Eight Reasons to Complete a Personal Challenge Project

Time-limited personal challenge projects and resolutions pop up everywhere. Buy nothing day! No internet for a month or even a year! Write a novel in a month! Or the original – give up something for Lent! Are projects like these gimmicky and pointless? Or are they worthwhile?

In two weeks, I’m going to be participating in a gimmicky challenge myself – National Novel Writing Month. I will join 250,000 writers across the world in an attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November, or about 1667 words a day. This will be my third time participating.

Gimmicky? Yes. The word count goal they’ve established is a bit “out of a hat”. But…it seems to work.

I’ve found that participating in a time-sensitive challenge has a lot of benefits:

  1. Helps build new habits – in my case, daily writing
  2. Establishes a deadline and concrete goals
  3. Gives you the support of other participants, if you’re doing a group challenge
  4. Feels achievable due to the limited timeframe
  5. Lets you try out a ‘different life’
  6. Provides a structure that’s easy to talk about and easy for people to understand
  7. Sets up a mental framework that the project is a fun adventure
  8. Helps you achieve a hard goal or complete a large amount of work

Of course, you get out of a challenge project only what you put into it. It only works if you take your goal and your timeline seriously and stick to it.

What challenge projects have you tried, and how did they work for you? What challenge project are you interested in?

Group Activity Inspiration: Connecting Art and Place

Art created at a Cabin Time retreat. Image from Cabin Time website.

Beyond individually creating art connected to our wild homes, we can work as a group to enhance our understanding of place. Draw inspiration for activities connecting art and place from other groups across the U.S.

  • The group Cabin Time runs a roaming creative residency, with artists spending a week in a remote location making art inspired by the natural area
  • Artists recently sailed up the British Columbia coast creating artwork inspired by that area, which will be compiled into a book encouraging conservation of British Columbia’s Raincoast
  • The organization Elastic City stages “Island Night”, walks of small groups that combine philosophical discussion, poetry, and nature
  • In the Seattle area, the group The Long Walk leads an annual four day walk from Seattle up into the Cascades incorporating local performers, chefs, and activists