New Year Challenges: 2012 Here We Come!

You may have noticed the new badges I’ve added in the sidebar on my home page. For years I have taken on challenges that if attempted, afford personal growth and development. In other words, I want to become a better person so I accept challenges that will help me do that. This year is no exception. After searching and praying and mulling things over, I joined three challenges for 2012! At first glance, three challenges may seem like a lot, however if you know a little more about them, you will see that the challenges compliment each other in such a way that I feel this is very doable. One challenge is for the month of January only (but if it works out, I may continue on my own but in a modified way.) So, let me tell you about each challenge for this year, and if you like, you may choose to join me. 🙂

This challenge involves finding and writing “small stones.” In order to find “small stones,” one must keep his or her eyes, nose, mouth, fingers, ears and mind open. Pay attention to the world around us and notice. Write it down. That’s it.  You may write a sentence, a paragraph, a poem or haiku. You may take a photograph, or simply string words together that suggest a mood or a color. Whatever you notice, write it down (one thing each day, NOT everything everyday.) This challenge is for one month only, but by the end of the month, there will be a river of “stones” consisting of the things you (I) notice in our world each day. Click on the badge above to find out more about this challenge. This is a “no pressure” challenge. I look forward to seeing what my “river of stones” looks like by the end of January!

Next is the “No Comfort Zone-2012 Challenge!” As implied, we are to step out of our boxes, out of our comfort zones this year. We are challenged to stretch, to grow, to face our fears, to do things that we dream of but never thought we could do. It may be something big (bungee jumping, hang gliding, skydiving, etc.) but more likely we will be challenged by the little things we do that stretch our imagination. For instance, getting up early one morning while it is still dark and driving the dozen miles or so to the lake shore to watch a sunrise is one of my challenges for the coming year! (Yes, if I do this, you will see photos! 🙂 ) It might be trying your hand at painting a landscape, or learning a new instrument, or asking the janitor’s name and then speaking to him or her by name every time your paths cross. It can be anything that is outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you will try something every day (rather daunting), or weekly (a little more reasonable) or even monthly (my comfort zone . . . hmmm . . . another No Comfort Zone-2012 Challenge to consider) or less. This is another no pressure challenge; participants set their own agenda, choose their own challenging behavior, and then write about it. The “River of Stones Jan ’12” is the first challenge I will attempt to meet this, the No Comfort Zone-2012 Challenge. (See what I mean about how these challenges work together! Awesome, huh. 🙂 )

The third challenge, and one that works well with the previous two challenges, is the “Creative Every Day 2012” challenge. (Click on the badge to find out more.) Participants are encouraged to think and act creatively every day, and that can mean anything. This involves thinking “outside the box” (see previous challenge), seeing and noticing (see first challenge) and writing about it, but not necessarily on a daily basis. Maybe I will attempt to make a winter coat for myself (I love to sew, but I’ve never attempted something this complicated, but it may be a daily creative endeavor every day for a week or more.) Or maybe I’ll write a poem about watching the squirrels play chase outside my window (see River of Stones Jan ’12 challenge), etc.

As you can see, any thing I do to meet one challenge, may also meet another or all of the above challenges. Each challenge takes a gentle approach so that there is no “guilt” if we do not do “it” perfectly, or daily. The idea is to further develop a creative, adventuresome, aware life! I think that is good.

I am looking forward to a great 2012. May we each create a year in which our potential bursts open in full bloom!


53 thoughts on “New Year Challenges: 2012 Here We Come!

    1. Rebekah,
      I certainly understand your sentiment. I considered that approach myself, but these challenges looked so interesting, fun, creative and . . . well . . . challenging, that I could not resist. I think it will be easier because they dovetail each other so well. We’ll see. If it proves to be too daunting, I can always “modify.” LOL. Have a great 2012, and I do plan on following you on your new blog site. I have considered doing the same from time to time, so I will be watching to see how the switch-over works out.

  1. Cecelia, I am very impressed that you want to do this much more in addition to all that you already do, but you are one who would. I have always wondered how you have found so many other noteworthy blogs in addition to your own. As you know, Leah Piken Kolidas’s Creative Every Day 2012 Challenge has links to over 100 other creative bloggers who have signed up for her challenge. And you always have a list of “Related articles” at the end of your posts. All of that kind of productivity boggles my 69 year old brain!

    1. 🙂 You really make me sound awesome! Cool! But if truth be known, I get my ideas from other bloggers, and the list of links at the bottom of my post are those suggested by WP. I have found a lot of really interesting blogs that way, but I couldn’t do it without the help of others and WP. But you do make me sound really neat! 😉

      And, I must add here that there are certain things I will be paring back for the coming year. You’ll hear more about that, too. AND, classes start up for the next quarter a week from today. Oy . . .

      Thanks for your comments, Barbara. Always appreciated. Have a wonderful new year.

  2. I love these, especailly the first one! Cecilia, where do you find these challenges? I’m coming up with one or two for my own writing for next year, but I’m always open to more..

    1. Thanks Seasweetie! Glad you like them, and if there is one (or more) you want to participate in, please do. Click on the badge(s) and you will be taken to the blog that is sponsoring the challenge. I wish you luck and send best wishes for success in 2012 and beyond. 🙂

  3. I love you’re ideas, your challenges for 2012, Cecelia. Yesterday I happily surprised myself by writing a poem for my father for his birthday. I hadn’t been able to think of anything to get him — it’s his 80th birthday and he has just about every thing anyone could imagine he wanted. So yesterday morning I thought — I’ll sit down and see if I can write a poem for him in the few hours I had before his party. I wrote “Fishing” at the top of the page and began. . . It brought me such joy to be able to give him a personal gift from a memory of one day in our lives together, and also to be able to write a new poem, reminded of the time when I could not write, or read at all. I’ve been timid, afraid what craft I had was gone. I thought after finishing that good draft (terror to part with something so new!) that I’d like to see if I can’t arrange my life so that I can do what the poet William Stafford did — he woke every morning early and went into his study and wrote, no matter what came to him, no matter if it was for the trash can or for something greater, he wrote. I used to have that discipline but it slipped away with illness. But yesterday gave me confidence. And then today I open my email and there is your “a river of stones” challenge. I like the idea that those stones come in any medium. I used a similiar project when working with kids and their writing. With you’re inspiration, I think it may be time to take one on myself.

    I’m also intrigued by the eclectic reader challenge.

    (Apologies for taking up half your post page 🙂 )

    1. Now that’s what I’m talking about!!! Stretching, stepping outside our comfort zones! Wonderful. I like the idea of the “morning pages” (as I think Julia Cameron called them . . . correct me if I have the wrong author.) I used to do that myself but it was a short lived exercise. I might try that again, but no commitment at this point. At any rate, I LOVE your comments. I get my ideas from other blogs I visit. If you click on the badges in this blog, you will be taken to the page where the idea originated, or at least to the place where I found it. I look forward to watching what you do for the coming year. Sounds like you are on the cusp of some very positive changes! Best wishes for success. 🙂

        1. Same to you suitablefish. I am excited about the challenges and look forward to following others who have chosen to participate. Blessings to you for a wonderful new year.

    1. Peace to you, too, Kathy. You are truly a blessing to us in the blogging world. I look forward to 2012 and to continued friendship, and blogging postings and comments.

      Happy New Year!

  4. Wow, you are such an inspiration! I will look forward to reading your posts about them…I will read more about the first one and maybe, just maybe… I can join you in that challenge 🙂

    BTW, I nominated you in the Candle Lighter Award because I love, love your blog!


    1. Thank you sooooo much. I am honored and humbled by your kind gesture. Hopefully you will join with me in one or more of the challenges. The River of Stones is for one month so that may not be as daunting as the other two. I hope to see you there, and once again, thank you for the honor of the Candle Lighter Award. Glad you like my blog.

  5. Great challenges: the River of Stones is a sublime exercise to read as well as write: watching another person find the small wonders in their life is always a privilege. All the best in 2012! I look forward to reading your blog!

  6. Great post. I ran across the river of stones today and am thinking about it. have already signed up for the No Comfort Zone challenge and also the Eclectic Reader. All part of stretching and moving into new spaces. Also, I think, a way to keep blogging fresh and to meet other creative souls out there.
    walk in beauty.

    1. Thanks Crowing Crone Joss. I considered the Eclectic Reader, but with grad school I knew that was one I would not be able to do. The three I chose can be intertwined so as not to be too overwhelming (I hope.) I do agree that these challenges help us keep blogging fresh and are a wonderful way to meet other creative souls. Have a wonderful new year filled with blessings and contentment.

  7. I wish you much luck and stamina Cecelia (especially when school starts back up)! But, if anyone can succeed, it’s you. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Theresa. School doesn’t start back up for another week, so this next week ought to be good. After that I’ll play it day by day. The good thing is that these challenges don’t have to be done daily, or at least don’t require a daily post. Happy New Year to you, too. I’m looking forward to what the new year holds for each of us.

  8. Great post Cecelia. I have to think about this for a moment. Off the top of my head the River Stones sounds like a good one for my new video camera. I need to challenge myself to use it.;-)

  9. What inspiration that gives. I will check out all three, whilst very tempted I am not sure I will do all of them…. but which one not to do?? Mmmmmmmh, takes a little thinking. Wishing you and your family a very happy 2012.

    1. Thanks Ronnie. I thought the three challenges would work well together, as in taking one thing each day and seeking the creative, boundary defying, noticing aspects and writing a short reflection. Hope I’m right, that I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew. We’ll see.

  10. I’m going to do the river of stones challenge too. I’m hoping it will help me pare down my thoughts and words. And photographs.

    Good luck with your challenges. Happy New Year! 🙂

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