I seem to have started a tradition of monthly challenges. It started when I gave up interacting on social media for Lent. Then, in September, I gave up eating sugar. In October, there was the #OctoberLetters project, where I sent a letter each day (actually by the end of the month, I was sending three letters a day). For November, I challenged myself to write 500 words per day. And in December, there was the #DecemberSelfie challenge which is just coming to an end.

While I was thinking about what could be my challenge for January, I remembered a book I read a while ago: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In it she spent a year doing certain tasks in the pursuit of happiness.

Rubin’s Happiness Project was a massive, year-long thing where she took on new habits each month and kept them all going until the end of the year.I know myself well enough to realise that for me, an undertaking like that is doomed to failure.

Instead, this year I will choose one challenge each month – and each challenge is set with the aim of being more happy, and/or becoming a better parent.

I was going to make a list of twelve challenges at the beginning of the year, but as with Rubin’s book, I know myself well enough to know that I would never get to the end of a list like that. So I’m going to do it month by month.

I will update at the beginning of each month to say what the new challenge will be, and at the end of the month to report back. There is also a form at the bottom of this post, where my readers can suggest challenges for the coming months.

2015- (1)


This month, inspired by Gretchen Rubin, I intend to sing daily. Or, more specifically, I intend to sing to S daily.

We used to sing songs at bed time every night. We had a set routine: Rock a Bye Baby followed by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then Baa Baa Black Sheep, and then Wheels on the Bus. After two run-throughs of our songs, S would crawl across to her pillow, kiss me goodnight and go to sleep.

I’m not sure what happened, but the songs have sort of gone from our routine since we moved house. It’s a shame, because they were as soothing to me as they were to S.

My plan is not necessarily to sing at a set time of day, though bed time is a good time for songs. The idea of the singing is not only to sing songs, but to be generally more light hearted. I get sick of being the boring grown up who always says no and tells her to stop jumping and shouting and whatever else. I feel like at least some of the things I say no to, I’ve begun saying no to out of habit – not because it would actually be so bad if she did it. While I know that singing is not going to magically make me stop being the boring adult, it might make me a more fun mummy to have around.

I will report back at the end of January as to how well the singing has worked!

Meanwhile, if you have a suggestion as to a challenge I could do later in the year, do please fill in the form below. The only rule about these challenges is that they must be something that I could do every day for a month, that would make me and/or S happier.

[contact-form to=’SingleMotherAhoy@gmail.com’ subject=’Happiness Project Challenge’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Twitter Handle’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Challenge Suggestion’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


Cheryl Cooke Harrington · 04/01/2015 at 18:30

I love this idea! Will be singing along wth you in January.

    Vicky Charles · 04/01/2015 at 18:57

    Fantastic Cheryl! One, two, three! Twinkle twinkle, little star…

2015 Happiness Project: June Challenge - Single Mother Ahoy · 11/11/2018 at 16:34

[…] am part way through a year-long happiness project. Each month I set myself a different challenge with the idea of making myself more happy over the […]

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