2019: monthly challenges

sarah-dorweiler-357715-unsplashNew Years resolutions have never been a big thing for me. Committing to something for an entire year takes a lot of devotion and engagement, which I tend to lack. Instead, this year I will be doing monthly “challenges” to push myself to do and learn more, and in some cases just to push myself to do stuff that I have long been meaning to do but tend to forget when life comes along.

Having a monthly goal, or challenges as I choose to call it, is more sustainable since committing to 30 days of something gives a clearer horizon and you may not feel deprived in the same way since you can just “return to normal” if it’s not for you, without feeling like you failed. So just setting up reasonable goals that you can actually do. You might have heard about SMART goals. SMART goals is all about creating motivational and tangible goals that you can actually reach. SMART was first coined by George T. Duran in 1981 stands for:

S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

So by giving myself a clearer horizon by limiting the time to one month, it feels more attainable. I will also only focus on things that feel relevant to me and my journey, that are very specific for each month and that I will be able to see a result from.

Monthly challenges

January: Veganuary

This is a global challenge and yearly challenge from https://veganuary.com/ to inspire people to eat more vegan. All of January I will eat (or do my best to) eat vegan. To push myself to try something new, to try new recipes, ingredients and how to eat out.

February: Meditate daily

February is a dark month with bad weather, and if you live in the north it’s probably like four months since you saw the sun. So when the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) starts knocking on the door I will spend a month meditating daily. These past few months have been stressful for me and I have felt that my defence against stress is quite low. Hopefully with daily meditation I can improve this.

March: Digital detox 

For the month of March my focus will be on minimising my use of Internet, computers, tablets and phones. My only tech appliances that will not be on the decrease list are my e-reader and my camera. How much I will “detox” is unsure right now. Since Instagram is a big inspiration and I like to read interesting articles online I would not be able to do a full on detox, but I will be avoiding it as much as I feel is viable.

April: Shopping ban

This one is quite explanatory, I will not do any shopping for the entire month. Which of course excludes food, medications and hygiene stuff (I need to survive it!!). No new clothes, no new beauty products, no interior shopping, no unnecessary stuff I can live without.

May: 30-day yoga

I will do a 30-day yoga challenge to really feel the benefits of the practice and stretch out my body. I have done yoga on and off for almost 10 years and even though I love it during and after, I never seem to get into a routine that sticks, so this month I will challenge myself to stick to it and hopefully feel better both physically and mentally.

June: Capsule challenge

For the month of June I will commit to a capsule closet. I have yet to decide the number of items to be used but somewhere between 20-30 is where I am aiming. This years mini capsule challenge felt slightly too constricting for me, so I want to give a bigger and longer capsule a shot.

July: Plastic-free July

Plastic-free July is a quite well known challenge by now, which means that for all of July, the goal is to not consume any plastics. This means no plastic single use items like take away bowls or plastic cutlery. This feels like a tough challenge for me right now, but my hope is that it will teach me more about the low impact living.

August: Reading challenge

One of my goals this year is to read more and for this I purpose I will do a book club for myself, but I will also assign one month of the year for reading even more. When I was a teenager I would read several books a week, but when I started university and had to read large amounts of course literature, I lost the appetite for reading for fun. I want to find the fun in reading again and this is what I am hoping to achieve during this month.

September: Self care September

During September I will focus on taking better care of myself and doing stuff I enjoy. Since fall tends to be very dark and gloomy where I come from it feels like the perfect start to the darker times.

October: Slow-Fashion October

For October I will be challenging myself to be more circular when it comes to my closet. I will be mending broken clothes, tailoring bad fitting ones, upcycle that which is no longer my style or simply make new items. A personal goal for the year is to get better at sewing, so this challenge caters mostly to this. By using what we have better and not wasting fabric is good for the environment and my own economy, as I will feel less a need to buy new.

November: Food challenge

For this month the challenge will be to explore new foods. New recipes, new ingredients, new cooking techniques etc. The goal is to compile 25 new recipes to try out during the month, both breakfast, snacks and dinners.

December: Creativity challenge

When I was a child I was constantly drawing, cutting and pasting. I had subscription boxes for what we in Sweden call “pyssel” which is a somewhat broad word for doing any kind of creative hand-work. During December I want to get creative again, just like when I was a child. Maybe I won’t be gluing beads on a picture frame, but more knitting pot holders, painting, colouring and maybe practice my calligraphy.

Closet goals for 2019

celia-michon-115006-unsplashFor 2019 I have decided to put up some goals for my closet and shopping. Even though I gave up reading fashion magazines in my late teens, my shopaholic behaviours have stayed. I try to be more mindful of what I consume, but when life gets a bit though I tend to turn to shopping, a habit I am trying hard to break. So this year I am putting up some closet goals for myself.

Using what I have

For the time being I am not fully ready for a capsule or complete minimalism. I tried the 10×10 capsule challenge earlier this fall and I did not really enjoy it that much, however I might try a bigger capsule for a longer time during the year. I am planning on using as many parts of my closet as possible (I started keeping track of what I am wearing about 8 months ago) and the ones that I do not use enough, I will be selling or giving to friends.

Responsible shopping

Regarding shopping, I will be buying maximum 12 things in the year, so corresponding to 1 thing per month of the year. To some this might seem like an insane amount, while to others it’s nothing. For me this is a quite small number and I am trying to minimise my shopping over time, since going cold turkey hasn’t worked too well for me in the past. For these 12 purchases I will not be including underwear/basics, accessories or activewear/sleepwear. However, I will keep those to minimal. No going crazy just because I don’t count them.

Further, I will continue to prioritise quality, longevity, natural materials and that they are second hand or sustainably made when possible. I will do my best to avoid spontaneous shopping and instead plan my needs. I am already working on a shopping list for the coming year, since I need to save up for some of the garments. Another important thing is that I will ONLY buy stuff I love. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no!

Questions for shopping

When shopping I will keep some questions in mind to make sure I make sensible purchases.

Does it fit my closet?

The garments should fit with my closet – I should be able to create at least 3 possible outfit combinations with things I already own. No thinking that “this would look great if I only had that”…

Will I wear it at least 30 times?

Have you heard about #30wears? It is encouraging people to wear their clothes for longer. A big portion of the fashion impact comes from the actual use of the garments and by using what we own for longer we can increase the garments impact.

Is this worth the price?

Will the future CPU (cost per use) be low enough to motivate the purchase? If you want to have a CPU of let’s say 2€ then you would have to wear a 200€ coat at least a 100 times for it to be worth the purchase. For this reason I tend to only invest in more expensive garment that I know I will be using for a longer time, like coats, bags and shoes.

Personal development

My last closet goal for 2019 is that I want to learn more about sewing and making my own clothing. In Sweden you have basic sewing classes for 3-6 years in middle school and even though I have made both my own dresses and knitted mittens and embroidered table cloths, I am not near the level I would want to be!

I come from a crafty family and both my mom and my grandma used to sew, knit and crochet everything when they were young and couldn’t afford to buy new. My hopes with this goal is that I will be able to make most of my own clothes, so that I can be in charge of materials and cut and so I can get more tailored items that will not need to be taken in or hemmed.

Do you have any closet goals for 2019? Or are you just going with the flow?

The first step towards a more sustainable closet: detoxing your shopping habits


Open book on a table
Ready to switch shopping for another hobby? Maybe learn a language?

Having a sustainable closet is not only about the actual clothes and the materials they are made with, it’s equally about the spending habits and behavior surrounding the purchasing of the products. Continuing with the spending habits and buying new clothing each and every week, but doing so ethically, is like running to lose weight while still overeating junk food, slightly better, but won’t make a big of a difference.

So what can you do when you have no clue about what to do to minimize the impact of you shopping or closet habits?

Stop going to stores

Removing yourself from any situation where shopping is on the table is the easiest way of stopping the spending habit. Just like an alcoholic doesn’t go to a bar on his first week sober, the shopaholic shouldn’t go to a store. Avoid all places where you can shop, this means both physical and online stores. So try avoiding the mall, shopping runs with friends and casually surfing net-a-porter or Asos. In addition, unsubscribe from newsletters from brands and online stores that drive you to buy more.

Find a hobby to fill your life with

A lot of people see shopping as a hobby or a fun activity to do with friends and family (or alone). No matter if you see shopping as a social activity or not, if you want a sustainable shopping habit you need to stop seeing it as a hobby. Find something more rewarding and worthwhile to do with your free time. Learn a new skill or language, get creative and paint, sing or take a pottery class, start a sport or just spend more quality time with your loved ones. The lack of shopping will not be as noticeable when you have other activities to fill your schedule with.

Give yourself something to look forward to

If you have a hard time motivating yourself, try giving yourself a reward you can look forward to. Maybe you have been wanting to go on a trip or to buy a really nice, expensive bag. Use that as a way of motivating yourself. Set a goal that after 3 months or 6 months you can buy/do that which you would like, if you manage to avoid shopping mindlessly. By staying away from your unhealthy shopping habit, you will also be able to save some money that can go towards that reward.

Avoid impulse shopping

If you find something you feel like you really need (or even really really want), wait for a few weeks or a few days depending on the price and item. Most of the time it is just a want that passes quite fast. Always let the decision rest for a while to make sure it’s just not a passing feeling or you are shopping to feel better or because you are bored.

Try a shopping ban

Quitting cold turkey is one of the most effective ways of ending addiction. Same goes with shopping. If you feel you have a real problem with shopping, you probably have to give it up completely for a while until you can handle it again. Try a shopping ban for 3 months, 6 months or even a year. If that is too much 1 month is better than nothing, but it is about challenging yourself, a shopping ban is not easy for someone who likes shopping. Just make sure you have your rules set out before, what is allowed and what is not.

Don’t do it all at once

Don’t get rid of all you stuff to replace it with sustainable or ethical alternatives. Buying new is never sustainable and this is not a haul for your YouTube, this is a life change, let time do the work. When your white t-shirt is no longer white enough for you to comfortably wear it, repurpose or recycle and then replace with one in organic cotton or Tencel, if you jeans tear, try to see if there is any way you (or anyone else) can fix them and if not, go for a new pair of sustainable or second hand denims. So take it easy and use that which is already in your possession and make the most of it. Realize that you are enough and you don’t need to follow the latest trends to enjoy life and to be liked.

Quitting something that is so addictive and ingrained in our culture is not easy. If you follow the tips it will be slightly easier though. You might actually realize after a while that you do not miss it that much or at least that you are okay without it. Life really is about more than the material stuff, maybe you will notice.