3 Sparkle-Infused Challenges to Ignite Your Year

5 min readFeb 6, 2024

I keep the eBook version of my book, Rediscover Your Sparkle, free all year round. One day I may charge a few dollars for it but for the past 5 years it has been my little gift of sparkle to the world.

Each month the eBook has a few hundred downloads and it feels good knowing that I am gently creating a sparkle movement around the globe.

Then in the final week of last year, suddenly Rediscover Your Sparkle had over 10,000 downloads in just a few days!


I have absolutely no idea.

All I know is that it has kicked the sparkle movement up a notch or two. Now I am getting emails from readers saying they are starting the new year with sparkle by taking up the challenges from the book.

You may want to kick off this year the right way too so here are three sparkle-infused challenges to ignite your year…

1) Sparkle Challenge 1 — No News

This powerful suggestion stops negative and harmful thoughts from entering your mind and ruining your day.

Stop watching, reading and listening to the news.

Remove the news apps from your phone, stop the notifications and change the channel when the news comes on. Replace the negative input with a positive, interesting or educational one — a TED talk, a podcast, an audiobook or a funny YouTube clip. You will be amazed at how much more time you have without constant news disruptions and how much more positive you feel when surrounded by upbeat stories.

Switching off the news is not turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering in the world, but it does stop you feeling terrible about it and so adding more weight to it. And it doesn’t mean you are ‘uninformed’. Headlines will creep into your world regardless of how vigilant you are.

You may find this an extraordinary request, but you don’t need to know everything that’s happening in the world, especially if it makes you feel awful. The fact is that the news is designed to scare people. It is certainly not there to help us feel cheerful and relaxed.

Not consuming the news for a week may be hard but feeling terrible because you watched some horrible, devastating news story that you can do nothing about is even worse.

Sparkle Challenge 1 — No news for one week — aim to not watch, listen to or read any news for one week and if your spirits improve, extend the experiment.

2) Sparkle Challenge 2 — Play for 30 Minutes

Play is an essential element of life and yet it is so easily neglected. The thought of play can actually stress people out as it means things — important, serious things — are not getting done! We all can agree we’ve enjoyed playing in the past but now we are grown up it seems like a waste of time.

Even though researchers such as Dr. Stuart Brown from the National Institute of Play argue that we have a biologically programmed need for play and have listed its benefits from fostering empathy to triggering our creativity, we tell ourselves that playing is not as important as our mile-long to do list. But the risks of not playing are far greater: Dr. Brown argues that the opposite of play is not work but depression.

Play is not a difficult concept either. It can simply be thought of in terms of what you absolutely love to do: activities that bring you joy and things that are fun for you.

But you must put play in your calendar or diary. This goes against the spontaneous and organic nature of play but so what? If we don’t schedule in time to do what we love then it won’t get done.

Sparkle Challenge 2 — Schedule in 1 x 30-minute session for play this week.

3) Sparkle Challenge 3 — Listen to an Album

The world around us is truly one full of wonder and I want to make sure I remember that. An extremely simple way to do this is to savor which is not just about noticing but extracting enjoyment from the moment or activity for as long as you can.

Due to our prehistoric survival instincts, humans build neural pathways more effectively in response to negative experiences than good ones. To help our minds, we need to take a few more seconds to install the positive bits. We need to savor, marvel and bask, to slow down so our brains have time to take in the pleasure and override our natural bias to the negative.

We are constantly distracted by our phones, rushed by our hectic schedules, future focused and want to ‘save time’. This means that we never ‘stop and smell the roses’ and so miss out on the awe and delight that savoring can invoke. Staring at the moon, gently inhaling the smell of your coffee in the morning or walking in nature are ways to you can savor today.

Sparkle Challenge 3 — Listen to a whole album. Download something, pull out an old CD or dust off your vinyl collection. Put the album on when you are doing something like tinkering in a workshop, cooking, gardening or doing housework, or just relax and do nothing except listen to the music.

Sparkle Infusion

These three sparkle-infused challenges to ignite your year should feel like a welcome addition, something you didn’t realize you were craving all along and that can slot into your routine. Not sure how you could possibly fit 30 minutes of play or listening to a whole album into your week? Taking out the news should free up all the time you need!

And if you do not want to kick off your year with these sparkle challenges there are plenty more ideas in Rediscover Your Sparkle to choose from.

Email me: julie@julieschooler.com with the sparkle challenges you are taking on to boost yourself up this year.

Plus please get in contact if you have any theories about why Rediscover Your Sparkle had 10,000 downloads in a week otherwise it will remain a bizarre but very welcome viral internet mystery.




Julie is an author, speaker and mama of two beautiful, tiny humans. Connect with her at JulieSchooler.com and find out how to rediscover your sparkle today.