Hannah Montana once sang, “Nobody’s perfect, we live and we learn it”, and boy was she right. These past thirty days were far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean they were unsuccessful by any means!
These past thirty days have been a whirlwind — of course I chose to start this challenge during, quite possibly, the busiest month of my life! But I almost think that’s what made it so successful for me, knowing that I can accomplish these great goals and make great lifestyle changes despite having the craziest schedule ever. I excelled in some way in all parts of my challenge with myself, but the strict metrics aren’t as important to me as the lifestyle changes are.
I decided to break down my progress on the goals I set one by one, because quite honestly, some were much more successful than others. As I said though, the most important thing I learned during this is that it’s the long-term changes that matter, so I’m pretty dang proud of myself none-the-less!
Working Out Four Days a Week, No Exceptions:
This one was definitely the most difficult to follow. It’s not as if I didn’t want to go to the gym or go for a run, some days it was quite literally impossible to fit into my schedule. I definitely should have specified that “no exceptions” doesn’t include mandatory meetings, those are unfortunately a very real exception.
I’m proud to say that for two of the four weeks, I successfully made it to the gym four times a week! Woohoo! This was made much easier because of my BFF workout buddy, Amanda, who made each gym trip an adventure. She was totally in on this with me, and that made it so much easier! There’s a funny story about one of our gym adventures that I absolutely have to include:
So Amanda and I go to the gym one day and decide to split up for our cardio, then join together to finish off with a butt workout day. So I (for the first time ever) decide to go run a mile on the indoor track because I’ve been some kind of running kick lately – who am I?! So I run a mile and feel totally great about myself! Then I go to the StairMaster for the second half of my cardio like I usually do, and I realize I’m super itchy. I didn’t think too much about it because, TMI, but I sweat a ton at the gym, so I thought maybe I was just extra sweaty that day. Anyways, I’m working away at the StairMaster when I notice this ginormous, itchy bump on my hand that looks like a bug bite. Ehhhh, still not too phased.
Once I finish my StairMaster workout, I go to find Amanda to show her this crazy bug bite I apparently developed while working out, when she goes “Oh my god, Nicole, they’re all over you!!! You’re breaking out in hives!!” So I was like, “UGH! I want Benedryl Cream, what should I do?”, so we decide to go find a First-Aid Certified employee.
We find them and they freak out, call a CODE RED (!!!) and call me an AMBULANCE (!!!!!!) because they think I’m about to experience anaphylactic shock because of an allergic reaction to some mystery stimuli. I caused the biggest scene ever, got kicked out of the gym for the rest of the day, had to sign all of these medical papers, almost got forced onto a stretcher – for what? Some Benedryl Cream, and I never even got it! Best part is, I still have no idea what even caused that reaction.
Aside from that very typical “me” story, Amanda and I had so much fun working out together. We sat down one night, compiled a list of fun workouts for us to do together, and then held each other accountable for doing them. She made it all a lot more bearable!
As for the remaining two weeks that I didn’t exactly make it to the gym four times that week, I still had an incredibly successful, fit week. I realized that it was completely feasible for me to work exercising into my daily routine, and it has now become a habit that will stick. On days when I felt like I hadn’t moved much, I would try to incorporate a workout in in some way. Whether that be running up the nine flights of stairs to get to my dorm room a few times, jogging to lunch instead of taking the bus, or even running downtown to go shopping, I realized that by working in these activities into my daily life, it made it a lot more bearable and efficient to do. Disclaimer: trying on Easter dresses while sweaty is not something I recommend.
Although I maybe didn’t swipe my card at the gym 16 times within the past four weeks, I still feel like I did a hell of a job being more active. I was more conscious of my activity level and made strides to be as active as I could every day, not just the days I had originally planned on.
Drinking Two Water Bottles or More Per Day:
This one wasn’t that hard, actually, and it’s made me feel so much better! I realized that my major downfall was the fact that I would forget to bring a water bottle to class with me each day. If I don’t have a water bottle with me, and I’m not noticeably thirsty, the chances of me buying a water bottle are slim to none. Another major downfall of mine is that, for some reason, I always forget to drink liquid of any kind with my meals.
In order to combat this, I kept a water bottle near my bed for my times not in class, then a water bottle that permanently stayed In my backpack/with me at the gym so that I was always stocked with H20 when needed. I learned that even when I wasn’t thirsty, it’s important to drink. It even became kind of a boredom coping mechanism for me; whenever I started zoning out in class or getting bored, I would drink some water.
Turns out, when you actually start treating your body right, it craves that more and more. I effectively cut out (most) all of my headaches by doing this, my skin is looking a lot better, and I sleep better at night (is this related?)! Plus, if I ever forget to drink for a while now, my body is very noticeably more thirsty which forces me to drink.
Eating a Wholesome Meal (Protein + Veggies) at least Once Per Day:
This one really wasn’t as hard for me to do as I was expecting. I was pretty forgiving, though, but at least I was trying! For instance, if I got a sandwich with turkey and veggies and only ate half the bread, I counted that as “wholesome”, although it probably wasn’t the best I could do. This one kind of took the back burner for me as the month came to a close, in the fact, I stopped keeping track as much. With that said, though, I realized during the beginning of the month the abundance of ways I could satisfy this goal. Because of that, I really think that I came pretty dang close to completing it every day, even if it wasn’t completely conscious.
All in all
With all of that being said, yes it wasn’t a perfect month, but it was a successful one. I paved the way for good habits that will turn into lifestyle changes, and that’s what is most important to me. I think it is absolutely important to set goals for yourself, but I don’t think those goals should be an end-all-be-all. Those goals should be dynamic, they should change and adapt to your progress and who you are. You should be able to reflect upon those goals at the end and say, “Yeah, that was an awesome starting point and it made me strive to better myself. But what now? What did I learn?”
In my case, sure I didn’t meet my goal for each section completely. But I did learn how to adapt my lifestyle to continue this healthy, glowing feeling I’ve loved feeling lately. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that one, and also giving you a pat on your back for accomplishing anything you have lately! We’re all in this together ❤