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Archive of ‘Monthly Money Challenge’ category

Karyn’s November Challenge: Organization is Key

My October Challenge was all about creating healthy habits, so for November I needed to kick it up a notch. I decided to get real organized for my challenge. To kick start the month I of course had to make a list because lists give me life!!!!

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Here are my November organizational goals:

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I wanted to complete everything that you see above. I gave myself so many mini challenges because I like to go big. What happened was that I didn’t complete everything that I wanted, but I was able to get the majority of them done!

One goal that I had trouble with was my sleeping habits. I was serious when I wanted to get to bed on time and get a full eight hours of sleep. Unfortunately, my current living situation kind of interferes with my bedtime. I did try my best though by setting alarms for myself and reminders for when I should be hittin’ the hay and rising with the sun.

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The other task I had difficulty with was attempting to organize my storage locker. I’m not going to lie, I definitely made a dent. I have crazy-high standards though and, to me, it wasn’t up to snuff.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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For my other tasks I was seriously on top of all of them! #killinit

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*Though some are unchecked, the only not fully completed was my storage locker challenge*

I made sure that I scheduled reminders for myself and that I wrote down my successes. Seeing that I was on track kept pushing me forward. My lists helped me to complete my goals. I was able to hold myself accountable and make tweaks when I had to so ultimately I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for this challenge!

I thought food was going to be my biggest issue, but it actually turned into the easiest task on this list!

How I thought it would turn out…

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How it actually turned out!
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Even though this was only for November, I’m going to keep up with my goals and keep ridin’ high.

-Karyn Elliot

Monique’s November Challenge: Eh, No Complaints. You?

After coming off the high that was my HELL YES October challenge, I couldn’t help but want to prolong it. And what you focus on, you amplify in your life. Clearly, this was a great way to feel even better.

So why, OH WHY, did I decide to focus on the negative for November?

My monthly challenge was to say HELL NO to all complaining. I wanted to identify my negative talk triggers and figure out a way to accentuate the positive 🙂 And, oh baby, did I find me some trouble spots. After spending a month monitoring my ups and downs, here are two of my biggest takeaways:

Observation #1: What vs. Who

Turns out that it’s not always the “what” that can bring me down, it’s the “who”.

Are you familiar with that famous Jim Rohn quote?

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Yup, that’s right: I discovered I have a trigger person. After only a few hours with this individual (sometimes even just within minutes!), I noticed my blood pressure rising. Any particular grievances that would have been dealt with calmly and rationally were now standing center stage. Under a spotlight. With a microphone.

Luckily, it was often just the two of us around. She would start ranting about something and that would eventually send me into a foul mood. I’d find myself adding fuel to the fire. It was not a good look.

Action Shot #1: Box It Up

When I realized this person was a mega-drain on my energy and attention, I had to do some serious work to reroute this path. At first I tried keeping conversations on happier, more positive topics. Nope. She derailed that line of thinking. Next, I tried getting her to think constructively, to seek out solutions. If you’re gonna vent, that’s one thing, since it’s briefly cathartic. But if that’s all you do, it’s useless. She had literally zero interest in bettering her situation so that effort fell on deaf ears. Finally, I had to disengage. Compartmentalize and keep quiet. It felt rude at first, but then I realized she wasn’t really talking to me, more at me. I’ve been spending less and less time with her as a result and it’s definitely had an impact on how much I’m complaining. I’d call that a win!

Observation #2: Snark Attack

I hate being late. It’s embarrassing, makes me feel rude, and is unprofessional. I will go to extreme lengths to be on time. I will take expensive Ubers, forego breakfast (or any meal for that matter), and will pull all-nighters if need be. But lately, I realized I’ve been getting extra crabby when traffic is bad or I’m cutting it down to the minute. I’d snark about bad drivers, clueless pedestrians wandering across the street, and my general need to eat or sleep.

My reality check: I like to think I can do it all. And I can’t—especially when I’m not properly taking care of myself. I’d been treating my body like a machine (and not a well-oiled one) instead of my business. Pushing yourself to your limit usually means something’s going to give out—and soon. An early warning sign? My, ahem, charming personality gets less than sociable.

Action Shot #2: Pick Two

I’ve caused myself burnout before, two major episodes in the past seven years, to be exact. My productivity suffered, I wasn’t willing (or able) to work on new, exciting projects, and any personal or professional development took a backseat while I basically slept and recuperated my way back to being a normal human being. When you’re freelancing and you have a part-time job and a side project, you need to be excellent at multitasking, communicating, and self-care. Often, it feels like you have to pick two:

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Burnout has been a recurring theme I’ve been writing about over the past few years. It usually happens right after I’ve burnt out or can feel myself on the edge of another one. This was a particularly surprising realization. It really crept up on me this time. I get ambitious and overconfident and, without the proper system in place, it’s incredibly difficult to level up in a healthy way.

Long story short, November has been heavy. It’s been an important month but I’m definitely taking the lessons learned and applying them to make sure I stay happy and healthy (and don’t infect others with negativity… it’s worse than the flu!).

A New Start to the End… Of the Year

With December—and the holidays—upon us, it’s important to realize that this time of year can either become super stressful or super festive and fun! I want to enjoy the snow, family, friends, and all the festivities this year. We all have responsibilities and obligations, that’s a given, but what if we could really make the most of the season and keep things in perspective?

I want to amplify the good and end 2017 on a high note. So for my December challenge, I’m going to do 31 acts of kindness! I’m going to make them as varied as possible and even keep track of what it “costs” me. Whether it’s time, money, extra effort, etc. I’m going to try to do one per day, and focus on family, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

The turbocharged goal is to do 31 different acts of kindness and make it a habit so that I can start 2018 off on the right foot. What are you going to do for your final act of 2017? Are you going to complain that this was just another dumpster fire of a year or are you going to do your part and actively try to make your little piece of the planet just a bit more pleasant?

I’ve made my decision and it feels pretty darn good, if you ask me.

<3 Monique

Is a Month Without Coffee Possible? Gwen Take On the #NoCoffeeNovember Challenge

I needed a coffee intervention.

As the days started getting darker and colder, I relied more heavily on my BFF, a warm cuppa Joe… though this time I noticed the side effects a little bit more intensely.

I had been noticing (and promptly ignoring) that around 3pm everyday I start to feel a wave of anxiety go through me. Just outta the blue. Also, I’d feel really dehydrated every day and notice that sometimes when I’d smile at people I’d feel my face actually shaking a little bit. The jitters were real.

Though perhaps the ultimate reason why I wanted to take on #NoCoffeeNovember challenge was realizing how much I NEEDED IT and barely wanted to make eye contact with anyone before I had a cup of coffee in hand. That neediness reminded me that YES, coffee is a drug and a powerful one.

The Start of the No Coffee Adventure:

Week 1:

“Wiped out” would be the best way to describe this week. I decided to start the challenge on a Monday, a couple of days before November started to ease into it. On Day 1, I felt okay during the day… though when I got home I fell hard into #pillowlife. I literally got home, fell asleep and emerged from Zombie-mode 13 hours later. The second day, I slept for 12 hours. Both nights I had plans to go to martial arts class, though the ZZZs won. After the first two days I was able to ride out the week on chai, soda water, and Dandy Blend Lattes. (Dandy Blend is exactly what it sounds like… a drink made of dandelions and other wild herbs).

My real challenge came on the weekend. My weekends are usually super chill. I hang out with my boyfriend, run errands and relax. Coffee usually takes me from chill to HIGH ON LIFE. I found it really difficult to not have that ‘high’ on the weekend. One way I distracted myself was by going for a run, and I seriously considered almost buying a $7 ‘coffee-like’ drink from a fancy health restaurant (filled with things like mesquite, maca, dark cocoa, raw coconut oil, etc.). It would’ve been an okay splurge (it’s healthy right?) though I realized that it would be more fun to attempt to make something like this at home instead and was able to stave off the craving. I’m also on an airtight budget with little room for $7 drinks.

My other challenge was that I ate A TON of sugar this week. Normally, I don’t eat a lot of sugar, though this week it was more than my body could handle. I ate candy, opened a beautiful box of chocolates to eat myself (and then attempted to share), and decadent vegan marshmallow cookies. It was all so delicious… though my body didn’t find it that great. My skin immediately broke out like crazy. I hadn’t had a break out like that since last year! Dammit sugar.

Week 2:

Armed with new information that it takes THREE days to detox the body and then it’s a psychological battle, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and fight a new battle. I’ve found that my crutch for a ‘hit’ has become soda water. I’ve never drunk so many in my life. Dear God, I hope they’re not bad for me. I also curbed my sugar cravings this week with purely fighting it off and also drinking more smoothies. I also attempted to replicate a smoothie from one of my favourite restaurants (it takes like chocolate ice cream, and it’s healthy and satisfying)!

Week 3 and 4:

These weeks I was deeply missing coffee. It felt like a roller coaster of emotions. From one minute neeeeeeding it, to the next being okay. This stuff is truly powerful and addictive. And it was mostly the challenge of the weekends. Oh, the weekends. I craved it with a vengeance on Saturdays and Sundays. One particular weekend was spent watching the black belt test at my martial arts school and I really wanted a coffee. The experience of watching the test is super stressful, and I wanted to hold something warm and comforting. I settled for hot chocolate… and it was the worst. Turns out nothing can take the place of coffee.

So Did I Complete the Challenge Successfully?

I DID IT!!!!!!! Yo. This was a true challenge. Many many times I said to people, ‘Maybe I’ll just get a decaf. That’s okay right?’ Though technically it would have been breaking the challenge, and HELL YEAH I didn’t do it.

Was It Worth It?

Honestly, I’m on the fence about this. Yes, I felt relief to not need it everyday. I felt more hydrated. And I felt more peaceful. Though I picked up some habits around eating way more sugar and soda water to compensate which didn’t feel too great.

So what’s next?

This challenge taught me a lot about myself. And from what I know about myself, I would still love to have coffee be a part of my life, though I’d like for it to be a weekend treat instead of a daily necessity. So that’s how I’ll approach it going forward: the weekends (or holidays) are for coffee 🙂

My December Challenge:

Alrighty, new month, new challenge time! My December challenge will be: pay in cash for all holiday purchases. I am a devotee of the monthly budget and realize the holidays are the perfect time to let all hell break loose. WELL, NOT THIS YEAR! I’m going to use the envelope method and actually budget how much I will be spending on different people (and food) over the month!

With fewer than 30 days left of 2017, what challenge could you take on to help you make mo’ money and mo’ progress?

Karyn’s October Challenge: Back to Basics

With all of the big changes happening in my life, I found myself slipping into that toasty coma of procrastination. I had all but stopped my usual routines and just opted to space out and watch Netflix. This was an unacceptable turn of events. I refused to go down this road and become unproductive. October was my chance to change all of that! So how was I going to do it? By making a GAWD DANG LIST SUCKAAAAA!!!

Here is my list:

  1. Go to the gym every morning for at least 30 min
  2. Post to Instagram every day
  3. Edit pictures in Canva once a week
  4. Go to Krav Maga 4-5 times per week
  5. Go to Muay Thai at least once a week

Though it may not seem that intense, I saw it as a life-altering challenge. As someone who felt like they were sleepwalking through life, this was going to jolt me awake and help me get back on track.

To keep myself on target I wrote what I accomplished in a notebook each day. It kept me focused on my goals and helped me refine anything that wasn’t working.

oct 2 - 6

oct 7 - 13

oct 14 - 20

oct 21 - 27

For example, I originally wanted to work out EVERY morning and then go to Krav/Muay Thai every night. I found that this wasn’t entirely sustainable as my body started to take longer and longer to heal. So instead of just giving up, I just compressed my goals into something more manageable. I chose to do morning workouts with a colleague every Wednesday and Friday for at least 30 minutes.

No more ouching around!

My track record wasn’t perfect, I did feel myself making progress and that to me was a win! This challenge has got me all laser-focused again and feeling like my old self. I want to keep this ball rollin’, so for my November Challenge I’ve decided it’s going to be the month of ORGANIZATION!

I will be organizing my financial goals, my sleeping pattern (‘tis all over the place) and my giant mess of a storage locker. I’m going to be tracking myself, just like I did for October as it kept my goals clear.

Wish me luck!

Karyn

Monique’s October Challenge: HELL YES Nation

For my October challenge, I thought about what I wanted. Then, I went for it.

My rule was to only do things that made me say HELL YES

Everything else was a Noooope.

 

The goal was to get fired up about all the things in October. If I couldn’t get fired up and say HELL YES then the decision was a clear no.

…Or was it?

I don’t know about you but every time I decide to take on a new challenge, I immediately face an obstacle, inner resistance, or simply feeling as though the universe has conspired to make my goal seem insurmountable.

I got some fascinating results.

Following the Fun!

There were a few instances where HELL YES just seemed so obvious:

  • I got free tickets to a comedy show (and I love stand up!)
  • The hubz and I got free tickets to an NHL game
  • A wonderful friend invited me to coffee
  • I volunteered at an amazing conference that brings together and recognizes both entrepreneurship and government
  • The chance to go to my first Diwali celebrations at one of Ottawa’s Hindu temples

Of all these HELL YES moments, there were still some obstacles that made them difficult to achieve, and in one instance, some obstacles beat me to my moment (next year’s Diwali celebrations are totally gonna make up for missing this year’s!).

There were other obstacles that I overcame to make some HELL YES moments a reality, like the tedious act of coordinating schedules, making bookings, and doing advance prep work.

Why HELL YES can be Wrapped in a HELL NO

My obvious HELL YES moments were easy to pursue because they’re fun, exciting, engaging, and new. Yet there were other HELL YES moments that were quieter and less fun but no less important:

  • Pulling two (almost) all-nighters after taking on rush projects during an already packed week
  • Hitting the gym after a long day when all I felt capable of was crawling into bed
  • Taking on extra shifts at my bridge job because a coworker needed help
  • Braving the dentist for a root canal that’s going to be completed over the course of three. separate. appointments. #MakeTheDrillingStop
  • Going vegetarian – and alcohol free – for the month

So why say HELL YES to things that initially felt like a half-hearted, “Sure, I guess”?

Because I knew I was making decisions that were ultimately in my best interest.

Unwrapping a HELL YES

Saying HELL YES to something isn’t always driven by unbridled enthusiasm. Sometimes they’re driven by curiosity, other times by logic. Indulge me:

  • Those almost-all-nighters? They reinvigorated a relationship with a sometimes-dormant client. I’m now getting more and more work from them and reminded them how reliable I am, especially when they’re in a crunch.
  • Those near-exhaustion gym sessions? I’m feeling fitter, stronger, more energetic, and have been getting more definition in my typing muscles. Pretty sweet reasons to keep going with this good habit.
  • Taking those extra shifts? They help pay me pay off my student loan and build a savings account. Plus, they get me out of my house to chat with cool people while sipping on custom lattes and listening to great music.
  • A root canal? Let’s be honest. I’ve clearly been putting this off for a while. The motivation was there, ever so fleetingly, so I decided to commit before I wimped out. There’s no going back now.
  • A vegetarian diet? But what about bacon?? Truthfully, I started off nowhere close to wanting to go vegetarian for a full month. With a few mindful slipups, I did it! Honestly, I knew the lifestyle shift would be more difficult than changing my actual diet, and that proved true. Though the unexpected upsides include slimming down, a clearer mind, and a newfound curiosity to go veg at least three times per week.

So What Does This Even Mean?

I wondered if I was going to go all “Yes Man” a la Jim Carrey at the beginning of the month but that wasn’t quite the case, despite my best efforts to end up like this:

https://giphy.com/gifs/jim-carrey-jxdnxO9IJmpnG

It didn’t happen, which is totally fine, but I did discover that a HELL YES decision doesn’t have to be wrapped up in fireworks and enthusiasm to be the right choice. At first glance, this sounds super depressing but it actually makes me really happy. This challenge helped me to better understand why I do what I do, and what’s most important to me.

Turns out it’s not bacon, after all.

So what’s next?

My November challenge will be saying HELL NO to all complaining.

I don’t think I’m a major whiner (LOL) but we’ll soon see if that’s the case.

My goal is to keep track of my complaints and uncover some trends about what bothers me most. Then I’ll come up with an action plan to make improvements in those areas.

Hell Yes, I am a genius.

What’s on your radar this November? Want to join the #Sisterpack in our monthly challenges? Let’s keep the convo going on our Insta! Follow us at and let’s chat!

High fives and good vibes,

Monique 🙂

 

Gwen’s #SoberOctober Challenge

“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.”

Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story

My October challenge was to take on #SoberOctober. My goal was to cease and desist drinking alcohol for the entire month.

So did I do it?

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HECK YEAH I DID!! WOOHOO!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

I’ve actually been sober for 1 month and 11 days at this point. I’ve been using the I Am Sober app to track my progress. It also shares that I’ve saved about $164. This is based on guessing that I’d spend $4/day on alcohol (this would equal a bottle of wine/beers during the week).

As you can see I’ve been sober for longer than one month. I kickstarted this challenge mid-September and decided to join the #soberoctober bandwagon to keep it going.

The Backstory:

I’ve taken on alcohol-free living before. In fact, in 2016 I went alcohol-free for nine months. I started drinking again when I went on a trip to Italy and REALLY wanted to drink wine. This past September, I got the itch to quit again. I made a half-hearted attempt to pause drinking in July after having a TERRIBLY CHALLENGING green belt test in the martial art I practice called Krav Maga.

Despite working out consistently, I felt miserably out of shape during the test. I knew if I wanted to have better tests, I’d have to take my training more seriously, which involves eating better and drinking less alcohol. Despite good intentions, I only made a half-hearted attempt in the summer and I didn’t actually quit drinking. I’d drink a beer here and there, and wine or champagne on Fridays at work (yes, I work at a really awesome place ;).

The Moment of Truth:

The catalyst to deciding to get back into sobriety was free samples. I was gifted a bunch of free samples of Malibu from a party I volunteered at. I found myself drinking these little bottles here and there in a very ‘numb out’ way. The ultimate moment I found was when I decided to drink one in the bathtub after a particularly hard martial arts class to try to ease my physical pain. I don’t think it’s a problem to drink in the bathtub to unwind, my problem was that I wanted to hide the fact that I was drinking it and that made me uncomfortable.

Time for Progress:

When taking on the sobriety challenge again, I knew I wanted to be able to see my progress. So I Googled and found the I Am Sober app and was thrilled to see how easy it was to track. And it’s a major bonus to find out that I can track how much money I’m saving too!

The Benefits:

The reason we take on monthly challenges here at Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress is because we are looking to ultimately feel better (by making more progress and more money!)

So I’d love to share some of the benefits I’ve noticed in the last six weeks:

  • I’m becoming an early bird! For some reason over the last week I’ve been interested in waking up and getting up at the crack of dawn.
  • Not hungover. Ever. Full stop.
  • No split energy wondering if I should have a drink when it’s offered.
  • Better focus at work.
  • I know when a party sucks and when to leave.
  • “Mask off, f*cking mask off…” – Future. Really though, when you stop drinking a mask comes off.
  • Losing weight! For the first time in my life abs may become a thing!
  • A more intentional focus on paying off debt!
  • I don’t skip out on Krav Maga classes because I had been drinking. This happened a couple of times.

So to get right down to it, it’s challenging to make a lifestyle change, though Perrier and ‘mock’ beer is not that bad. In fact, it’s actually quite enjoyable!

Also, one final tip is that if you do want to go off the sauce, I recommend following people who are thriving whilst being off the sauce and learn from them. I discovered and followed @thesoberglow who has been an incredibly inspiring person to learn from.

So as of right now, I am still very interested to continue living sans alcohol. This challenge is becoming a new way of life.

My November Challenge?

So what shall I do to make my life more joyful in November? Oh, I don’t know… HOW ABOUT GIVE UP THE ELIXIR OF LIFE AKA COFFEE? That’s right, I’m going to do

#NoCoffeeNovember.

Why? I’d like to say goodbye to waaaves of anxiety. The upper lip jitters when I smile at people. The feeling of my brain leaving my body and coming back two hours later. The migraines. The 24/7 dehydration. The experience of feeling strung out when I get home.

This is a challenge I’m willing and excited to take on at this point in my life. Note that I will still be consuming caffeine (from tea/matcha) though I’m on the hunt for other coffee alternatives.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to join me in #NoCoffeeNovember if you dare!

<3 Gwen

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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