5 “New You” Challenges, Who Succeeded and Who Failed?

New Year New You

On January 1, five determined staffers of The Makeup Blogger repudiated New Year’s Resolutions, instead committing to self-assigned New You challenges by giving up (or taking on) a habit for 31 days straight. Some of us went with eliminating food choices, while others sought to change their relationship with technology.

Sounds simple and even a bit overdone?

Well, now that the month is over, all we have to say is: It doesn’t matter if January is over, you should definitely try this. Seriously. DO IT! Here’s why:

Kim Do – Meditated, Is Now Zen(ish)

Aside from my rough start on December 31 (see New You link above), I loved incorporating meditation into my life this month waaaaaayyyyy more than I could have hoped. I set out to meditate as my first order of business after getting out of bed every morning. I didn’t allow myself to get on an electronic device until I felt more grounded. This was incredible! I didn’t set out to do this part in the beginning, but it felt right as I began to ease into my routine. It felt like a healthy and esteemable priority to turn inward and arm myself with zen-like vibes instead of absorbing stimulation from the interwebs. There were days I was running late and impulsively started checking my email before meditating. Gotta tell you, it felt like an assault on my senses to immediately begin flipping through my anxiety-provoking, brightly backlit device without being barely able to open my eyes.

Whenever I experienced frustration throughout the day, I paused. Sometimes it took a second, other times a full minute or even ten. Regardless of how long it took, I began to observe my thoughts differently.

I must admit, there were two days when I missed my practice. On one particular night, I tried to meditate in bed and passed out. Perfection is for losers.

I tried a few different meditation apps and the one that works best for me is Headspace. Perhaps it’s the British bloke Darren’s voice leading the practice? To keep myself accountable, I purchased a one-year subscription. In addition, I go to The Den Meditation whenever I can. It’s a great community and it smells lovely.

I am seriously bummed this challenge has come to an end. Shall I pull rank and force everyone to keep at it? Without accountability, I’m not sure how this meditation exercise would have turned out for me.

At least I have Darren to look forward to in the morning. I hope I don’t become bored of his accent anytime soon.

 

January Revival Sarah BanSarah Ban – Shunned Alcohol, Now Richer and Less Socially Awkward

Shockingly enough, foregoing the martini was considerably easier than I thought it’d be. Granted I felt beyond unhealthy come January 1 (thanks, Veuve Clicquot and unplanned New Year’s party at my house), so it swearing off alcohol came naturally the first week thanks to my liver’s demands for some R&R. But even after, I felt zero cravings, not even for red wine with a juicy steak dinner. (Maybe this accountability thing does work!)

By the end of January, I lost two pounds — without changing any other aspect of my lifestyle. Two pounds is 7,000 calories. (!) And I promise weight loss wasn’t even a goal. I just wanted to feel better. Which I do. Not only do I feel more clear-headed, energetic and productive, but I’m also more engaged in social situations; I listen a lot more and no longer have a short attention span during conversations. On top of that, I noticed that people around me started drinking less, too, which makes sense since we humans tend to mirror the behavior of those around us. I’m definitely motivated to cut down on alcohol and use that extra cash on things like upping my monthly retirement contribution and, in light of all the horrifying things occurring as of late, donating to organizations like the ACLU. This is something I’ve always thought about doing but never did — I’m so glad I finally did because it’s basically the easiest thing I’ve ever done to make such a huge impact on all elements of my life. Go me!

 

Jessica Porter – Skipped Noodles, Now Clearer and Brighter

I’m happy to report that during the month of January, nary a noodle — nor muffin nor slice of bread (okay, there was one) — has passed my lips. And like Sarah, I found the experience easier than I’d expected.  The first week was a little weird. Going without flour, I felt slightly naked and ate a lot of potatoes in their stead, but soon I was cooking up whole grains and experiencing lots of clarity.  Clarity is a strange concept, because it requires stepping into another person’s brain, but what I mean is that all types of mental “things” (ideas, dreams, thoughts, feelings) had sharper edges, brighter colors and I made quicker and easier decisions about them. Nothing felt sluggish.  I liked that, and within a couple of weeks, it felt quite normal to be so clear.  

I’d like to continue without flour.  That said, I’m a little afraid to leave the TMB accountability pod, but I will lean on its members casually (a text here or there: “Hey, just ate brown rice for lunch, Sarah!” “Just walked right past a noodle place, Kim!” “Hey Dana, don’t let me eat THAT CROISSANT!”) I mean, come one. What are friends for?

 

Dana Poblete

Dana Poblete – Ditched Her Phone, Still Got Engagement on Tape

Guess what, people? I’m still alive.

I had one moment of panic during the home stretch when I got lost in the Hollywood Hills en route to a video shoot. I had written down the directions before leaving the house (my standard practice for the month), but the labyrinthine streets were just confusing. All it took was rolling (or is it “sliding” now?) my car window down and asking some nice ladies how to get to where I was going. I made it! And I wasn’t even the late one (I’m not naming names but it was our editor-in-chief).

Did I miss my phone otherwise? Not too much, actually. Sometimes it was awkward, though. At work meetings, with everyone on their laptops and phones, I hung back with nothing but a notebook and pen, feeling like a total dork. But then I noticed how much time we waste doing whatever we do on the Internet. I really just wanted to get down to brass tacks. Or maybe, subconsciously, I really just wanted to get home to my phone.

I also hung out with a friend for a whole afternoon and she spent half the time texting. It wouldn’t have felt like such a diss if I had my own distraction in hand. Honestly, I didn’t take it personally, but I couldn’t help but wish she was in the moment with me. That’s the hardest part—even if you want to detach from your phone, connecting with people in real life will probably always be challenging now that being plugged in is just the norm.   

I had one cheat day at the Women’s March in Los Angeles, which coincided with my birthday. I really wanted to be able to find my squad, but the service was shoddy so my phone was useless anyway. That didn’t stop me from checking it every five minutes, just in case. Ugh—regression.

Afterwards, I ditched my phone at home and hit the beach… where my boyfriend proposed! The funny thing is, a stranger ran up and filmed it with an iPhone (turns out my boyfriend asked her to)—disorienting at first, but I’m actually glad she did. After basking in the moment for a long time, with no need or means for an immediate status update or Instagram, I decided to call my mom with my new fiance’s phone. The best thing about our cell phone society: Even if you don’t have one on you, someone else always does.

 

January Revival Erika Brooks AdickmanErika – Stopped Scrolling, Now on a “High”

Here’s something I thought I’d never say at the onset of this challenge: I’m sad for it to be over. You know when people go away they get a “vacation high,” falling in love with their destination city? They fantasize about packing it all in, thinking they’ll get to leave all their “real world” problems behind for good. Well, that’s me right now, not wanting my social media detox to end.

And here’s something else I didn’t expect, within the first week, friends and family were commenting on how much “lighter” I seemed. I felt it too, because my anxiety levels DROPPED (okay, so they spiked a little on January 20). My ability to focus skyrocketed. I felt more present with people and got out of my house and spent time with lots of them. I made new connections and strengthened the ones I had with friends, perhaps because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sit home and have the simulation of being with friends by scrolling through my feed.

I anticipated feeling out of the loop, not just with friends but with the rest of the world. The only time I wished I had been online was on the day of the Women’s March. For one, I had no clue about the Pussy Hats until someone explained them to me the night before. I also wish I could have seen a Facebook or Instagram newsfeed filled with all the people in my life who marched. It would’ve made the day that much more special. It was also the only day I wished I could have been able to share something from my life with the rest of the world. I went from posting anywhere from three to seven times a day across platforms to nothing. I didn’t realize how much I was constantly mining my life for content (or should I say content that hoped get “likes”). When I had an observation or joke I really wanted to tweet, I ended up texting it to a friend instead, which would then turn into an actual conversation.

Accountability truly is key, and there was something nice about being able to explain the detox to people as an “assignment.” I expected everyone to roll their eyes, but instead they echoed a similar sentiment about wanting to figure out a way to stay from their feeds. This challenge also made me totally rethink New Year’s Resolutions. When we think about doing something for an entire year it feels daunting. A month, however, is perfect because you know there’s an end to it, so you can make it through those “white knuckle” moments.

Vacation high or not, for now, I like it here. Please have the post office forward all my mail.

We’re a month deep into 2017. How are you doing with your resolutions? Tell us now!

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