06 September 2014

Level Up Mini Challenge: Try Something New


For this latest Level-Up mini challenge, let's boost creativity and learning. The Back to School season is the ideal moment to pick up new activities, try something new, learn a skill, dabble in new horizons. Mainly because many activities start again in September, and some of them even offer trial sessions. Let's get out of this comfort zone of ours together.

The mini-challenge is very simple: it's about picking a new activity to start this September, based on your preferences, skills, going back to something you used to do and enjoy, or explore completely new horizons.

  • 1. Pick up one or several activities and topics you may be interested in learning more about/doing more.
  • 2. Ask Google: What is available in your area? Some activities (like Coursera MOOCs) are completely online so, as long as you have a computer and internet connection, you can register from wherever you want. Others may be associations, gyms, personal teachers...
  • 3. According to your budget and time, select a few things you'd like to at least give a shot to: trial lessons, open courses, a one-off price as a trial before registering for the year...
  • 4. After you have actually gone to or tried a couple of different things, select which one(s) you'd like to dedicate time (and money if not free) to
  • 5. Add it to your schedule and register! Congratulations, you've added a new skill learning or creative activity to your life.

Here are some ideas on where to start: online courses (Coursera for example), online lessons and webinars (most famous bloggers offer some of these), register to creative classes such as: painting, drawing, theatre, musical instrument or singing... Or register to sports classes such as combat sports, yoga, dancing... Or register to specific lessons like cooking, wine tasting, photography...

My own challenge: This September, I am renewing my violin lessons of course, but as new exploration I have been to a first Yoga lesson this week (which I loved and will become a weekly affair), and registered to the Coursera MOOC called "Creative Problem Solving", which promises to be very interesting to step out of my comfort zone and standard way of thinking - out of the Watson system and closer to the Holmes system, as Maria Konnikova would say in Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes.

What do you think about this Level-Up mini challenge de saison? Are you trying anything new this year? Any resolutions? I'd love to hear about your creative growth :)


  1. I just did my first ever weight lifting stint at the gym today. I've gotten my partner to agree to be my gym buddy, and together we're going to go through the Stronglifts 5x5 beginning lifters program (free here http://stronglifts.com/5x5/). I started playing roller derby last February and I'm definitely on the smaller side and have felt like my physical strength is limiting my ability to be a better derbier so I decided to add some lifting to my weekly activities so that my gains in strength can pool over into better gameplay skills in derby.

    I had known I wanted to start this program since the beginning of August, but you're right that there's something really empowering about trying something new in September. It just feels.. right. As if it really is a new beginning. I knew I would probably start and fail had I tried to do this in Aug given that my summer was crammed with activities, weddings and various obligations.. so starting in Sept seemed like putting a stronger foot forward. Anyways, I LOVED it and can't wait to get back to the gym on Monday!

    1. You do roller derby?! That's so badass!!

    2. Interesting, I might take a look at that lifter programme! I did some lifting at the beginning of the year at my gym, but between Body Pump and running sessions that was one habit too many and I didn't stick to it. However if I can manage my own program and do it whenever I want I might pick it up again. Thanks for the link! I hope you manage to turn it into a strong habit... ;)

      I think it's also easier to start something in September because a lot of activities start in September and a lot of places are closed in August (at least here in France). Plus, the dropping temperatures are more friendly for sports, at least, in my case :)

  2. I have worked on setting my new fall/winter routine this week, and I think I've found a good one! The Boyfriend goes to school four evenings a week now, so on those evenings I have to be home with the poodle. I've found exercise videos on YouTube that I can do on those days, I can make time to read, and I cook dinner on those days (which means that I don't have to do the elaborate weekend meals, SCORE) and also write blog posts! On the evenings where he is at home I can go to the gym, and Saturdays are completely free. I feel like that's enough in a week, as I really value my couch potato time as well. I have started carrying my camera around with me everywhere though, so that's definitely my little level up.I took this photo on my way to work the other day:



    1. Very nice picture! I should definitely make the same resolution of carrying my camera along, at least on week-ends (I'm not going to bring it to work...). It's true that we can't do too much at once, I tend to abandon half of my project if I try to make them all at the same time. Your routine sounds solid though - I have yoga night and violin night now, and 2 body pump sessions over lunch, that's busy enough for me. I totally agree on the "couch potato" timing. It's important to have down time during the week...

    2. What's body pump? That sounds interesting.

    3. That's a sort of fitness class. I think the term "body pump" is owned by LES MILLS, it's basically rythmic moves and choregraphies on songs, with barbells and other weights, but with light weights, for 5mn per song or so, to improve overall muscle strength without becoming bulky or anything. I find it to be a perfect complement to running, swimming and yoga as it strenghtens my overall shape and works on all body muscles (for example by back is more upright and it doesn't hurt anymore despite working on a desk all day long).

  3. Just a few days ago I went to pay my annual at the swimming pool. And that's all I'll do for now - I want to see how things go when I re-start working, how much time I have left and so on. Then, I have a small sewing machine I'd love to learn how to use. I'll probably will never have time to go to a sewing class, but I will ask husband's cousin, who uses the same model, to show me the basics, then try to learn as I go. Rather than starting from scratch, I probably will buy some too big or too long garments at a local market where used stuff is sold for cents, and work on fixing them - if they get ruined, the loss is minimal! I really hope I'll find the time to do it, my dream is to sew some of my own clothes...

    1. Well that's already a lot! I agree with you on starting activities one at a time, especially when you will start a new routine with working again, there is no telling in advance how much time and energy you will really have at the end of the day... Good luck on your sewing projects! I admire people who make their own clothes, it feels so far away from my skills though :) I hope you learn and enjoy using your sewing machine!

  4. This year, as I'm not planning to have an other baby, I'm want to take care of myself and founding me again.
    So this is a new year of kinomichi. This is a martial art. But this is a soft one and the practice is interesting because you have to feel and understand your partner. This is my 8th year of practice but for almost 2 year I can't stick to it because of health issue.
    Then to be stronger I also begin kind of bootcamp training.
    And for the brain, I want to learn Japanese in a evening class once a week. i want to do it because it's almost ten years I try to learn it alone. I have three great Japanese friends too, but in the end we exchange in English because we both feel more confortable. So this is my new thing for 2014 (and seeking a new interesting job but it's an other story :) ).