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July 2017 archive

Gabby’s June Challenge: Cutting out Dairy – Panic Ensues

Over the past year, I’ve begun to notice that I’m having a hard time breathing. I wondered if it was because of stress, something I was eating, or even my level of physical activity. It got so bad that I was waking up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t breathe.

So, I finally went to the doctor and she prescribed me an inhaler, which REALLY helped. But that’s a quick fix, and not a long-term solution. I wanted to find out what was causing this so I could get to the root of the problem and avoid this in the future.

Last month, I made an attempt to cut out dairy, since I’ve been hearing more and more that it could be what’s causing my asthma, or at least, making it worse.

Overall, what I learned is that a month really drags on when you deprive yourself of something delicious LOL.

When I started, I was successful for about half the month. And I honestly didn’t think dairy was the culprit anymore, because I was cutting it out completely and still wheezing.

On June 15, we had a work party, and I made a conscious decision to eat an AMAZING cookie my co-worker brought to a potluck. No regrets. Except for the fact it cost me the success of my challenge 🙁 lol

There was another instance when I was eating a pepperoni stick. I figured, there’s no way it contained dairy, but I decided to check the label anyway. “MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS.”

Noooooo! What the hell? Why do we need milk in a meat stick?! This continued to be a theme for the rest of the month. Like, why do we need milk in Miss Vickie’s salt and vinegar chips? Or sour cream in guacamole? Gahdamn, it’s in everything. My heart goes out to those with an actual intolerance to dairy.

From that moment, I started to feel like it was hopeless. In the back of my mind, I became more lax with my food choices. I stopped checking labels, and even adopted the mindset of ignorance is bliss. I started to lose sight of why I was doing this challenge in the first place.

But soon enough, I began to get back on track. Whenever I was having a craving, I’d gravitate towards more healthy foods that I love, like hummus, watermelon, chickpea salads, and avocados. Every time I noticed I had a mad craving, I’d just run away from the situation, and, more often than not, the craving just went away.

It sucks cutting stuff out of your diet. There’s no doubt about that. But I figure I should probably see a nutritionist or actually get an allergy test, which is something I’ve been putting off for a while. Seriously, who wants to willingly get stabbed with 150 tiny needles? But I’m going to suck it up, because I really want to get to the bottom of this and breathe easy again.

This month, I’m going to get a food journal and write down everything I eat, PLUS, every instance where I begin to wheeze, so I can see if there’s a pattern.

Wish me luck!

-Gabs

Monique’s June Challenge: The Branding Do-Over

I have been freelancing for more than seven years now. As a solopreneur, a one-woman shop, I’ve been hustling to grow my content creation skill sets and client base. It’s been a remarkable journey so far, recently culminating with one of my clients hiring me on full-time for four months.

But at the time of my onboarding, I faced a crossroads: my website needed rehosting and fresh content; my branding was getting a bit outdated; I needed a new headshot; my business cards had my Liverpool, UK, phone number on them (so I never gave them out); and countless other, little business-related to-dos. Yikes! This four-month contract was going to take up valuable rebrand time – especially as I also have a bridge job.

The timing wasn’t ideal, but I was so excited to work with my client. In my desire to develop new skills and work with a team, that the choice was clear. The rebrand would wait.

So as my contract came to an end in June, I knew what I wanted that month’s Mo’ Money Mo’ Progress challenge to be.

My June challenge was to completely overhaul my freelance branding – from the name of my business to creating a new website and launching everything fresh online.

This, sadly, did not happen.

I have this bad habit of taking on huge projects (when I’m already swamped) and pushing myself to the max in order to achieve my goals.

This month’s challenge was a prime example of this behaviour. There is one silver lining in failing miserably this June: I gained some clarity. I saw this habit from a different perspective and would like to think I’ve made mo’ progress as a result.

It’s simple, really.

Prioritize to get sh*t done.

At this point, I can just imagine some people’s faces who just read that line and scrunched up their face, thinking, “Well, duh!”

Totally fair. It does sound ridiculously obvious.

But you may be surprised to learn just how easy it is to lose focus. This can happen in a team environment, when you’re working on a tough project with many moving pieces and multiple deadlines, or even when you’re trying to figure out whether you really need to clean your kitchen or if you’re just procrastinating.

Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle got me through the past few months where I would spend between 8 – 19 hours working per day. I assigned my tasks as one of these four categories:

  1. Important and Urgent
  2. Important but not Urgent
  3. Not Important but Urgent
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent

REBRANDING

This is the best way to tackle a to-do list. And it’s unfortunately why I didn’t complete my challenge. I had to make some tough choices, but I’m standing by my decisions.

Though it’s not all bad news in June. I laid some groundwork by making some calls, getting quotes, and doing research (moving quickly enough so as to not get stuck in analysis paralysis!). I’m making progress, and that’s key.

I’m not committing to re-doing my challenge again this July, as there are other projects and responsibilities that need my attention, so I’ll start small to accomplish something big.

My July challenge is to (finally) decide on a new name for my freelance business and register the domain name. I’ll be hosting family for more than two weeks while I also keep working with my current clients, so it’s going to be a packed month!

And I’m so up for the challenge.

High fives and good vibes,

Monique 🙂

 

Karyn’s June Challenge: Keepin’ it Positive Part 2

So for my May Challenge I attempted to write down the positive things that happened in my day-to-day life… and I epically failed. So for my June Challenge I decided to try again, this time yielding better results.

My first issue was that I told myself that I was only allowed to write down things in a book. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry it with me everywhere I went. This time I was more reasonable and used my phone instead. It’s always with me so I had no excuse to not write things down.

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I found that just jotting down very simple things that made me smile was easy enough. Pretty much any time I received a text or a notification I used it as an opportunity to reflect and write down something new.

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My notes ranged from waking up before my alarm to finding $10 in my pocket. I also used this as a chance to keep positive about my finances. I would note that I paid my bills on time or that I set up an easier system to check my banking.

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I know this may seem like a mundane task that doesn’t really result in anything big, but watching your list of positivity grow helps remind you of all the good that really does happen during your day.

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I did have some serious downs during the month of June, but when I felt like there were no ups coming my way I would peruse through my list and remember that even the smallest thing that brings a smile to your face can be all you need.

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I’m going to keep trying to update my list on the daily even though my challenge is over. I tend to be a Negative Nancy when the going gets tough, so I’m hoping that building this ever-growing list of good times will help me keep my chin up.

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-Karyn

Gwen’s June Challenge: Radical Financial Transparency

I am in debt and I want out.

I’m carrying some student loan debt as well as credit card debts from investments I made in my business and travel expenses (okay… and a few impulse purchases).

The day I am debt free will be a glorious one, and I can’t wait to get there. The challenge is that I don’t have a solid plan on how to do that yet. I know it’s possible (as I’ve read so many stories and watched so many YouTube videos from people who have shed the debt), so I am really approaching this journey back into the black with curiosity and a sense of adventure.

I’ll level with ya… it hasn’t always been this way. I used to be desperately ashamed of debt. I wouldn’t talk about it and definitely wouldn’t share how much I owed.

So in an attempt to take out the shame and literally just own it, my June challenge was to be completely transparent with my financials with my sisters. I decided to give them access to my Mint account which currently links up all of my finances.

This includes how much money I make to how much interest I accumulate each month.

It felt incredibly liberating to share this. Not all of my sisters took a look, however, I’m going to keep it available to them to check out at any time. My youngest sister decided to take a look right before my eyes. I felt a bit nervous when she said, ‘Let me check it out now’ however, she approached it with a compassion and understanding and ‘It’s not that bad.’

My intention of financial transparency, also lead me to share with my boyfriend my desire to get out of debt. As he is insanely good at being thrifty (and he’s debt free), he is fully supportive of me going for it. In fact, it’ll probably make him feel better that we don’t spend as much eating out and cook more at home 🙂 I haven’t yet shared with him exactly how much I owe, though perhaps that’s a challenge for another month.

My July challenge is going to be an ambitious one. I want to save half of what I make and put it towards debt. With my rent taking up a significant chunk of cash, this is going to be a challenge worth taking on.

Thank you for reading and I wish you an awesome month!

-Gwen