17 Challenges In ’17: #3 Is Done, #4 Begins

I might be in danger of going off into the weeds, as they say, regarding my 17 challenges in ’17. Perhaps it’s not so much as I’ve been going astray as it is that I’m just not meeting the challenges as I hoped I would. And is that the real problem … too much hope and not enough decisive action.

If you’re a new reader or not sure what I’m referring to, here’s a brief refresher. Rather than defining resolutions, goals, or intentions for 2017, I developed 17 challenges through which I hope to break a few bad habits as well as instill some better ones. Each challenge is for three weeks and then I move onto the next one. Below is the list and schedule of the challenges as they stand today. There’ve been no changes from the schedule that appeared in the last post. The challenge that just ended was “7 hours of sleep every night” and the one that started last week is “no snooze on morning alarm”.

The fitness tracker I wear has a sleep monitor among its feature so keeping a log of my sleep time is easy. However, achieving the goal of 7 hours a night was not which is nearly beyond comprehension considering how much control I have in this area. I no longer have young children who will wake me in the middle of the night,  I don’t have noisy neighbors with dogs that bark at all hours, nor do I have insomnia or other health problems that impede sleep.  Truly, the reason I don’t get a full 7 hours of sleep every night is because I just don’t get myself into bed early enough in consideration of time when I need to get up in the morning.

Even the heighten awareness of this character flaw during the last challenge didn’t make much of difference. During the three weeks of the challenge, I clocked in only 6 nights out of 21 where I got at least 7 hours of sleep. I’d had done the same in the three week period prior to this challenge. My average time of sleep was a little bit higher during the challenge period which I guess shows some effort but overall, I think it was a disappointing outcome.

I’m not giving up, I just need to keep striving for improvement. And to emphasize this point, I’m sharing yet another styling for my leopard pants and little black jacket that I featured in my Up Down All-Around post for February. In this look, I’ve chosen my botanical print tunic (seen first here) and a pair of strappy wedge sandals.

So back on point, it’s a known fact that chronic sleep deprivation has been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. I know that when I’m sleep deprived I tend to eat more than I should and it’s not the healthy stuff, either. I have tricks to compensate for morning fog brain like a set of standard routines I follow to ensure that I don’t forget one of my “get ready for the day” steps when I’m really too tired to function. Insufficient sleep can add years to your look because of the effect on your skin and generally lack of alertness. And the scariest impact is the risk of nodding off at the wheel (and my hour plus commutes are already brutal as it is).

So why with all of this knowledge, has it been so hard for me to get 7 hours of sleep? I think that some of it may be due to FOMO, whether it be a television show or social media. Another is that it can be hard to just call it a day and stop, no matter what. Have you ever noticed that there is an odd energy that comes from being overtired that seems to be missing when you’re well-rested? It’s addictive, isn’t it?

A popular theory from the 1960’s says that it takes 3 weeks to break a bad habit and adapt to a new one. I suppose that might be true if you are just adjusting to a new routine, like the new route after you’ve moved but a habit is a habit for a reason. It feels good, or perhaps comfortable, even if it’s bad for you. To get rid of a bad habit, one must also get rid of the pleasure derived from the habit and learn to accept and enjoy the comfort/pleasure of the good habit.

I’ll continue to work on getting into a regular habit of 7 hours of sleep a night as I continue to work on logging at least 250 steps each hour. I held fast on the first challenge for one month which was better than I thought I’d do and I’m much more mindful of my shopping habits now.

Challenge #4 is focused on a habit that is more about mindset than anything else and related in a way to Challenge #3. Besides the sleep monitor, my fitness wearable also has an alarm/reminder feature where it vibrates and of course, the alarm has a snooze. The alarm is quite effective in waking me up and I would set the time ambitiously to give myself plenty of time get in 3 or 4 snooze cycles. Why was I doing this instead of actually sleeping until the time I needed to get up?

I think that the reason may be rooted in the popular notion that we wake up tired instead of refreshed. With a regular dosing of 7 hours of sleep, I should be feel refreshed in the morning when the alarm goes off hence the reason for this challenge. So far, I’ve only slipped one day so I think I may have more success with this challenge.

More on this subject and the results of this current challenge will be covered in the next 17 Challenges in ’17 post. Until then, I hope that you’re succeeding with the goals/intentions/resolutions you made for 2017 and I’d love it if shared about them.

Let’s connect! Subscribe, tweet, follow, friend, love, pin, stumble … all options are available and waiting for you. I look forward to hearing from you. And don’t forget to take a gander at last Saturday’s link up if you haven’t done so already.


21 thoughts on “17 Challenges In ’17: #3 Is Done, #4 Begins”

  1. You’re saying you get less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis and you look that good??? I’m so jealous–but in a good way. I need about 9 hours of sleep to feel my most productive and look my best. Needless to say, that doesn’t happen often enough. But what a great idea to even become mindful of it, to actually *try* to get 7 hours of sleep instead of just hoping it’ll happen one day. I saw several other challenges on your list that would be good for me to try as well.

    With or without enough sleep, you’ve put together a very fine example of pattern-mixing in your outfit. That’s one of my favorite things in the world of style. It’s not something I grew up doing so when I see it done well, I get all giddy. Your outfit makes me giddy.


    1. Sherry, you’re so kind and you’re compliments have made me giddy! I adore pattern mixing as well but sometimes I worry if I’ve crossed the line between being stylish and just throwing shit together.

  2. Although it’s gallant, virtuous and bold to a create a goal to achieve each month it’s a whole other deal to actually accomplish everything on this 12 item (?) list. Honestly Rena, I felt daunted just looking at your list!!
    I hope you’re not being too harshly critical of yourself when it takes longer than a month to form the new habit. Self improvement is a lifetime endeavor in so many ways.
    I wish you well on this journey and highly recommend loving yourself well as you strive, falter, succeed, reassess and remain committed to improving your quality of life.

    1. Marilee, you’re so right and I am striving to not be overly critical of myself (I had a mother to do that for most of my life). I’m totally on-board with loving myself and I’ll talking about a big change in that direction in a few weeks. Thanks always for your continued support!

    1. Nancy, I was able to resist buying clothing, shoes, and/or accessories for myself for one month which was better than I thought I might do.

  3. Best of luck on your challenges! Thank you Rena for sharing this post at Wednesday AIM Link Party at Grammy’s Grid. I shared it on social media. Hope you get lots of traffic!

  4. Rena, I love that you decided to go with this sort of a goal based challenge for your New Years resolutions. I gave up even trying, because I almost never stick to it. This, somehow, seems a little more friendly…different challenges, three weeks….I don’t know….maybe it is just mind over matter, but it seems a little more doable! Ha, ha. I love your outfit! Great print mixing! – Amy

    1. Amy, I think that I learned from last year’s crash and burn with my 16 Goals for 2016 to set more realistic expectations and I seem to be doing better this year. Thanks for the outfit love!

  5. I was excited about the challenge, and quickly headed over to check it out. I don’t think I could make it past Number 1. How are long are we supposed to endure, lol. Good luck with everything, and please share it on Sunday’s Best Linkup. Others may want to join in.

  6. Some of your challenges are really tough, Rena and I applaud your determination. Sleep is not only important to get our brain properly function, but to maintain our beauty too, lol. In saying that, love your leopard print pants and the jacket, great outfit

    1. Anna, I appreciate the encouragement. I think that the hardest of all of the challenges may be giving up sugar for three weeks. Thanks for outfit love, too.

  7. I’m exactly the same when it comes to going to bed at a sensible time – I either find something interesting on TV late at night or I’m on social media/working on the blog. I know I should be more disciplined, because even when I’m not working I still have to get up for the school run. I did manage to not buy any new clothes or accessories during January, and apart from buying some new stuff for my holiday I am being very good. Hopefully I can keep it up because I’ve run out of room in my wardrobe!

    Emma xxx

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