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October 2017 archive

Monique’s September Challenge: 4x the Fun

I took a different approach to my September challenge: I attempted to complete four unrelated challenges in four weeks.

Every seven days, I started a new challenge… each with varying degrees of success.

Let’s start with the successes, shall we? 😉

September Challenge #1:

The challenge I absolutely crushed was checking my bank balance online every day. To be honest, I’ve questioned the value in doing this on and off throughout the last few years as the Sisterpack and I embarked upon our Mo’ Money journey.

I couldn’t have picked a better time to check my accounts every day. I actually managed my money waaayy better. I made sure all bills were covered before they were due (not all my payments are automatic so I actually have to know these things)  and I had more productive conversations about money throughout the week!

The verdict?

Definitely keep doing this. If not every day, every other day. It can be so tempting to ignore the numbers and shout IGNORANCE IS BLISS while wearing Kanye glasses as I munch on a burrito with guac but these are the numbers that keep you alive, happy, fed, and fabulous. Why would you ignore anything so awesome? And if the numbers don’t look that great right now, no worries! Just keep working at them. Building mo’ money and mo’ progress is a journey.

September Challenge #2:

Meditate.

It seems simple: switch off your brain for a couple minutes every day. Press the reset button. Take a chill pill.

Seems I forgot that this mindset takes patience, discipline, and control. I haven’t used those dusty, atrophied muscles for meditation since I taught at Samurai school when I was 15 years old. (That’s right. I was essentially a child ninja. No, I will not take your lunch money. Sit down and… is that a Snapple?)

So you see what I’m dealing with?

Anyway, I had a decent amount of success with this challenge. I downloaded the Calm app and meditated for at least 1-5 minutes every day. I played around with the app and even did a few 10-minute meditations. I made sure to do a few extra because, at first, I thought I could meditate while walking to my bridge job. Oh man, big mistake. It was super loud with the traffic and I have a broken ear bud on my headphones so I couldn’t block out all the noise. While I didn’t keep a blank mind the whole time, the soothing nature sounds and calming music definitely kept my blood pressure down while I hustled in and out of traffic.

The verdict?

Make the time to meditate. Don’t try to squeeze it in just before you fall asleep (I just fell asleep instead) or while you’re performing another task. It’s just not the point and felt a bit futile. Otherwise, I definitely recommend setting aside time to actively chill.

September Challenge #3:

As a self-employed-night-owl freelancer who also has a part-time bridge job, it’s always a herculean challenge to be up and at ‘em bright and early. My sisters have been experimenting lately with going to bed at a decent hour and waking up super early.

My attempt? Be awake, coherent, and ready to rock at my desk by 9 a.m. the entire week.

…Did I mention that I’m a straight up night owl?

I leave my bridge job after 10 p.m. every night, and sometimes I’m up until 2 a.m. pounding out content for my clients and sending them emails using Boomerang for Gmail so it looks like I actually sent that note at 7:18 a.m. (night owls, take notes!).

I love it but it’s not always sustainable when I have an early morning commitment like a business call, coffee meeting, or just when I want to be awake to see the first half of the day.

I don’t often have a routine start or end time. When the coffee’s ready, that just means it’s GO TIME.

So this was pretty daunting.

This challenge was more difficult for me until I started scheduling morning commitments, trying to circumvent my own ingrained habits.

The verdict?

Lots of sleepy eyes, much less of an effort to look good at my desk (which is insane because my desk is located in my work nook. In my house. And I’m alone!), sweatpants until noon, and mucho cups of coffee… at first.

It would definitely require a lifestyle overhaul. The jury is out. Don’t hold your breath on this one.

September Challenge #4:

No eating out. For seven days straight. During a workweek.

Ummm, yeah. I totally failed.

I mayyybeee did three days, not even close.

The verdict?

I need to reevaluate my lifestyle. Even if it’s just a small purchase like a coffee or bagel. Will a meal prep challenge be in my future? Most likely. (Ugh.)

Overall, this was a cool experiment. Not only did I get a chance to make up for a couple monthly challenges I’d missed out on in the past, but I really got to see what type of challenges get me pumped and where I need to shell out a little extra effort.

I wanted to experience more excitement, confidence, and conviction in my decisions, so for the month of October, my challenge theme is HELL YES. I am going to be living, riding, and dying by these two, short words all month.

When making any decision, it’s either a HELL YES or it’s a no.

I’m not sure where this will take me but I’m damn sure that I’ll be excited no matter what direction I go.

– Monique

Gabby’s September Challenge: She failed how many challenges?

We all know about the charcoal teeth whitening craze. You can’t scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing someone’s black-paste-covered smile. Once they rinse it off, their pearly whites look unreal. And that’s just the thing… is it unreal?

It looks like they all just got back from the dentist and got their teeth whitened. So I wanted to test this charcoal stuff out to see if it actually works on a real person. I ordered some online in August (through a promoted Instagram post, stupidly enough) just in time for my September challenge, where I was going to do a review. It’s October now. My order never came in. Their customer service also never answered any of my emails about how my order never came in. I still plan to harass them until I get what I paid for.

So that challenge fell through. I had to pick something else.

Meanwhile, I tried out for this industry boxing competition and made the cut. (More to come on this in my October challenge.) I’m going to be trained by Olympians and get a strict meal plan that I have to follow which basically guarantees me abs. So, I wanted to see, how much does it really cost to get abs? I was going to break down the cost of everything I have to buy to succeed in this competition, but I didn’t end up getting my meal plan until the last week of September, so I wouldn’t have had enough information to write an accurate blog about it.

Another challenge that fell through.

I had to think of something fast. Something I could do in a week. So I decided to try and go to bed before 11 p.m. every night.

THAT ALSO FELL THROUGH. STOP JUDGING ME, OKAY?!

This new exercise regimen had my schedule all messed up. I was still working through a rhythm between commuting, meal prepping, sleeping, showering, and, of course, working. Not easy. I ended up going to bed around 12-1 a.m. every night.

There you have it. Somehow, I managed to fail three challenges in one month. I’m pretty sure that’s a new record.

Stay tuned in October where you’ll find out how much I’m spending in one month on this meal plan and any other supplies I might need to win the fight!!

Wish me luck!
Gabby

Karyn’s September Challenge: Failing Forward

I failed.

1

What did I fail at, you may ask? I failed at even attempting to challenge myself this month.

2

With everything that is going on in my life at the mo’ I’ve found that I’ve stopped almost everything that I used to call routine. I know that sometimes deviating from the usual can actually be a good thing, but in my case following a routine keeps me moving forward.

via GIPHY

For September I originally wanted to try to step outside of my comfort zone, but instead I stayed within it. All I did was either work or go to Krav (which is not a bad thing, but my life lacked variety). I kinda wanted to do some new and spontaneous stuff, but instead I sat around binging Netflix and just hanging out.

via GIPHY

I realized that after dropping my routine completely for an entire month (actually to be honest, quite a bit longer), I needed the stability of it.

I am NOT spontaneous. I like planning things, and mapping stuff out. Writing lists is my drug of choice. I like to be prepared. So after hopping on the wagon (of a “list-less” lifestyle) for waaaaaay too long, I now know that I need that stable foundation in my janky life.

5

So yes, I failed September with my procrastination, laziness, and need to escape. I see this failure as a win though. I succeeded in realizing that I find purpose in plans. Now I’m going to take this knowledge and apply it to my October Challenge!

6

For October my goal is to get back in the swing of things. I plan on going to the gym twice a day, five days a week. I want to up my social media output for Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress, I want to read more and Netflix less and I want to get back to making my food instead of eating out.

via GIPHY

I want to get back to being me. Without failing in September I never would have know that this is how I want my life to be; full of lists, everything planned and going according to schedule.

Sounds like a dream come true!
Karyn

Gwen’s September Challenge: Put Down the iPhone

In this sometimes (very) scary and hyper-connected world, it can feel easier to numb out and crawl under the covers (physically and mentally) than engage.

I’m all for taking a mini vacay from life every once in awhile, but when it starts to become a go-to habit, it’s valuable to take a closer look at why.

The answer is always fear. This manifests for me in feeling behind, not good enough, not successful enough, blah… blah… blah.

The feeling of ‘not enough’ sucks. So I find I do whatever I can to avoid it. Over the years I’ve had different numb-out tools. From binge eating (mostly sugary things) to drankin’, apathy to isolation – I’ve had my fair share of unhealthy habits.

Though this year I’ve experienced a shift that’s helped me be committed to live my most aligned life (the full story will come out when it’s ready).

I am now a sober (13 days and counting) vegan, minimalist-type gal who has finally embraced using my emotions as a compass. My numb-out tools are slowly being kicked to the curb.

So when thinking of what my September challenge should be, it was very clear to me that I have been developing a technology addiction that I’d like to let go of.

The Problem(s):

  • I mindlessly scroll through Instagram and Facebook and watch YouTube videos daily. It always starts out fun, but I soon find myself falling down rabbit holes and wonder how I got there.
  • I stare at a screen 70% of the day at work, so staring at it while I’m at home doesn’t feel good.
  • I don’t like that when I’m with friends, family or my boyfriend, when they leave the room or there’s a lull in a conversation, I’m tempted to pick up my phone to ‘kill time’ or kill the awkward moment.  
  • I feel like being addicted to technology is stealing my time! I want to be reading books, go for walks, build my side hustle!
  • This steals my presence and after coming out of a content binge I feel almost disoriented and not as connected to people.

My September challenge was to take a break from tech by putting my phone on airplane mode from 9 p.m. onwards. For me, nothing productive happens on the internet after 9 p.m. right now.

My Experience:

For the first two weeks I was on point. I was putting my phone on airplane mode like a gahdamn boss. I was thrilled to replace my nightly Instagram habit with a newfound routine of reading ‘10% Happier’ – a book by Dan Harris. It’s such a fun read. My sister also gave me one of Mindy Kaling’s books to read and I loved it! It felt so relaxing to curl up with a book and fall asleep without a video or podcast playing in the background (I’d tell myself this is okay because it was ‘inspirational’).

Then I started to slip up. It started slow with not setting my phone to airplane mode, due to having a text chat with my bf or sisters. Then it spiraled to not doing it at all.

There are two reasons why:

#1) I was gearing up for a belt test in Krav Maga and started to get stressed. The stress actually kicked up my desire to drink a beer here and there, and I found that when I drink beer, I give no effs and do whatever I want to do.

#2) I was moving. I was getting really stressed out about moving to a new place and found that watching dumb videos helped me feel a bit better. In reflection on the month, I can see that while I benefited from that behaviour at the time, I am not interested in living like that going forward.

In Conclusion,

This was a SUPER rewarding 30 day experiment.

This challenge helped me realize that I really do want to get this habit on track, so right now I’m looking for ways to keep it going (perhaps finding an app to monitor my time on each app). It helped me realize that this is something I really care about and want to get better at doing. And, in a weird way, it also helped me get clear on how alcohol has been playing a role in my life and how I’m ready to let it go (again).

So my October challenge is: #SoberOctober (aka no alcohol for the month). I started the challenge a little bit earlier than October 1st, and I’m tracking my progress on an app. I’m excited to see how taking out alcohol will contribute to my life this month!

Thank you for reading and I am now accepting all positive vibes.
-Gwen