It’s often difficult to find happiness within ourselves and we can get stuck easily in a rigid cycle that feels unsatisfying. Looking for a daily challenge that allows you to practice mindfulness, reflection, self-compassion and helps you strengthen your relationships? February is the month of health and love, so what a better month to focus on both? Everyday in February, refer to this daily challenge by fulfilling the daily task full-heartedly. Grab a notebook or journal, share with your partner and friends, and enjoy the daily challenge of building self-awareness.
Sunday, February 1st: Sunday is a day bombarded by chores and sports games. Today, take a moment to reflect on the people around you and send someone in your life whom you value, appreciate and admire a card simply expressing that.
Monday, February 2nd: It’s Monday… again. Our society is constantly on the go and most of us can relate to the annoying traffic. While in the car today, listen to soft music (or none) and practice deep breathing in and out for 5 seconds at a time. Be present with your breath and make note of how your body feels when it’s reached a level of calmness.
Tuesday, February 3rd: We often forget to feel gratitude for the life we live and the abilities we have. Today, practice gratitude by writing a list of all the things you can come up with when answering, “I’m glad I am not _____________.” Then reflect on how you feel.
Wednesday, February 4th: We all carry resentment from time to time. Some of us let it cause distress in our lives, while others sweep it under the rug. Regardless of how we carry resentment, today’s focus is on letting go. Write a letter to the people/person you resent while accepting the feelings that come up for you. Then ask yourself, “What does carrying this resentment do for me? How is it negatively impacting my life?”
Thursday, February 5th: Finding happiness within yourself and living a “happy life” is all about balance. We often neglect our needs and our priorities can become artificial. Today, focus on 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of a healthy, fulfilling and enjoyable YOU time. Ask yourself “what do I need?” and utilize the 8 hours for yourself to be present while doing something fulfilling. Practice enjoying the pure freedom of “you” time.
Friday, February 6th: Simple enough, go the entire day without watching television. Be mindful of your surroundings and engage with others around you. Take note of how this feels.
Saturday, February 7th: The weekends are supposed to be for relaxing and fun. Today, make time to do something that involves taking care of you. Drink calming tea, take a bath, go for a jog, hang out with a close friend… Today is for you to find authentic enjoyment and happiness within yourself.
Sunday, February 8th: As adults, we often neglect our childish side that is embedded in all of us. Today, be silly and goofy… Laugh a lot. Make note of how this feels for you and be aware of how you can incorporate fun in your everyday life.
Monday, February 9th: Today is meant for accepting you and all of your uniqueness. Do not compare yourself to anyone, anything, or even “who you used to be.” When you find yourself having those thoughts, immediately write them down, allow yourself to feel and then discard them. Practice finding the things about yourself that make you unique.
Tuesday, February 10th: Today is about kindness. Practice being kind by your actions today and give a co-worker or neighbor a genuine compliment. Take note of how you felt doing it.
Wednesday, February 11th: Today is about challenging your ego. Many of us aren’t comfortable with leaning on others in fears of being weak…. So today, ask someone for help and embrace the support.
Thursday, February 12th: As humans, we often avoid challenges and discomfort which ultimately hinders our personal growth. Do something today that makes you feel uncomfortable. Take note of what this was, why you were afraid of doing it before, and reflect on how it felt.
Friday, February 13th: Regardless of the kind of day we are experiencing, we often forget to reassure ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s easier to consume our thoughts with negativity and discouragement, which only denies us of growing stronger. Today, focus on self-love and support. Write yourself an encouraging letter and read it whenever you need reassurance. Take note of how you feel doing this and if you feel happiness within yourself as a result.
Saturday, February 14th: Whether you are in a relationship or single, smile often today. Smile to everyone, and more importantly, smile even when you are alone. Find the love within yourself and allow it to shine through.
Sunday, February 15th: We often find pleasure from spending money on ourselves. Today, focus on treating yourself… but without spending a dime. How does this feel? Reflect on your relationship with material items and how you may use shopping for alternative purposes.
Monday, February 16th: Let’s face it, we always have our phone within arm’s reach. Today, remove your phone out of sight all day during leisure hours. Make it a goal to engage with others around you and be conscious of how dependent you may have become on having your phone handy.
Tuesday, February 17th: We neglect our bodies everyday. Stress, bad posture, over working, etc… In order to practice purifying our bodies, drink nothing but water today. Take note of how you feel physically.
Wednesday, February 18th: If in a relationship, take time today to express your gratitude and appreciation for your partner by simply asking them what they need after a long day.If it’s a back rub or a hug, extend genuine affection and be very attentive. If single, express gratitude and appreciation for your best friend by offering an attentive ear or support.
Thursday, February 19th: Practicing forgiveness is something we should all strive to do. Forgiveness doesn’t need to require making amends, but it does require letting go of resentments. As you have practiced forgiving others, today, focus on forgiving yourself for all the things you punish yourself for. This may require writing yourself a letter giving yourself permission to forgive your own mistakes. Let it go and take note of how this feels for you.
Friday, February 20th: Today is about perspective. Before you start planning your weekend, write down the things you want to do. Example, “go shopping for a new bedroom set, take parents to dinner, go out with friends, dwell over a terrible week with a bucket of ice cream, etc.” Then identify which of these things bring you “happiness” vs what things give you “pleasure.” Reflect on how this awareness may change your goals for the weekend and make note of how asking yourself this question can often be powerful at times of impulsivity.
Saturday, February 21st: We often get stuck in routines or rigid cycles of discomfort, especially in our relationships. Today, reflect on you and your own needs, and write a list of things that would be helpful for you to have in relationships. What makes you feel loved, what makes you feel supported and how do you ask for these things from loved ones? Then, check in with yourself and reflect on your own behavior. Is how you ask for your needs to be met consistent with what you need? How can you be better at communicating your needs so they can be better met?
Sunday, February 22nd: Most of us are guilty for checking social media daily, (if not multiple times a day). Today, don’t look at social media once and escape from the rigid pattern of relying on it. Take note of how you feel.
Monday, February 23rd: We have all been inspired by someone and chances are, we may not have told them. Today, think about that person (or people) who have inspired you and write them a letter expressing that. Take note of how you feel after sending it.
Tuesday, February 24th: Nutrition is such an important part of our mental health. Today, cook every meal from scratch, incorporating leafy veggies, fruits and lentils/beans. Be very aware of how your body feels and energy level.
Wednesday, February 25: Today, focus on your soul and spirit. Tap into your spirituality in any way you feel comfortable. If spirituality is new to you, write down some of your ambivalence, curiosities and desires of deepening your spirituality as a whole. Reflect on how that makes you feel.
Thursday, February 26th: Focus today on self reflection. What events in your life contributed to who you are today? Draw a timeline that starts from birth to present day. Highlight all the events (positive or negative) that have made an impact on you and reflect on how this exercise may have helped you connect the dots to some of your behaviors or patterns in present life.
Friday, February 27th: Think of the things you do in excess and write them down. Example: work, stress, drink coffee, eat sweets, etc. Draw a line through all of the things you feel you could do without, draw a star next to all of things you could find more of a balance with. Brainstorm on ways you feel you could realistically do that for each one.
Saturday, February 28th: The purpose of this month’s challenge was to help you become more reflective, present and ultimately find happiness within yourself and your relationships. With the tools that you have learned about yourself through this month’s challenge, set your intention for the next month and follow it with everything you do.