February Triple Challenge

A new month is upon us (finally? already? It feels like it’s been January forever, but I’m still writing the date wrong…). It’s time to update you on my One Thousand Things challenge and let you know what I’m up to in February.

As you may remember, my challenge for January was to sell, toss, or donate (appropriately) one thousand physical things (not including actual trash). I’ve done a hundred things in a weekend before, and I wanted to really challenge myself. I went through my wardrobe on a snow day. I finally cleaned out the medicine cabinet. I went through a lot of stuff, and I’m still only at 250ish. On the downside, I started my “Year of Challenge” with a fail. On the upside, I really got into the spirit of this challenge. What’s not reflected in that 250 is that I also cleaned out digital clutter from my inbox and phone. I unsubscribed from a number of things. I finished books I’d been picking at. I didn’t hit my goal, but I did buy in to the purge mentality. So I’ve decided to keep that challenge going through February. I haven’t even touched the crawl space, and I have some things laying around that I’ve been meaning to sell online. There’s clutter in my garage and shed, too, but those will have to wait until all this snow melts…

In addition to continuing my quest for one thousand things, I have taken on a triple challenge for February. A group of my friends has decided to listen to Transformation Church’s Crazy Faith sermon series. There are twenty-one sermons in the series, each about an hour long. My goal is to finish watching/listening to the entire run by the end of the month. I’ve only listened to the first two so far, but I’m loving them already.

My second February challenge came out of one of the sermons I already listened to. In part two, “Baby Faith,” Michael Todd challenges his listeners to spend fifteen minutes a day reading the Bible. I’m ashamed to say that this is something I’m not very good at. I mean, I’ve read the whole Bible, but actually sitting down every. single. day in an intentional time of study is something I’ve gotten away from. During the month of February I will spend fifteen minutes a day, distraction-free, reading the Bible.

My third February challenge isn’t spiritual or physical, it’s environmental and intentional. During the month of February I will not use a single plastic shopping bag. Remember years ago there used to be an ad campaign that said Plastic Makes it Possible? I remember being excited about things packaged in plastic instead of glass. Plastic seals tight, and it doesn’t break (at least not easily). Plastic seemed like a perfect solution. But as time has passed we’re learning more and more about the recycleability (or lack thereof) of plastics, the garbage floating in our oceans, and the harmful chemicals given off by plastics.

This is one of those times in life when I start to feel guilty for the years of waste I’ve contributed. But as I’m always telling my readers, guilt doesn’t help. When you know better, do better. So I’m trying to do better. I switched to bamboo toothbrushes. I bought reusable baggies for storing dry items. I recycle plastics that I can. But there’s still a lot more I could be doing.

The biggest things that get in my way are unpreparedness and laziness. If I stop at the convenience store, or Target (Hello? Target? Why do you only offer plastic bags??), and I don’t have reusable bags with me, plastic is my only option. So for the month of February, I am committing to using no new plastic shopping bags. If I have old bags, I can reuse those or recycle them at a designated facility (you can’t toss them in your bin). I’ll dig out my reusable bags from the garage, clean them up (winter in Minnesota…), and keep them in my vehicle. If I forget, I go without a bag or find another way to make it work. No ifs, ands , or buts.

That’s what it comes down to with all these challenges, really. If I commit, no excuses, there’s a lot I can accomplish. Let’s see where February takes us!

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