Monday, January 2, 2012

The year of challenges has ended!

I'm not kidding when I say I just can't believe this year is over! It does not feel like I have completed twelve challenges, but I have. I'll recap December's challenge, and then we can reminisce about past challenges.

In December I decided to enter a sweepstakes or contest every day. I happen to be one of the unluckiest people around, so I figured if I entered a huge number of contests I would be sure to win something, right? Not really. In total, I entered eighty-one contests. 81!!!!!!!!! That's huge! And I won nothing!!!!! I will acknowledge that some of the things I entered have not drawn the winner yet, so there's still a chance, but I think it's a safe bet I didn't win anything. I will share with you that as a result of one of the contests I entered at the Fox River Mall I had a woman call and say I had won 4 round-trip air tickets to anywhere in the world...only to find out 15 minutes into the phone call that I had to go to Wisconsin Dells and listen to a 2 hour time-share presentation. I said "Thanks but no thanks." If I win something, I want to win it, not have to work to get it. Then she told me I didn't actually was a promotion and as such, I had to come to the presentation. Nope.

I will also share that I kinda did win something this month, but it wasn't a result of entering endless sweepstakes. Our weekly online newsletter at work lists 2 employee numbers each week, and if yours is listed, you win a prize. My number was listed last week. I was so convinced I had won a new convertible...I just knew that's what the prize would be. Turns out, the prize was an Aurora Family Cookbook. Sigh.

Now, let's review the year's challenges. Here they are:
January: Purchase only American-made products
February: Write and send one complimentary letter per day
March: Spend 15 minutes a day revising my book
April: Walk every street in Two Rivers
May: Eat the recommended number of fruits and veggies every day
June: Find a geocache in every county in Wisconsin
July: Finish my half-done house projects
August: Ride 250 miles on my bike
September: Eat vegetarian
October: Visit every museum in Manitowoc County
November: Watch every movie that won Best Picture Oscar
December: Enter one sweepstakes per day

My favorite challenge: Tie between riding my bike 250 miles and finding a geocache in every county. Both of these challenges were a lot of fun and I enjoyed them both a lot!
Least favorite challenge: Eating vegetarian. I absolutely hated hated hated this month. I could never ever be a vegetarian. It's too hard!
Hardest challenge: Buying American. It takes a huge amount of dedication, and there are certain products that just simply are not made in America. But I also learned that if you look hard enough, there are a lot of things that surprisingly ARE made right here.
Easiest challenge: Visit every museum in Manitowoc County. No one better tell my dad this, but I actually enjoy going to museums now that I'm an adult.

And now to address the question of what will happen in this coming year. I had thought to continue the challenges. I very much enjoy having something new to work at each month, but to be honest, it's been tough coming up with 12 challenges that fit my picky criteria. I also think the charm and unique-ness has worn off, so I will be retiring my year of challenges, effective immediately. I've had several people suggest other types of year-long challenges, but I think I'm just done with it all. I've really enjoyed everyone's feedback, I've enjoyed sharing my challenges and the results with you, and I've enjoyed dedicating myself to something new every thirty days. I'm very content to put this segment of my life to bed :) With that being said, in lieu of making a New Years resolution, I chose to call mine a challenge...I want to get my book published this year. I will be working all year towards that goal. A doctor at work asked my yesterday what my resolution was, and I just decided that I like the word "challenge" better than "resolution". Being as competitive as I am, "challenge" gets me fired up a lot more than "resolution". So I guess you could say I'm not completely giving up challenges in my life...just moving onto a larger, more time-consuming one.

Thank you again for following me for the past year. I hope I added a little humor to your day, and maybe I even inspired you to do something new or different or to challenge yourself. It really did warm my heart each time you posted a comment or asked what my challenge was when we crossed paths because it showed me that you, my friend, were interested in me. I appreciate you.

Many of life's failures are people who did nor realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ---Thomas Edison