January 23, 2019 5:35 pm
Updated: January 23, 2019 8:51 pm

Alberta man tackles 365-day challenge in 2018 to make every day better

Jeff Batchelor, who lives in Fort McMurray, Alta., decided to tackle 365 challenges for positive change in 2018.

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From running a marathon and cutting out cigarettes to volunteering in his community and paying off $30,000 in debt, Jeff Batchelor really took 2018 by the horns.

Instead of making just one resolution, the Fort McMurray man decided to take on 365.

“It was a year full of surprises,” Batchelor told Global News from his home in northern Alberta.

READ MORE: How to really – actually – make a difference in your life this year

“I’m in my mid-30s and I just feel like everyone around me is complaining about stuff that they’re either creating themselves or they could easily be avoiding. Rather than being someone who preaches it, I thought that maybe I would just see if I could lead by example and maybe people would pick that up and try some things on their own,” he explained.

Watch below: A Fort McMurray man took 2018 by the horns, making not one resolution but 365. Emily Mertz explains.

“I think I’ve been blessed with this impenetrable positivity and I hope it wears off on some other people.”

Every day of the week had a theme. Tuesdays were all fitness-related goals. Wednesdays were for health improvements.

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“I wanted to learn how to do a standing back flip — something I’ve wanted to do my entire life. I wanted to see if I could get to 50 push-ups when beforehand, I’d only ever been able to do like 15 in a row.”

READ MORE: Here’s a health checklist to start your new year right

Next came “Thrifty Thursdays” and his personal favourite: “Feel Good Fridays.”

“I set a goal to try to accomplish as many good deeds as possible,” Batchelor said.

“A lot of things fell into that category. One was just doing a ton of community service — something I hadn’t really ever done before — finding any volunteer organization in town and reaching out to every one of them and figuring out how I could get involved.”

READ MORE: Fewer Canadians giving to charity, but more is being given

“The best Feel Good Friday challenge I made was reconnecting on the phone with long-lost friends,” he added. “I wrote a friend’s name from my phone on every single Friday on a calendar and every Friday, I gave that friend a call, caught up on some old times… highlight, for sure, of the year.”

He documented the whole thing on his Everyday Better Youtube channel. Batchelor thought making his goals public would help hold him accountable. He also hoped it might inspire others.

“It’s about treating each day as an opportunity to get better, each day as a chance to do something. It’s something that we all take for granted.

“It doesn’t matter how bad your day was, what happened, every single thing that happens to you — good or bad — is an opportunity to learn and improve so that each day is better.

“I know it sounds super, super, super cliché but we can do anything. It’s just a frame of mind, it’s just putting things into action. Worst thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to fail but failing opportunities are still opportunities and they’re still chances to learn,” he said.

READ MORE: Making New Year’s resolutions? Chances are, you’re doing them wrong

The year was rewarding but it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park — or a 42.2 kilometre-run, to be more accurate.

“I under prepared and underestimated the marathon,” Batchelor admitted. “It was killer. It was absolutely brutal. I completed the first three-quarters in record time… but those last 12, they almost broke me.”

Another challenging one? Cracking down on online shopping, keeping to a budget and paying down that debt.

“The hardest one was definitely just staying as strict with my finances as I promised. I knew that having a large audience would help me stay strict to everything that I committed. When I promised that I wasn’t going to buy anything online and spend more than my allowance, I stuck to it,” Batchelor said.

READ MORE: From group training to ditching booze, here are 2019’s top health trends

While he won’t be running another marathon anytime soon, a lot of his positive habits are carrying over to 2019.

“I really wanted to make sure I wasn’t preaching; I was practising,” Batchelor said.

“Look… not only am I doing this, I’m doing all of these at once. So for anyone who thinks that it’s not possible to even change one thing is nonsense.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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