Advent challenges | How I intend to build discipline this festive period

December is my second favourite month of the year, after October. I love the festive spirit, the laid back work vibes, as well as the tons of christmas parties, drinks and what not that are scheduled. All of this stuff usually has an impact, on waistlines and wallets.  Last year I took part in my first Advent running challenge – the premise is based on the Advent calendar with an aim to run everyday for the 25 days from December 1st till Christmas day.

runners

How did Advent running change my December?

For the first time in my post undergraduate life, my New Year’s resolutions (2016) did not include getting fit or losing weight. I had the best month of 2015 in terms of losing weight, improving general fitness and conditioning. With the stretching + Pilates + strength training I was doing to limit my susceptibility to injury, I also managed to improve my balance and flexibility too. I can’t remember how much weight I lost now but I was noticeably leaner.

It wasn’t just the changes in the physical. I also had an incredible mental boost. The preceding October and November were the two most depressing months of my life. I was stressed at work, drowning in debt, struggling with my relationship and just in a bad place emotionally and mentally. By the end of December, I’d started delivering the best work that I ever did in my previous job, had turned around some terrible work relationships and even snagged my current job. I’d run in the morning or night, come rain or shine, no matter what my mood or feelings were. It wasn’t a case of “am I going to run today, but how can I fit in my half hour run into my day?” In fact, I went for 2 interviews a 2 hour commute away and sandwiched a visit to the gym in between to ensure I completed my Advent run. I got the job that I interviewed for after my run. I’m not saying there’s a correlation. I’m just giving the facts.

For the first time in my adult life, I committed to doing something I absolutely hated (running) for a consistent amount of time. So, it was a no-brainer when I was packing for my work trip to Munich that I’d be taking my running shoes and popping out for my kick off run for this year’s challenge. I’ve already surprised myself. I thought I would need my tactic from last year, an easing in run + walk combo. However I jogged for the full 30 minutes. So I’ve got a different kind of challenge this year. Boost my 30 minute speed so that I get from my baseline 2.4 miles to 3.2 miles (or a 5k) by December 25th.

So what does running have to do with my financial situation?

I’m taking my Advent running challenge one step further this year. So, I love travel. I’m ecstatic about my first visit to Munich and grateful that my client is covering majority of the cost of the trip for me. Even though I [still] don’t love running, I certainly love the sense of achievement that comes from completing a run and knowing that I start the day on a calorie deficit. I love that I have tangible results in the form of lost pounds and inches from my body. And I’m going to merge all of these things together into a tangible financial target.

  • For every mile I run, I’m going to deposit the equivalent pounds and pence into my travel fund. So today, since I ran 2.4 miles, I’ll add £2.40 to my travel fund.
  • For every 0 digit mile I hit, I’ll add an additional £1 to the kitty. So when I get to 10 miles, I’ll add an extra pound. I’ll also do the same at 20, 30, 40, etc.
  • For every lb of weight I lose, I’ll add £1 to the kitty
  • For every 1/2 inch I lose off of any of my measurements (e.g. bust, hips, waist), I’ll also add another £1.

That’s it!

I know I haven’t shared my December budget yet but clearly, since I’m pretty competitive with myself, and will be aiming for as many miles, lost pounds + inches, it could be an expensive task. Here’s the catch though, I’m going to have to find the savings either by cutting my spending or generating more income in January. I’ve absolutely got to do it though. I have a couple of trips I want to make next year and they certainly aren’t going to fund themselves.

What about you? How are you going to make this festive season kinder to your wallet or waistline?

One thought on “Advent challenges | How I intend to build discipline this festive period

  1. Pingback: 2017: the year of the saver | Diary of a reformed spendthrift

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