackie February 21, 2014 at 12:40 am #

            it’s a deal Michelle. I might not go vegan next month, but I will in 2014. Thanks for the navigation 🙂


          • mllaurie February 21, 2014 at 4:00 am #

            Fabulous! 🙂


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