No. 63

4 Challenges, 40 Days


I like to say that I don’t make resolutions, I make plans — and I have some grand plans this year. But during the last few days, I realized I need to give myself some challenges as well. So here I am. While there are many differing accounts on how long it takes to form a new habit (from 21 to 66 days), 40 days sounded like a good amount of time to start.* As for the challenges, I plan to:

1. To celebrate my body. I’m going to give myself a diet challenge and go low-sugar. I’ve been eating gluten-free for some time and loving it, but I break down when I see cookies and cupcakes and the like. Processed foods and baked goods are out. Fresh and dried fruit — as well as dark chocolate — stay in. This is not about weight loss, but rather doing what I can to feel vibrantly alive in my body. I’ve done months of being vegan or vegan and gluten-free (that was a tough one) and low sugar feels like the right way to go this time. But because this is about my body, there will also be some exercise or movement incorporated every day, whether it be a walk, a barre class, time at the gym, or archery practice, as well as daily meditations (which technically I’m already doing).

2. To clear some space. I’m one of the several million people that spends way too much time on social media sites like Facebook. Especially Facebook. So for the next 40 days, I’m restricting myself to no more than 10 minutes on Facebook, once a day. (Seriously, just writing this triggered my response to log on.)

3. To strengthen my belief in myself and the Universe. Gabrielle Bernstein’s newest book May Cause Miracles arrived in the mail yesterday and I’m psyched to get started. Couple that with Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map which I’ve been working through and I’ve got my inspiration covered! (Also check out Danielle’s book The Fire Starter Sessions. It’s amazing.)

4. To be unabashedly me. My entire life I’ve been concerned with what other people think of me, how they perceive me, what they’re saying about me. So, to start, for the next 40 days, I’m going to remind myself that the only person who matters is myself. If a dress doesn’t make me feel gorgeous, I’m not wearing it. If I want to do some wild and crazy, I will. I’m going to be entirely true to myself.

I’ll make sure to update you every week — follow me on Twitter or Facebook to find out more.

What resolutions or challenges have you issued yourself this year? And if you’re willing to give yourself a challenge (or 4) for the next 40 days, what will it be? (I’d love if you joined me on this adventure.)

*In truth, May Cause Miracles is a 40-day guide, which made tailoring everything else to that time period seem like the right thing to do.

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

13 thoughts on “4 Challenges, 40 Days

  1. Brandi, these are great challenges! I really hear you about the processed food! I have a weakness for chips and bars. it always taste good going down but afterwards crash and burn. b and i are really trying to eat a more whole food centered diet. it’s easy and then it’s hard.
    Also, i really want to have a stronger physical body this year. so, i need to make time to exercise. i did this morning and it made a world of difference.
    I completely need to practice 2-4 more, too. Especially #3.

  2. This is an inspired idea. I never do resolutions either. People are always focusing on things that are fads or that aren’t really true to who they are, that don’t challenge or encourage growth. I actually did a post last week on my 12 memories of 2012 and 13 goals for 2013. Just little things for this year I’d like to accomplish and add to my life. One of the biggest ones for my is yoga. It’s not just excercise to me, it’s more like meditation.

    I’m totally with you on the sugar issue. I think that’s the one I’d focus on the most for the next 40 days. I feel like since Christmas I’ve been doing better though. I think one of my biggest problems at work is I never look forward to my lunch so I tend to snack all day. So I’ve started indulging a little and spending $12-15 at Trader Joe’s every week on 3 or 4 individual salads that are fresh and yummy. And I only allow myself to snack on powerberries (a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate snack). I just have to be careful at night. That’s when I really crave sugar.

    Good luck on your challenges!

  3. Oh I love that you’re doing this and wish you all the luck in the world on your 40-day journey (and hopefully beyond). I might join you on your challenge, but will have to think about what I’d want to take on or at least narrow things down. I usually overwhelm myself with all the pieces of me that I want to improve and end up fizzling out too soon. Tomorrow’s my birthday and I usually take that as a start to my new year.

    The Facebook thing would be a giant challenge for me since I also feel it zaps so much time and energy from me and leaves me feeling no more productive. The two that really resonated with me are celebrating my body and being okay with letting myself shine no matter if I’m alone or surrounded by others. That’s always been a toughie for someone who just wants to go unnoticed, but ends up feeling so trapped and unhappy.

  4. I love this idea! I have an idea for my blog about trying something new, so yesterday I signed up to yoga glo. Part of me is thinking “How long is this going to last?”, so perhaps I should look at setting a minimum of 40 days and join you on your quest that way. Hmmm…. I admit Facebook is a big one for me too. I can completely turn off with it for a week at a time or so, but when I’m back on it, it feels like an addictive pull. I’m not sure I could stick to ten minutes, but I love the idea of setting an amount of time. I will have to work out what amount works and yet still challenges me. Time audit required.
    I love number 4 too. It sounds wonderful in relation to our conversations. Go girl! I can’t wait to hear what happens as a result of the challenge. (I will email you back as soon as I can too.) x

  5. i’m a clean eating gluten-free vegan, so i TOTALLY get you on the “that’s crazy hard” front. but, i just wanted to reach out and say that eliminating/lowering the refined sugars is a HUGE win – both mentally and physically. over the holidays i found myself way way off track (read: double fisting gingerbread men and drowning myself in mulled wine). it was a delicious and wonderful mistake.

    but, come January, i felt terrrrrible. my body has serious issues processing and dealing with a buildup of sugar and gluten and it was calling for action. i joined a cleanse through my yoga studio to kick-start and it was been a sigh of relief for my mind and body. the first three days were hell (like for real) with crazy headaches and aches and general crabbiness, but on day 4, today, i am feeling like a rockstar. i’m kelly kapowski on her best day.

    anyways, all of this to say that i wish you luck in your endeavors. your focuses are noble ones and align very much with goals i’ve set for myself.



  6. This is great, Brandi!! This post is so refreshing and inspiring… just like you : ) I’ve been hearing a lot about “May Cause Miracles” – please do let me know what you think of it once you get through it. Each one of your points definitely sounds attainable and something I’m sure just about everyone could work on. Your facebook comment struck a bell in me, but honestly, they all did. I feel like I’ve gotten a bit off track and I’m going to do my best to get back on my path or at least find an even better one this year. Thank you, as always.

  7. what a great new year’s challenge! you definitely hit the mark in that you chose challenges that both cover the mind and the body. i’ll definitely like to follow along as you make your way through the year with these thoughtful intentions. i didn’t make too many resolutions, but one key one, is that i’m giving up soda for the whole year. i don’t think i can do without sugar entirely, but soda is bad vice that i’m happy to ditch even if it’s a struggle.

  8. i love your plans! and, i’m going to check out the books you mentioned in #3!

    p.s. yes yes yes to you coming over and cooking and hanging out when you are back in ca!! i’ll be your sou chef! :)

  9. I hear ya on the social media front. I want to wean myself off so bad. But since it’s part of my job to be on it nonstop (which I love to do for my job), it’s tough to get my own personal self off there. I need to be more self-disciplined I guess.

    As for gluten – our household is on that path too now. Miss bread so much, but I remind myself how crappy I feel when I eat it, and that helps. Plus there is some decent GF bread out there now, so that helps too.

    And finally, re: #4, remember that you are an awesome, intelligent, and good-hearted person – what other people think of you is their own damn business. Let them worry about it.

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