December is officially upon us. The last month of 2017 – where does the time go! At this time of year, when the countdown begins, many of us start ‘officially’ celebrating Christmas and getting involved in all of the festivities. Even though I did start watching Christmas films and eating all the food in November *hides empty chocolate wrapper*. For some of us (myself included), the end of the year can also send a little wave of panic relating to how much – or how little – we have managed to learn and achieve in the last 11 months.
While I highly recommend writing down the many wonderful things you have accomplished so far (it is always more than you think) it is still not too late to learn something new. I think December is a great time to add an extra skill or accomplishment to your list as it not only makes a typically lethargic month more productive, but it can also help to send you into the new year feeling happier and more accomplished.
There is no time like the present, so why not kick off your resolutions now and head into 2018 with a bang (and a maybe even a new hobby!)
It is the first day in December. That means there are another 30 days in which to tick something off your list. That is a whopping 720 hours! Now even if you manage to get 8 hours sleep a night, work full time, have an hour for each meal and do an hour of exercise a day, you are still looking at roughly 200 hours of free time. That is a lot of hours! It is up to you to choose what you will do with them. I have put together a few things that can be realistically accomplished in this time – probably much less in fact – so without further ado, you could…
Start a 30 day Yoga Practice
I did this once back in January this year and I loved it. I have been toing and froing with yoga though ever since I picked up more cardio based exercises like Netball and Running. However, I am feeling that another 30-day yoga challenge is calling my name. Especially to help combat the Christmas bloat and increase flexibility to prevent injury. Prevention is the best cure after all!
I would (as per usual) recommend one of Adrienne’s playlists, but if you have your own favourites, you can even create a little challenge for yourself with practices you already know and love.
Time: approx 30 hrs
- Yoga with Adriene- Revolution 30 Days of Yoga
Take a short course in something you find interesting
This one is a little vague, but it has to be really as everyone is different. It is so important to always be learning something new and taking short online courses is an amazing way to do this. Next time you find yourself staring at the tv for too long or you have a couple of hours to spare, take a browse through the varied courses the internet has to offer.
I finally learnt how to use Adobe Indesign and Illustrator in November. A skill I have wanted to achieve for years. The most annoying thing about it is that I didn’t try sooner. It has literally only taken 2 weeks of an hour or so at a time to get a good grasp on how to use both programs. Skills I am already using in both my web design work and for my blog!
Another course I am looking forward to doing, on a much more hobby based level is a drawing course I signed up for on Udemy.
Maybe you are interested in photography, marketing or you just want to browse until you find something, either way, I would certainly give it a go. My favourite places to find courses are youtube (free) skillshare (first 2 months free with this referral link) and udemy (some free, lots of £10 sales).
Time: 2-20 hrs (depending on course)
Improve your photography skills and learn how to use manual mode
As with the previous point, photography is a great skill to have. So many people now have cameras that allow you to use some kind of manual controls. The percentage of people that actually learn how to use their ‘fancy’ camera properly though is very small. Understanding what all the settings are and how to get the most out of the tools you have, will up your photography game and make your money go further!
Time: 20 hrs
Learn some basic coding skills
This is more of a recommendation. It is one of the most highly sought after skills at the moment, so whether you want to expand your horizons at work, or you just need to tweak your personal website, a little will go a long way!
Time: 5 hrs
Learn to sew and fix clothes
If you are really not feeling anything that involves staring at a screen or you just want to do something a little more tactile, why not learn to sew? So few people know how to make simple mends to their clothing. Even sewing on a button can save you both money and a trip to the seamstress. Fix up the clothes that have been lying at the back of your wardrobe all year and you will not only have more to wear, but start to appreciate your hard earned belongings more too.
Time: 3 hours (to get the hang of it)
Learn how to be polite in another language
Now you can pretty much learn whatever you want to say when it comes to learning a new language. However, I feel ‘learning to be polite’ is a reasonable, but also not a too overwhelming task. Simple things such as;
Hello/Goodbye/Please/Thank you/How are you?/What is your name? etc.
By the end of December, you will know a few basic phrases for your next holiday or work trip. Making an effort to speak the local language when on holiday is not only a friendly and respectful thing to do, it can also make the individuals you are talking to, more willing to be accommodating and helpful. Which is never a bad thing!
Time: 30 hours (1hr a day)
Learn how to do basic car fixes
Now I have been driving for 3 years and I am super guilty of relying on the local garage (and my Dad) to help me sort anything out that needs fixing. Although it makes life easier and means you don’t have to think about it, it is also pretty lazy and could lead to some tough situations if you are alone.
Learning the basics is not only incredibly useful, and will help if you ever find yourself stranded on a road, with a flat tire, it is also empowering and will save you money. You don’t have to rely on anyone to do it for you!
At the very least, learn how to:
Pump up tires/change tires/check tire pressure.
Change water/oil/screen wash.
Learn what all the warning lights mean and what to do about them.
So stop putting it off any longer and get the person you would normally ask to ‘do’, to teach you how instead. Bonus family/friend/partner bonding time – it is Christmas time after all!
Time: 1 hr (if you concentrate!)
- Friends, family or the internet!
Take a first aid course
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but also very important. Most workplaces offer some kind of first aid training, so if yours does, take them up on it. If not, the courses themselves are not that expensive. Just having the confidence of basic first aid training, even if you (hopefully) never have to use it, could one day really help out someone you love or even a total stranger. It’s an invaluable skill to have and really not that hard once you get past the hurdle of booking onto a course. A few hours that could quite literally save a life.
Time: 4 hour (half day course)
Learn to play one song using an instrument
Depending on your musical capabilities this may sound really fun and easy, or incredibly daunting. For me, it’s the latter. However, I am determined to learn at least something on the guitar by the end of the year. Even if it’s only 3 blind mice – you have to start somewhere!
There are so many apps and tools available these days to help you learn. Fit in half an hour a day until the end of December, and you will really start to see progress. I am currently using the free version of Yousician, which is great. It does limit you to around 30 mins every 24hrs but as that is the goal anyway, it works out well!
Time: 15hr (30mins/day)
Learn how to cook 4 new healthy dinners (once a week)
This is a valuable skill to have at any time of the year. If you – like so many of us – are planning on looking after your body a little better in the new year, then why not start now? Even if you still plan on fully indulging over the festive season, a bit of prep now will mean you have 4 recipes to fall back on. When you want to whip up something healthy in the new year, you won’t have to think too hard about it in the post-Christmas fog. Always planning ahead!
Time: 8 hrs
(My favourite healthy recipe books)
- Jamie Oliver – Super Food Family Classics
- Zanna Van Dijk – STRONG
- Ella Mills – Deliciously Ella
- Mary Berry – Complete Cookbook: Over 650 recipes (We still have the 1995 version!)
Learn how to utilise Google analytics
Wrap your head around statistics and analytics so you can actively use them to build your blog or business website. If you are into blogging and have an active interest in blog traffic, best times to post, most popular topics etc. then it is a really good idea to properly get to grips with google analytics. Beyond just knowing how many people are visiting and what the bounce rate is. Now many of you might not find this remotely interesting and that is totally cool. This is definitely something I want to learn though as it can really help when planning out content for your site that will be useful and interesting to those reading!
Time: 5 hrs
Practice your calligraphy
I feel like this has become a bit of a trendy thing recently, but what better way to spend a cosy winter evening, than creating some beautiful calligraphy. A little practice every day will go a long way. It is really therapeutic and satisfying to know that you are helping to breathe life into an old art form. You’ll be writing beautiful handwritten thank you letters by the time the new year rolls around.
Time: 15 hrs (30mins/day)
Every time someone mentions something you don’t actually know/understand question it! We have a tendency to nod and switch off for fear of looking stupid. Question things and you will learn more and enjoy the conversation. It is something I am really going to try this year. If you really feel uncomfortable asking questions, actively remember to research it when you get a chance. The same goes for complicated words in books you are reading. If you listen, learn and expand your vocabulary and knowledge you will be a more interesting person as a result.
Phew! That was a lot of information to write down.
It is possible to do every single one of these things, by committing to an hour or two a day of your 200 hours. Maybe a whole weekend day here and there. Either way, the entire lot only adds up to roughly 156 hours. That leaves you with another 50 to play with, plus 12 new skills to add to your year of achievements.
Now I know this is only an estimate. Everyone has wildly different schedules, free time and responsibilities.
Hopefully, though, this has given you an idea of just how much you could get done by the end of the year. A little motivation to start something, even if it’s just the one. It will have you feeling powerful, motivated and ready to tackle anything the New Year throws at you!
Let me know if you decide to take up any of these learning challenges, or maybe you have a December project of your own? I would love to hear all about it, we can all motivate one another!
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