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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

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