Recently I’ve been feeling restless and so I’ve decided to do something about it. It’s time I leave my comfort zone. I’m turning 30 in July of 2015 and I want to start 30 as the best possible version of myself. To do that, I came up with #Project29. I’ve thought of 29 tasks, both big and small, mundane and exciting, that I want to accomplish in the remaining months before I’m 30.

To give a little bit of background, I would say that I took lots of leaps outside of my comfort zone between the ages of 22 and 26, but since then thing have feel pretty stabile.

The summer of my 22nd birthday meant lots of big and scary changes in my life. I’d just graduated college and for the first time in my life I wouldn’t be going back to school in August. That summer and into the fall I went through a mini-crisis as I tried to figure out who I was and what I was going to do with my life now that I didn’t have the comfort of school to keep me on track.



After struggling for a bit, I took a chance and decided to move back home to my parents. While the decision felt like a huge step backward, it really meant a step forward. Being at home meant I could take an internship at a local theatre and figure out my plans for grad school. Then I took a big risk and moved to Washington state to pursue my masters degree. When I was in Washington I discovered a love of British theatre that inspired me to travel by myself to London where I spent 10 days exploring the city and doing research for my thesis. In addition to the craziness of grad school and adjusting to life in Washington, I trained for a marathon that I ran with my sister in between my first and second year of grad school. And then finally, after my masters program I made the decision to give Tallahassee another shot and move back to Florida to do my PhD.

My mid-twenties were filled with life changes and leaps outside of my comfort zone. But since I’ve been back in Tallahassee, I haven’t really stepped that far outside of my comfort zone. Sure, a PhD program is challenging. I’ve pushed myself to submit to academic conferences and made advances with my teaching and scholarship. I’m definitely not discounting the hard work and mental strength it takes to be in a PhD program. And aside from grad school, I’ve had to figure out how to navigate lots of ups and downs when it comes to relationships, friendships, and family. Yet, as an individual I don’t feel like I’ve pushed myself enough in the past few years.

Now I’m going to change all that! Even just thinking about and planning this list, I’ve started to feel better. I have goals in mind and projects to work on. I’m back in motion and it feels great. The items I’ve selected are measurable tasks, allowing me to see actual progress or check them off my to-do list. Some of them are just life skills or habits that I’ve been wanting to incorporate into my life for a while. While others are things that scare me, which is why I know I want to do them — like swimming, completing a triathlon, backpacking, or even singing karaoke. I’m still solidifying the list and I’m definitely open to suggestions or input, but I do want it to be set by November 1st.



So without further ado…

The List:

Mental Balance

1. Establish a morning routine — No more haphazardly running out the door.
2. Establish a bedtime routine — Tea, reading before bed, and a normal bedtime.
3. Work on disconnecting more often. Less Facebook, less checking of my cellphone, less mindlessly surfing the internet.
4. Work on improving my communication with friends and family through regular phone calls and e-mails.
5. Add meditation into my life. Aim to meditate daily.
6. Make yoga a regular part of my life. Go two to three times a week.

Physical Balance

7. Get 10,000 steps a day.
8. Take up rock climbing/bouldering.
9. Complete a triathlon.
10. Swimming — get comfortable swimming laps and open swims.
11. Biking — get comfortable biking.
12. Running — get back into running. Maybe even train for a half marathon.
13. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
14. Break my sugar addiction by cutting out refined sugar.
15. Go on a multi-day hiking adventure.
16. Lose 29 pounds.

Intellectual Balance

17. Write daily — just 10 minutes a day of both personal and scholarly writing.

18. Read daily — read before bed and make sure I do at least 30 minutes a day of scholarly reading.

Financial Balance

19. Start budgeting.

20. Put $50 every paycheck into savings.

Life Balance

21. Learn to play the accordion — I would have said relearn the piano, but I don’t have the space for one and the accordion has a family connection.

22. Build a kitchen table and a flower box.

23. Learn to drive a stick shift.

24. Sing karaoke.

25. Watch 29 of the AFI’s greatest american movies of all time.

26. Move all my stuff from my parents house to my house and do a massive clothes/things purge.

27. Actively start planning my Asian/European backpacking adventure — make plans, save money, make it happen during 30.

28. Spend an hour a week cleaning the house to stay on top of things.

29. To be determined!

The Plan:

My goal is to tackle these a few at a time over the course of the next 9-10 months. I might do 30-day challenges for some of the things on the list, like meditating or reading and writing, since if I did those for 30 straight days it will help them become a habit. I’ve also started working on some item already, like the weight loss, swimming, and budgeting. I plan to update the blog on a weekly basis to track my progress or document the completion of certain goals. My mom also suggested that I set up a reward system for myself to keep me motivated. I’ve got ideas about possible rewards, such as acrylic nails, a new swimsuit, a massage, a stitch fix subscription, new books, etc. I haven’t figured out how/when to reward myself.

Other than that, I’m open to suggestions or ideas as I tweak the list and details. Regardless, I’m looking forward to celebrating the last few months of my twenties by preparing to start 30 off as the best possible version of myself.

So let the adventure begin!


6 Comments on #Project29

  1. LOOOOOOOOOOOVE this idea. So much. Not enough words to say how thrilled I am you’re doing something like.

    Can we talk more about the EuroAsia adventure??? I NEED DETAILS lol

    I’m doing a 30 day writing challenge in November (not actually NaNoWriMo, but figured since everyone is doing that I’d have some built in motivation). Going for a minimum of 500 words a day, every day, for 30 days. 30 day challenges are great ideas and SO hard. I admire you for doing them – and this WHOLE thing!!!!

  2. I’m glad you like it! I’m pretty pumped about the whole idea and I really hope I follow through with everything (or mostly everything). You’ll have to keep tabs on my progress and asking me how it’s going!

    Yes! Let’s talk about my adventure. I’ve been reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which is sort of a travel memoir. When I’m done with that I want to find some more travel memoirs to read, preferably by women and preferably about traveling in Europe or Asia.

    Maybe I’ll jump on the NaNoWriMo train and do my own version with personal and scholarly writing. I don’t think I’ll set a word minimum, but rather a time limit. I don’t write well under pressure and to help improve that I think writing without a specific agenda or an amount of words to reach will help me. I’ve found my ideas flow a lot more freely if I tell myself to write for X amount of minutes. šŸ™‚

    Do you have any suggestions or changes? Any ideas for number 29?

  3. Gotta say, I’m in favor of #26! Personal challenges are great motivators. Don’t forget to have fun along the way.

  4. I know I’m a little late getting into this, but I think this is a fabulous idea and I can’t wait to catch up on all your blogs! I wish I had thought to do something like this last year. šŸ™‚

    • Aww, thanks! I’m glad you like it. It’s never to late to start something like this! Make a list for 30 or 31. šŸ™‚

  5. Thank you for writing an amazingly inspiring post! I’m going to work on leaving my comfort zone too! Love your list of ways to become the best version if yourself and your picture! Good luck with your adventures! šŸ™‚

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