1. How did you start 12 Months of Lent? What inspired the idea?
It was December of 2008 and I was coming off a really discouraging year. Call it a quarter-life crisis (it was indeed the year of my 25th birthday), but at the time I was feeling really letdown and like I wasn’t making any notable progress on my goals. After furiously writing down too many New Year’s Resolutions, I was totally overwhelmed—how could I expect to get anything done with such an intimidating list? And then I had an epiphany: Why not create a hybrid between a New Year’s Resolution and the concept of Lent: one goal at a time, one month at a time, for a whole year. And just like that, a blog was born.
2. How long did you do it for?
6 years. Crazy, right?
3. How did you decide what to do each month?
The first year (2009) I planned out each month in advance, but I found that it was more effective for me to figure out each challenge month by month. Sometimes a fun idea would just come to me, or a friend would suggest something cool, but generally I’d just have a feeling about what I wanted/needed to do. If I was spending too much money I’d do a budget challenge, if I was eating terribly I’d make it something diet related, and etc.
4. What was your favorite challenge?
I absolutely loved, “Tuesdays With Grammy” where I spent 2 months sitting with my grandmother (who was 92 at the time, she’s since passed on and I cannot express how grateful I am that I did this project with her), recording our family history. I also really enjoyed “Sixing” where I limited my wardrobe to only 6 articles of clothing (yep, seriously), and “100 Things”, where I got rid of (by means of donating, recycling, or just tossing) 100 possessions each week for the entire month. But really, there was always something that I enjoyed about each challenge.
5. The hardest one?
The diet-related ones were always the toughest, but any challenge where I had to restrict something was difficult. That’s why I had to switch it up and do fun things like movie challenges and summer bucket lists sometimes. The point wasn’t always to be extreme—sometimes it was just the opposite that I needed.