The 26 Challenge - Part 1

img_3581 Yesterday I let you in on my one New Year's Resolution and introduced The 26 Challenge. Read more about it here. I'm setting myself up for a lifetime of success by tackling healthy habits two weeks at a time.

Brainstorming 26 new habits was a pretty daunting task, so I cut that in half. Like I said in my previous post, I cut that in half to 13. Again, I'm more motivated than freaked out by 6 months of big changes. I'm putting dates with them because I'm a temporal person. I like to know times and have a plan. I'm also giving myself the time and space to work on habits longer if I need to. If I'm struggling with a habit, then I'll alter my timeline and give myself a week or longer to really get it down.

Establish a morning routine (January 1 - 14) 

  • Wake up and get out of bed on time
  • Prepare a healthy breakfast
  • Give myself enough time to read, journal, and prepare for the day
  • Give myself enough time to get dressed, fix my hair, and look presentable
  • Leave for work on time or even a few minutes early

By establishing a morning routine, I'll leave my house less frantic and more prepared to make good decisions throughout the day. When I sleep as long as I can and leave myself 15 minutes to get dressed and get out the door, I'm not setting myself up for good choices.

Consistently track food, water, and emotions (January 15 - 28)

The two podcasts I listen to every week always say that the first step to a healthy lifestyle change is tracking. Tracking food and water intake and how food makes you feel as well as if you were actually hungry or eating just to eat. This is how you learn about yourself! In the past, I've used a food tracking journal, but this time I'm going to commit to using My Fitness Pal - mrsjjcampbell

Move my body every other day (January 29 - February 11)

  • Take Buddy for a walk
  • Do a Cize video, a youtube workout, or bodyweight exercises

Successfully meal plan and prep food (February 12 - 25)

  • Set aside time once a week to make a meal plan and grocery list
  • Significantly limit eating out

We all know the phrase, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" and I think that's totally true. I'm meal planning almost every week. I don't necessarily enjoy it, but I LOVE the results. I like knowing what I could make for dinner and that we'll have leftovers for lunch. When we did Whole 30 (almost a year ago!) that was the first time we didn't eat out. Prior to then, we ate out multiple times a week. That experience showed us that not only could we make all of our meals, but we started viewing eating out as restaurants as a special occurrence and not just a normal thing. We also liked saving the $$! Also, we all know that eating at home is not only cheaper than restaurant food but significantly healthier.

Consume dessert once a week (February 26 - March 11)

I'll be totally honest. I want dessert every day and 9 times out of 10 I indulge every day. By pushing sweets and treats to only once a week, I will significantly lower my overall calorie intake, plus all the other benefits of eating less sugar. I want to be realistic. I know that if I say, "no more desserts, ever" that will only set me up to fail. So, I'm starting out by looking forward to dessert once a week.

Order well at restaurants (March 12 - 25)

Yes, we will be eating a home significantly more, but we will still eat out. I've always had the mindset when going to restaurants that this food is special and I can have whatever I want. Basically, in my mind, that eating out is a free-for-all celebration where I could have burgers and fries just because. There are SO many healthier options that I could choose from! This is going to be a tricky one for me!

Drink Water and Coffee Only (March 26 - April 8)

I'm balancing out the difficultness of the previous week with an easy one. I'm kind of already doing this. Every now and then I'll get a half sweet, half unsweet tea (Southern girl!) or drink half a can of diet coke, but I want to totally eliminate that. Also, I put way too much sugar and creamer in my coffee, so I'm planning to decrease that as well.

Consume carbs only at dinner time (April 9 - 22) 

This is something I got from the Primal Potential Podcast. I trust Elizabeth. She's one of the voices in my head! She explains this so well. This will be another tricky one because this girl loves sandwiches at lunch and oatmeal and cereal at breakfast time. Yall pray for me!

Consistently journal and reflect (April 23 - May 6) 

  • re-focus tracking habits and morning routine
  • spend time at night reflecting on the day and write out gratitudes
  • check-in spiritually

There is a direct link in focusing on gratitude when making lifestyle changes. By this point, a lot in my life will look different. Knowing myself, I'll want to revert back to old ways, but by focusing on gratitude that will help me stay motivated!

Put effort into appearance (May 7 - 20) 

I think that by putting a little more effort into your appearance, then you're setting yourself up for success. If I stay in my pj's all day, then I'm less motivated to get up and get out. If I dress a little nicer and don't look sloppy, I'll be more productive.

Keep a tidy house (May 21 - June 3) 

Less clutter and mess = a less cluttered and frantic JJ. If the kitchen is clean, I'm more apt to prepare a meal. If the laundry is put away, I feel more put together and in charge. I really liked this blog post about clutter. 

Try new recipes and vegetables (June 4 - 17)

I can easily get into a recipe rut where I make the same thing over and over. Luke and I are pretty adventurous eaters and aren't' afraid to try new food so over these two weeks I'll challenge myself to find new recipes! Also, it's peak vegetable season, so I'll incorporate new veggies!

Consume dessert every other week (June 18 - July 1)

By this point, I'll have dessert down to once a week. What's one more week?

Start a weight lifting program (July 2 - 15) 

Yes, I could start lifting weights now. I know I don't have to wait until July to start lifting weights, but I want to get my body to a better place before going to the gym. It sounds like I'm putting it off, but I'm not. I'm not afraid of going to the gym or of lifting weights, I just want to have these other habits in place before introducing something so new.

There it is! This is part 1 of The 26 Challenge. Come along with me! You can make your own version of The Challenge 26! I'll be posting on Instagram with #the26challenge and you should totally join in with the fun!