Wednesday, March 27, 2019

30 Days of Self-Improvement • April Challenge • Intro

It's only been a week since I officially finished the 30 day tidying challenge, and I've been loving the results of my month-long effort. I didn't realize life could be so easy--it's so easy to put things away AND it's so easy to clean! I feel much more focused, and I don't putter around as much as I used to when I was surrounded by clutter.

Now that the condo is tidy, I'm ready to take on another challenge! In my next challenge, I'll be focusing on 30 days of self-improvement in a couple of areas I've been meaning to work on:

1) Waking up early
I recently listened to an episode of The Ultimate Health Podcast, which featured an interview with Robin Sharma, author of The 5 AM Club. The podcast got me incredibly motivated to get back to an earlier sleep and wake cycle. Since leaving my full-time job, my sleep and wake hours have become very erratic--on average, I sleep at around 1am and wake up at around 8:30am. I'd like to shift this quite a bit.

A lot of resources I've read or listened to suggest that the best hours to be asleep are from 10pm to 2am. These hours are touted to be the most restful and restorative for your body. In my personal experience, this has been the case. I feel much more well rested if I sleep for 8 hours from 10pm to 6am versus 8 hours from 1am to 9am. When I sleep later and wake up later, I find I'm more groggy, less motivated, and less productive.

Robin Sharma recommends waking up at 5am and implementing the 20/20/20 formula in the first hour of your day. This means 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of self-reflection, and 20 minutes of personal growth. He recommends doing this for 66 days for habit formation. I'm going to try for 30 days in April and then reassess. I may continue this challenge into May.

2) Stopping the purchase and consumption of processed junk food
Hubby and I have gotten a lot better over the years, but we still have quite a significant addiction to junk food. We don't buy chips as much anymore, but we tend to stock up on bagged popcorn (Chicago Mix FTW), gummy candies, and chocolate bars. I'd like to break this habit, so we'll be cutting out processed junk food for a month. I won't be buying any of these processed snacks, and I'll also be refraining from eating these outside of the home.

Some examples of what this will include: chips, bagged popcorn, candies, chocolate bars, pop, beef jerky, peanut M&Ms, energy bars, protein bars, etc. I won't be cutting out sugar or bread or alcohol. I tend to eat processed junk food for dessert, so I'll be replacing this with fresh fruit, dried fruit, or the occasional homemade treat. I know this won't be much of a challenge for a lot of people, but I want to take small steps so I can succeed, notice the positive impact, and be motivated to continue to move in the direction of health.

TLDR: In the month of April, my challenge will involve waking up at 5am and eating no processed junk food for the entire month (I'm playfully dubbing this challenge 5AM+NPJF for "simplicity"). By doing this challenge, I'm hoping to see positive results in my energy levels, motivation, and productivity.

In terms of content around this challenge, I'll be posting daily updates via stories on Instagram. I’ll also be posting periodic updates and standalone videos (on topics related to waking up and healthy eating) on YouTube. I hope you'll join in as we take on another 30 days of self-improvement!

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