We do several habit building challenges each month. We each pick something we want to focus on and try to set realistic goals on how to improve ourselves. But we wanted to experiment with this idea a little. Instead of us coming up with our own ideas, we picked from each other’s challenges that we’ve completed recently. We wondered when it was someone else’s ideas would we stick to it like we would our own ideas? Because someone else recently completed the challenge, would we feel competitive? Here’s what we came up with.
Bethany: Drink More Water
Explain what the challenge was and if you felt like it was easy for you.
Last month Alexys challenged herself to drink more water and after reading her post I was inspired to do the same. Before I officially started the daily challenge I had to figure out how much water I should consume in a day and the best way to measure and keep track of my water consumption. I decided to go by the typical 8×8 guideline (8 oz of water, 8 glasses a day). Then I measured how much water the glasses I usually drink out of hold; my corkcicle holds 24 oz of water and the glasses I have at home hold 16 oz of water.
Drinking 8 glasses of water sounded a bit daunting at first, but I soon realized it was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. When I went about my day as usual I found that on most days I was already drinking between 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, so really the only change I had to make was keeping track of how much water I consumed. I always take my corkcicle with me when I run errands or at work. I believe that is why I was already reaching my goal before I started this challenge.
How did it make you feel?
Since reaching my daily goal was easier than I thought it would be, I wanted to put more focus on other changes I might notice. For instance, did my skin appear more clear or brighter? Was I less fatigued in the mornings? And did I have less cramping during my period? As far as skin appearance and fatigue, I would not say I saw much of a change. However, the biggest difference I noticed was with my menstrual cycle. I typically have a somewhat mild period with moderate cramping right before I start and during the first day, and it usually lasts about five to six days with heavy bleeding the first or second day. I had been doing this challenge for about two and a half weeks when my cycle started and I had almost no cramping, lighter bleeding and it only lasted three days. I can not say with 100% certainty that consuming eight or more glasses of water every day is the reason for this change, but if it is then I would absolutely recommend this challenge to every female I know. I probably won’t continue to monitor how much water I drink every day, but I do plan to keep track and increase my water consumption about a week before my period starts and during my cycle.
Alexys: Gratitude Journal
How and why you did it?
Last month Bethany did a 30 day gratitude journal for her monthly challenge and in March we all decided to swap habits, so I chose to give the gratitude journal a go.
I decided to challenge myself to do a 30 day gratitude journal, because I tend to be pessimistic about things, which is something I’m trying to be more aware of. My goal was to write at least one thing everyday that I was grateful for, or something positive that happened that day. I tried to keep a schedule when I was writing, so I wrote at my desk at night before getting ready for bed. Some nights I would write about a fun event that happened that day, some nights I kept it pretty general (e.g., “Today I am thankful for sunny, warm weather”), and other days I would go deeper into thought and elaborate more on what I was feeling. To my surprise, I actually stuck to the 30 days, and I noticed a lot of positive side effects.
What did you get from this challenge?
Over the course of the 30 days I learned a lot about the way I approach obstacles during my day, as well as some things I want to carry into my day-to-day attitude towards certain situations, even after finishing the challenge. Mostly, it was just nice to end my day by focusing on positivity. By setting a goal to think more about the things I’m grateful for, I began to really appreciate all of the small things throughout my day that I hadn’t given as much thought to before. I started to notice that when something “negative” would happen during my day, instead of being overly pessimistic like I normally would, I would redirect my thinking to something I was grateful for instead. No matter how unrelated to the issue it was, it was very helpful to take the focus off of the “problem” and put more energy into noticing the positivity around me. I also noticed that writing before bed helped put me in a calmer headspace before sleep, although there were a few nights where I almost forgot to write for the night, but I somehow always managed to crawl out of bed to do it. There were also a few nights I had trouble thinking of something to write, maybe I was too tired or just feeling unmotivated that day, but those were the days I wrote more general things. Honestly, even thinking of simple or seemingly obvious things to be thankful for really put things into perspective. A warm sunny day can hold as much mental weight as reading a good book or going out with friends.
Overall, I’m really glad I decided to do this and I have gotten back into journaling again since finishing the challenge!
Why did you pick this challenge?
I always really liked the concept of yoga; its calming properties, strength building, and just a general connection with people all over the world who practice. I’m naturally a very impatient person. My job is stressful, and I’m not good at relaxing and taking time to myself. That’s why I really wanted to follow Alexys’s challenge and get into yoga last month. Alexys shared with me some Youtube videos (Yoga with Adriene) to help me get started. Adriene does a really good job at easing you into yoga and gives you a lot of different options if you aren’t feeling a particular position or if it’s too tough.
How did the challenge turn out? Did you stick with it and is it something you want to continue?
Of course I planned on sticking with this challenge all month, but with travel and a less predictable schedule, I only ended up doing about 14-15 videos. I really liked doing them in the morning. I felt like it was a perfect workout to do first thing, but it slowly woke me up and I never got so sweaty where I needed to shower after. Besides helping with balance and strengthening my legs a little, I really felt an improvement in my shoulder and back tension. I’ve always had mild shoulder pain (that I assume comes from being on a computer all day). Many of the positions really focused on shoulders and back and made me feel so much better. I wish I would have done these every day, but I’m still proud of myself for giving it a try. Some of the videos were too slow for me, and I think for my personality something around 15 minutes each morning would really suit me. I’ve been stretching most mornings now and incorporating some of the moves I learned from the video. My goal is once socializing is okay again is for me to try a yoga class, which I’ve never done before.