As always with a Jump Start month, the last few days are for evaluating the first four weeks of activities, then looking forward to what’s next. Let’s start by doing a roundup of Week 1 and Week 2, and see how we all got on.
How was it for you this time around? Here’s a quick reminder of what we got up to during Week One.
Week 1: Money-saving powerhouse week
Lots of quick wins to help you save serious amounts of money. Ways to take stock, set achievable goals, realign your priorities, slash those bills and break a few bad financial habits.
- Day 1: Start a spending diary
- Day 2: Shop around like a boss
- Day 3: Invest in something thrifty
- Day 4: Make a budget
- Day 5: Debts / savings day
- Day 6: Lists and priorities
- Day 7: Looking for leaks
How did you get on? Here’s my experience of how the first seven days went.
I had a very thrifty week, and found it really useful to get back to basics before going back to work. Sometimes it’s really good to use a quiet moment to take stock of things and make some plans for the year.
Apart from basic groceries, I hardly bought anything during January. This might have been due to starting a spending diary on Day 1 – even though I hadn’t set out to cut right back I think the simple act of monitoring my spending had a subconscious effect.
I did, however, ‘invest in something thrifty’ on Day 3. I bought a sturdy but nice looking water bottle in the sale at Amazon and have been using it ever since. While I’m not going to evangelise about drinking lots and lots of water, it’s definitely making it easier and more convenient to drink a decent amount, and it’s spill-proof so I don’t mind keeping it around at work.
The other thing that made a big difference to me was ‘looking for leaks’ on Day 7, where I spotted I was being overcharged by a web hosting company (I shall now be taking my custom elsewhere for that particular project) and that a free trial I’d cancelled had run on into a paid subscription for a service I know I’ll never use. Consumer power flexed, money saved, job done.
Did you have a particular activity during Week One that turned out to be an eye-opener?
Now, on to the second week…
Week 2: Happiness boosters week
Proven techniques for boosting long term and short term happiness, and creating a sense of comfort and wellbeing. No mumbo jumbo, just tried and tested activities to make life more enjoyable and fulfilling.
- Day 1: Make the most of daylight
- Day 2: Grateful habits (start a gratitude diary)
- Day 3: Yes to… inspiring imagery (make a mini mood board)
- Day 4: Take a worry dump
- Day 5: Challenge yourself
- Day 6: Have a good laugh
- Day 7: Something bigger than ourselves
Did you try any of these activities out?
I gave all of them a go, and had a really enjoyable week. There’s nothing better for getting rid of the January blues than having something different to try every day, it stops you getting into a slump. It also helped that everything was free or very cheap, so there was no worrying about wasting money either.
Day 4, taking a ‘worry dump’, turned out to be kind of hilarious. I scribbled away giving free rein to my worries, and when I read back over it afterwards it was so exaggerated that there were plenty of LOLz. Most of what we worry about never comes to pass, and there’s insurance and other mitigating factors for the rest – which is the bit that you *do* have to take seriously, but that’s easy enough to sort out.
The ‘challenge yourself’ day was useful. I decided to learn some new work skills and they’ve turned out to be super effective, to the point where I’m feeling fired up about work all over again. It’s good to keep trying new things, you can always surprise yourself.
And finally, I found the ‘Something bigger than ourselves’ day especially powerful. There’s never been a more important time to examine our personal values, take a stand and get active in the wider world around us. It really got me thinking about principles, and what matters, and making a difference.
Did you try any of the Jump Start January activities from Week 1 or Week 2? Let me know if you had any favourite ones.