#30DaysofDope - July 2017 Update
July felt like training wheels, honestly.

More specifically, that point where you're feeling like a confident, two-wheelin' pro, and literally BEG to have the training wheels taken off your bike because, you got this.

And then you fall.

But even though you fell, you fell forward. It stings, hurts your pride a lil' bit, but ultimately results in growth.

Yep, that's July in a nutshell.

Here's why.

Healthy Eating
At this point in the game, I'm a #mealprep pro, and pretty much addicted to grilling protein. Meal prepping is literally a part of my life at this point. Monday thru Thursday is never the problem. The problem - consistency, and without fail - is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admittedly, I meal prep to last the duration of the work week (Monday-Friday lunchtime), and pretty much spend the weekend in a freefall.

I'll be the first to admit that you can easily undo a week's worth of disciplined eating and hard work in a weekend at Cheesecake Factory, Hooters, BJ's, Lucille's, and everywhere else. For the larger part of July, that's been the struggle. My only saving grace has been Friday being a cheat/higher macro day, which offsets some of the damage from the rest of the weekend (or at least I'd like to think so).

The end result, to be honest, is me feeling like I'm "starting over" to regain the previous week's progress every Monday.

And this is where my re-investment in Avatar Nutrition comes in.

#30DaysofDope - July 2017 Update

Back in March, I took a leap of faith and signed myself up for Avatar Nutrition, seeking increased accountability, support, and more targeted approach to nutrition in support of my fitness goals. I'm in no way sponsored by Avatar Nutrition, and surely do pay my $9.99 per month like every other member. I used it diligently from March to April, and pretty much fell off until July (all while still paying for it😑).

At the top of July, I checked in, updated my profile, and got knee deep into the private Facebook group. This time around, I'm committed to getting every penny of my $9.99 from Avatar Nutrition. So far, I've been sticking to my weekly check-ins, and working to become more compliant with my macros. It's a struggle, but I'll get there.

Working Out
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I kicked off late June starting a workout routine from BodyBuilding.com called Charlie Mike, with Ashley Horner. I was looking for a targeted workout program that was going to stretch me, challenge me, and teach me.

#30DaysofDope - July 2017 Update

And let me tell you - I got just that. Because of travel and a few other commitments, I'm about 2 weeks behind completion on the program. I should've been done earlier, but I'm finishing week 6 of 6 this week. Charlie Mike is not a workout program for a beginner, or for the faint of heart - there are some pretty intense and pretty heavy lifts involved. There's even some workout moves that I struggled through or skipped altogether because they were above my capabilities (looking at you burpees, man makers, and wall walks).

And while I'm proud of myself for learning some new moves - barbell thrusters, push presses, clean & jerk, kettlebell windmills and more - I won't lie. I miss fundamental stuff like curls, and rows, and lat pulldowns and whatnot. As this is my final week of Charlie Mike, I'm on the prowl for a new program that will continue to challenge me with crossfit/powerlifting moves combined with more traditional exercises.

#30DaysofDope - July 2017 Update

Of the entire 6 week program, I only pressed "skip workout" twice - which ain't too shabby if you ask me. Overall, I'm proud of myself for getting uncomfortable, trying new things, and pushing past moves I didn't think I could do.

Habit Building
One of the MAJOR things I lacked during previous #30DaysofDope cycles was a true mechanism for habit building. I've long since proven to myself that just writing down goals was not effective enough for me. In fact, I revealed in this post that I couldn't even find my dang goal journal in July. Not only did I completely re-write my 2017 goals over mid-year, I came up with a more decisive plan of attack to support them.

That's where this newfangled (to me) app called Productive comes in. It's literally an app devoted to helping you create and track habits and goals. I went ahead and splurged $3.99 for the full version, and I'm so happy I did. Since the day I installed it, I've been on a mission - breaking down each goal into daily or weekly habits that I know will ultimately lead to my success.

I'll dive into this app more in a future post, but for now just know - I have reminders set for everything from make our bed, to track my macros and drink water.

Interested in seeing what the Productive app is all about? Click here to check it out!

Progress
Folks usually drop progress pics for likes and accolades, but I'm not interested in all of that. This is about two things - accountability, and tracking visible progress. I'm not ashamed to admit that a whole lot didn't change in July. Because, training wheels. Anywho, I'll be dropping month-to-month comparison shots, in an effort to more consistently track my journey.

#30DaysofDope - July 2017 Update

Highlights
There were some definite wins in July. I managed to:
+ Set NEW goals for 2017
+ Stick to my weekly check-ins with Avatar Nutrition
+ Make it to week 6 of Charlie Mike
+ Create a system of developing new habits for myself
+ Drop 3.4% body fat (based on measurements tracked by Avatar)

Challenges
+ I set a goal to lose 7lbs per month. My beginning and end of the month weight didn't really change, but my measurements did a little bit. It's not a total L, but August definitely leaves room for opportunities.
+ I was out of compliance with my set macros for the majority of July.
+ Even with my Productivity app, there are some days where I skip out on meeting my water intake goal, drinking my ACV, or even forget to track macros.

August Game Plan
As I said in the beginning of the blog post, July was all about training wheels - getting back in the groove of things. August, I'm turning things up a notch. My game plan is to:
+ Find a new workout plan to pick up where Charlie Mike left off - integrating traditional weight exercises with crossfit style lifts
+ Be compliant with my macros for at least 60% of August thru September 1 (Fridays are my check-in days for Avatar Nutrition)
+ Have a PERFECT month streak with my Productive app - meaning I hit every goal, every day.

Wish me luck guys! I can't wait to see where I land in September!

Want more day-to-day information on my journey? Follow me on Instagram!

July felt like training wheels, honestly. More specifically, that point where you're feeling like a confident, two-wheelin' pro,...

What's Been Going On? The NEW #30DaysofDope

:::blows dust off blog:::

Is anybody still here? Y'all checking for #30DaysofDope online and on Instagram, or nah? If you unfollowed me because you figured this was a hobby/fad that came, went, and was abandoned - I can't blame you.

But at least let me explain what's happened since March.

I fell off - HARD. Like, got so set in my old ways that it almost seemed like any progress I made was long gone. My gym motivation waned. My energy dipped. I literally did whatever I wanted - and paid the price dearly in terms of falling short of my goals.

It's a tough pill to swallow, but I have to own the fact that I wasted 3 months that could have brought me so much closer to my goals.

So I thought long and hard, prayed, and bounced ideas off my official sounding board AKA Samuel. We both agreed that the concept of #30DaysofDope was solid, but my execution/vision was off balance. The biggest problem? Limiting "cycles" to 30 days.

By creating challenges/cycles, I set myself and everyone else up for failure. If lifestyle changes are truly my goal, then the methodology needs to reflect that. It wasn't until late June that I had an *aha* moment -

A month is roughly 30 days. So in theory, #30DaysofDope still works. The flaw was in the lack of continuity - not checking in, challenging, and ultimately changing myself until the mood struck me again. Bouncing around to arbitrary months ultimately meant one thing (which I had proven to myself time and time again) - that I would be on point for 30 days, fall off the wagon, and have to pick myself back up again. I don't need a blog, challenge, or Instagram page dedicated to that! I can follow that cycle all on my own! 😂

So here's the shift - no more cycles. No more solicitations to join me. No more blueprints and guidelines. I'm lasering in on my strengths, and sticking close to the model that has worked for The Mane Objective for so many years - to be a journal and a resource. So here's what you can expect from #30DaysofDope:
+ Monthly check-ins and progress updates
+ Recipe shares
+ Reviews (fitness/healthy lifestyle/food/supplements and more)
+ Tool & resource sharing
+ More activity on Instagram (yay!)
+ Healthy living info, inspo, and more!

What you may have noticed, is that I've pulled away from the content focused on mental and spiritual health. Don't get it twisted - I'm still very much working on both, and there's a chance that in the future I may share things related to those journeys. But for right now, I want to use this blog to document and share more tangible, visible things. I'm still very open to discussing both, and if you've got any questions, you can always hit me at christina[at]30daysofdope.com.

All this being said, part 2 is coming later today. I've got some exciting updates to share for July!

:::blows dust off blog::: Is anybody still here? Y'all checking for #30DaysofDope online and on Instagram , or nah? If you unfollow...

#30DaysofDope Week 2 and 3 Update

During Week 2 of #30DaysofDope, I somehow managed to be not dope... I didn't post anything! I didn't e-mail you guys, barely posted to Instagram...I mean sheesh!

My bad.

I didn't mean to leave you guys high and dry. So as to not be late two weeks in a row, I'm combining my week 2 and 3 update to share with you guys - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the delicious.

Let's dive in!

Dope Mind
Am I the only one wrestling with Necessary Endings right now? Although I've read much further into the book, I find myself stewing around Chapter 4. The title alone is a gut punch -
When Stuck Is the New Normal: The Difference Between Pain with a Purpose and Pain for No Good Reason
Listen.

Currently, I'm assessing that thing we talked about a few weeks ago via e-mail - yep, The Mane Objective. After a long, hearty conversation with Samuel, I'm trying to determine whether it's a necessary ending, or if I've succumbed to "learned helplessness". According to Dr. Cloud, learned helpnessness is "a condition in which the person adapts to the misery because they feel there is nothing they can do about it."

In the learned helplessness model, we interpret events in a negative way, seeing them as personalized (I'm what's wrong), pervasive (everything about this is wrong), and then permanent (nothing is going to change). In learned helplessness, we shut down in the face of things we can't control - to the point that we do not execute the activities and outcomes that we can control.

Was I hasty in my decision making and declaration about the future of my blog? Maybe. My goal for the weekend is to execute the activity on page 57 and:

  • Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns
  • In column 1, write down all the things that I cannot control that are affecting me as it relates to my blog/business
  • In column 2, write down all the things I do have control over
  • Take action on the column 2 items
If you're hitting a wall with a particular area of your life, please do feel free to join me in this activity. We'll push through together!

Dope Body
Can I brag a lil' bit?

I'm PROUD AF of myself!!!! I said I was going to workout 8x/week, and after falling 1 workout short during week 1, I went #beastmode for weeks 2 and 3! It feels SO good to set an uncomfortable goal and smash the crap out of it. Two weeks in a row, at that! Well, almost. It's Saturday morning of week 3, and I've already hit 7 of my 8 workouts - including one at 4:30am (lol). I've got all of today and tomorrow to make it do what it do - so I'm 137% sure I'll hit my goal between today and tomorrow. Heck, I might even go super ham and hit 9 workouts! I'll keep you guys posted via e-mail!

#30DaysofDope Week 2 and 3 Update

Meal prepping has been meal prepping has been meal prepping - has been meal prepping. No new news - except I've been obsessed with broccoli for like 3 weeks. Other than that, meal prep has become second nature to me. I'll be sure to do a post soon about #MealPrep101 to help those of you guys looking to get on board with this time saving practice!

I've been trying my best to go 80/20 with my Avatar Nutrition macros, and I won't lie - it's a day-to-day struggle. Eating meal preps is easy, but consuming enough protein is HARD. Some days, despite how delicious my Syntha-6 Edge is, I just don't can't even. And there are times, like womanly events, that throw you off course in a real way. I've learned to just go with the flow (ha!), and bounce back later. It's all a process.

Dope Spirit
I don't have a whole lot to say here, because I've been at peace for the most part. But I do have my moments where doubt and comparison envy creep in. In those moments, I take a look at my screenshot from Chase The Lion and let it marinatemarinate - The God who did it before can do it again. 

When I find myself frustrated, upset, or feeling down about not being where I thought I'd be by now, I take a moment to look how FAR God has brought me from where I was. I've seen in my own life how God has moved, promoted, blessed, sustained, made a way, and been gracious and merciful toward me. His track record in my life is flawless. 

In those moments when I'm preparing to RSVP for the Pity Party, I challenge myself to stop, remember, and celebrate all that God has done.

And then I find peace :)

How have the past two weeks been for you? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an e-mail at christina[at]30daysofdope.com! Enjoy the weekend fam!

During Week 2 of #30DaysofDope, I somehow managed to be not dope... I didn't post anything! I didn't e-mail you guys, barely post...

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017

I'm a few days behind in posting this, but can you believe we're about to walk into week 2 already? This cycle is flying by.

And even though Daylight Saving Time is giving me the business right now, I wanted to make sure this post (and my #DopeFam email) made it out before Monday rolled around.

My first full week (and some change, since we technically started mid-week) was full of ups and downs - and I'm pretty sure i'm not the only one.

Let's dive in.

Dope Mind
Reading Necessary Endings again is blessing me in ways I didn't think possible. It's funny how you can read a book during one season of your life, and then read it again at another time, and it takes on a totally different meaning. That's exactly where I am with Necessary Endings. When I first came across the book about 6 years ago, I was reading through the lens of  necessary endings for relationships. In this season, I'm reading with my business lenses on, but also finding ways this applies to my fitness/wellness journey, too.

As I mull over and absorb the content of Necessary Endings (I'll go deeper in my e-mail with you guys!), I always return to one central point -

Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (I don't know who said it) - every next level of your life will demand a different version of you.

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017


In the coming days, I'll be asking myself a few tough questions about my focus, my time, where I'm directing my energy, and if it all aligns with my goals and God's plan. I've got a feeling I'm not going to like some of the answers I'll have for myself...

But that's what Necessary Endings is about, right? Taking an honest self inventory and learning to proactively end things before they're allowed to siphon off resources that could have been devoted to to other areas of our lives that would bear more fruit (or roses).

What things in your life is Necessary Endings challenging you to confront? Let me know in the comments below!

Dope Body
In my first e-mail to you guys, I shared that my goals are to follow the 80/20 rule for eating according to my macros, and working out 8x per week. Let's break that down some more, and shed some light on what actually happened.

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017

I had a heart-to-heart with myself about my eating habits, what worked, what didn't, and how I can create positive progress for myself that sticks beyond this cycle. I realized that my previous meal plan set my carbs way low - and for me, a carb lover, that's simply not sustainable over the long term. I took a leap and signed up for Avatar Nutrition - it costs $10 a month, and I'm giving it a go just for this cycle of #30DaysofDope. If I end up liking my results/progress, I'll keep going. If not, I'll be a'cancelling!

The craziest difference between my previous numbers with MyFitnessPal and Avatar Nutrition is that even though I've set my goal target for "fast fat loss", my calorie and macro totals are still wayyyyy higher than they were. It's a mental thing that I'm trying to wrap my mind around - eating more to actually lose fat and build/maintain lean mass and strength. I got so alarmed that I e-mailed the Avatar Nutrition CEO (because I'm extra like that lol), and expressed my concerns. Mark was super responsive, broke the information down for me, and just asked that I trust the system. So I'ma trust the system until 30 days is up. I'll do a full review of Avatar Nutrition once my first month is up - but for now, just know I'm throwing back BSN Syntha-6 Edge (Strawberry Milkshake is to DIE for!) protein shakes and Isopure drinks (love mango peach!) like a mad woman.

#30DaysofDope Week 1 Update - March 2017
Tastes just like Strawberry Nesquik. Y'all have NO idea. I'm HOOKED!
Meal prep is still in effect though - no changes there. Making it happen one lil' black container at a time. I haven't stopped meal prepping since the September 2016 cycle of #30DaysofDope - it's a habit now (in a good way)!

Now, about this workout thing. I decided that in order to break through my plateau and really go next level with my fitness goals, that I needed to do something that I've never done before. Make myself uncomfortable. Like really uncomfortable. So I decided to commit myself to working out 8 times per week. Yes, I know there are only 7 days in a week - so to avoid being in the gym every single day, I'm doubling up and doing two-a-days on some days. Gave myself a "trial run" from February 27th thru March 5th, and I hit 7 out of 8 days. The first full week of March (6th thru 12th), I hit 7 days again. In truth, this past week was a rough one. Family emergencies and special assignments took me off my rhythm, but I hung in there and did the best I could. In fact, as I write this, I made a conscious decision not to make today (Sunday March 12th) workout #8. Not that I didn't want to actually meet my goal, but I had to be honest. I'm late in getting this blog post up, late in sending my week 1 e-mail out, and I need to go to the grocery store to buy veggies and meat for #MealPrepMonday. I decided that instead of hitting workout #8, it would be much more beneficial for my sanity (and stress levels) to do the things I need to do in preparation for a successful week.

Plus, Lord willing - I'll be in the gym bright and early Monday morning.

Dope Spirit
HOW DOPE WAS CHASE THE LION THOUGH?! Oh my God, this second reading around blessed me in a mighty way! If you're anything like me, you've got several screenshots of various quotes from the devotional text. MAN. I was totally blown away again. I love it when two seemingly unrelated texts "talk" to each other - I totally believe in confirmation and I'm convinced that God put it on my heart to re-read Chase The Lion while re-reading Necessary Endings.

For me, the gut-check is knowing that God has put me on a path to achieve the goals and dreams He's given me - but there are some things, some detractors, some behaviors, practices, and projects that I've got to put down to actualize all that He has planned for me. I've got to assess and execute some necessary endings in order to give full chase to my lions.

Throughout the rest of the month, I'll be sharing some of my most memorable takeaways from Chase The Lion here and via e-mail with my #DopeFam. Stay tuned!

How did the first week of #30DaysofDope work out for you? Let me know in the comments below!

I'm a few days behind in posting this, but can you believe we're about to walk into week 2 already? This cycle is flying by. ...

Welcome to #30DaysofDope - March 2017 Cycle!

What up #DopeFam?

Can I just tell you how excited I am to get this ball rolling? I stopped and started and stopped and started and stopped planning the first 2017 cycle of #30DaysofDope. I wanted to launch in January, but didn't wanna prey on the New Year Resolution type folk.

I started to start in February, but I knew I wouldn't be able to give it my all. And I'm very much of the mindset that if I can't do it right, I shouldn't do it at all.

That said, I'm so glad to have you joining me on this journey. I can already feel it - this cycle is gonna be something special. Something new. Something more dope than the previous iterations.

I know it's late in the day, but I hope you had an amazing day 1. Before the day is totally over (or before we get too far in to tomorrow), I need you to do 4 things for me:

1. Make sure you're on the list. When you go to www.30daysofdope.com, there should be a pink bar at the top of the page saying "Join the #DopeFam". Once you add your e-mail and first name to that list, you're in. If for some reason you can't make it do what it do, just drop me an e-mail at christina[at]30daysofdope.com and I'll add ya!

2. Download/pin/save/screenshot the official prep list for this cycle. You can find it on this post here, or download it direct here. We'll be chatting about experiences with Necessary Endings and Chase The Lion intimately on our weekly e-mails and posts here, and I want to make sure you've got everything you need to be on the same page with the group!

3. Write. Down. Your. Goals. Part of the journey to personal excellence is holding yourself accountable to the things you said you would do. When I e-mail the #DopeFam tomorrow morning, I'm going to share my personal goals for this next 30 days with you all. Feel free to write me back with yours. #accountabilitypartners

4. Document where you started. In the same vein as writing your goals down, the only way to measure your progress is to know where you started. If you're looking for a mental shift - say, going from feeling frustrated about xyz, start by journaling what frustrates you, why you're frustrated by it, and how you wish you would be able to handle/address the situation in an ideal world. Same thing with physical and spiritual. If I want to lose 5 pounds this month, or cook at least 2 meals a week, I need to start by being honest with myself about my current state. This may also involve a "before" picture - although you don't have to. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but I promise you'll be looking at yourself on March 31st like GO ME!

If you need a little more guidance, or a few tips on how to make this cycle of #30DaysofDope a success, click here to read my kickoff thoughts from the last cycle. Some of the info has changed, but the principles still apply!

Day 1 is almost done. The next 29 is going to be nothing short of amazing!

What up #DopeFam? Can I just tell you how excited I am to get this ball rolling? I stopped and started and stopped and started and stop...

#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Has the "2018 is gonna be the year for me" mentality set in yet? Are you throwing in the towel on 2017 and calling it your warmup year already?

Don't.

There's still time - and lots of it. Although it seems like March came outta nowhere like a Remy Ma diss, we're far from the end of 2017 - and 9 months is plenty of time to get back on track and start really crushing those goals you set in January.

But let's face it, a lot can also happen in 9 months. That's why we've gotta tackle this thing in bite-sized increments until we get some steam rolling to really take off.

And that's what #30DaysofDope is about - setting aside 30 days to reboot, refocus, and reroute ourselves in the journey to personal excellence. To get the super nitty-gritty details on why I started #30DaysofDope, click here. 

If you're rip, roaring, and ready to go on this journey with me, here's what you'll need:


And if you really wanna go all out, at the end of this post you can pin the prep list to your Pinterest!

Dope Mind
#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!

Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud
Giving up things is hard. Letting things go is harder. But in order to break through that plateau and really go after the things that God has for you in life, some things (and people) have got to go. Through this book, we'll journey together in how to maneuver endings - both personally and professional - in order to experience growth.

Full disclosure - I bought this book years ago from Family Christian Bookstore (which I hear is going out of business), but never finished it. It's been on my heart to re-read and make it through to the end - so let's do this together!

You can find the book here on Amazon, and here on Kindle. If you're a better listener than I am, Audible has a free 30 day trial and you can get the book here.

Dope Body

#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Meal Prep/Meal Plan
Beginner: If changing your eating habits is something new, the very first step is to take the time to track your food intake. You can use regular ol' pen and paper, the notes app in your phone, or my personal favorite - MyFitnessPal. Just make sure you document every single thing you eat and drink (including water!), and do your absolute best to accurately reflect portions.

Intermediate: Use MyFitnessPal (or any method above) to track meals - but take it a step further. Invest in a food scale like this one, or use measuring utensils to parcel everything out. Begin monitoring your food intake and making adjustments (or healthy swaps). In my first #30DaysofDope run in July, I used measuring utensils. By September, I was on the foodscale. Now, there's no looking back.

Advanced: Go full on meal prep status. Create your own meal plan, weigh everything out, and prep like a crazy person. Or, get a custom meal plan from my friend Kohran of A-1 Lifestyle by e-mailing a1lifestyle247365[at]gmail.com (that's what I did..and yes I paid for it!). Then weigh everything out and prep like a crazy person. I can tell you right now it requires the most discipline, focus, and effort. You have to be mentally ready for this one. And if you are, welcome! (P.S. - you're going to need meal prep containers like these that I got from Amazon.

Looking for some meal prep and healthy recipe inspiration? Click here for a few dope recipes (that I'll be adding to this cycle!)

#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Physical Activity
Set your own goal here - just make a plan to be more active. Whether that means walking every day at lunch, or challenging yourself to do more than just the elliptical at the gym. You know truthfully how much you work out, and what you should be doing. At minimum, I'll suggest that you're active for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.You can feel free to take it from there :) And if you want someone to keep you accountable - e-mail me at christina[at]30daysofdope.com and I'll check in with ya.

Dope Spirit
#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!


Download the YouVersion app, and set the daily scripture notifications. We're going to make it a habit to get into God's Word. Taking it a step further, add the Chase The Lion devotional to your reading plan.

Again, full disclosure - I read Chase The Lion earlier this year. But it's SO dope, I want to do it again. And with you guys.

And lastly - I cannot stress this enough - GET ON THE LIST!

Get on the #30DaysofDope e-mail list! This is where I'll be checking in with my peeps, answering questions, and providing exclusive information. I'll even be enlisting support from some of the dopest folks I know - and you can only get this stuff if you're on the list. GET ON THE LIST. I don't mean to yell, but it's super important :)

And remember - you're dope for doing this.

Her's the Pinnable March 2017 checklist!
#30DaysofDope 2017 is Kicking off on March 1st!

Has the "2018 is gonna be the year for me" mentality set in yet? Are you throwing in the towel on 2017 and calling it you...

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.

Y'all.

Y'all.

YAWL.

Can you believe the 30th of September has come and gone?! I can't. Last month quite literally flew by.

As my e-mail peeps know, I skipped week 3 here on the blog. No excuses - I just didn't make time for it. I didn't even read The Four Agreements on time - I had to play catch up on week 4!

None of this means that #30DaysofDope was a bust, though. It was quite the opposite. The July cycle was about discipline. September was all about balance. I can't wait to see what December brings (whoops! just dropped a hint right there lol).

Without much delay, let's dive into the last 2 weeks of #30DaysofDope for September. And #DopeFam, we'll be chatting via e-mail this Thursday!

Dope Mind
The third and fourth agreements took me on a roller coaster ride, literally. It was bad enough to be challenged to not take anything personally, but to follow that up with not making assumptions? I was literally reading the pages like, "c'mon, son!" - but there was so much truth and value in Ruiz' words. Making and then believing assumptions is the root cause of a lot of frustration and drama in our lives, because we allow ourselves to live in this space where we're afraid to ask questions and feel burdened with the assumption that we should "already know". We're going to dissect this a little bit more in this week's e-mail, so make sure you drop your e-mail addy in the topbar above this post to get on the #DopeFam e-mail list.

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.

On another note, how awesome was the fourth agreement, and the awesome timing of #30DaysofDope? Always do your best sent chills down my spine and put a huge grin on my face. Ya'll shoulda seen me in the gym, smiling on the stairmaster. Literally nobody does that.

The reason why the fourth agreement excited me so much was because the message coincided so well with #30DaysofDope. In fact, that pretty much sums up the challenge in four words. Not to mention, Ruiz echoes the sentiment I have expressed throughout the entirety of this challenge - excellence is relative. Your best will look different day to day, hour to hour. Doing your best is about more than X-ing tasks off of a to-do list. Excellence is about being able to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I gave it my best."
#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.

Dope Body
Honestly guys, my body is changing. It's a slowwwwwwwww progression (Jesus it's slow), but it's happening. I don't spend every day in the gym, and every workout isn't on 10. But it's happening, and I'm finally in a space where I feel like hard work and consistency is paying off.

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.
The Transformation... on the outside.
As I mentioned previously, I started a new meal plan about 2 weeks before #30DaysofDope launched. From then, to the time #30DaysofDope ended, I was able to drop 12 pounds and 4 inches from my waist. It's not one of those surreal 30 day transformations you see on Instagram, but it's movement in the direction of my goals, and for that I am happy and grateful. After all, I'm on a healthy lifestyle mission that won't have me sacrificing birthday parties and family dinners for bench presses and front squats all the time. But I like them all the same :)

#30Daysof Dope September 2016 is DONE! Here's What Happened.
Lower Carb (and fat!) Ground Turkey Tamale Cups. Want the recipe? Let me know in the comments!
Meal prep is still bae, and I'm about that lowered carbohydrate intake life, and finding creative yet palate-pleasing substitutes and tweaks for my favorites. What started out as a test of discipline ultimately has become a way of life. Even Samuel is on board with meal prep. September didn't come without its challenges (it seemed like somebody's birthday was every weekend, lol), but I did the absolute best I could in every situation. Sometimes that meant turning down the glass of wine I really wanted, or having just a spoon of rice with my meal.

And sometimes it meant eating the cake.

Overall, I committed myself to improving my eating habits and following (as best as I could) the macros laid out in my meal plan. Now that I'm learning more about food and fueling my body, I feel a lot more comfortable experimenting in the kitchen. If you follow #30DaysofDope on Instagram, then you know exactly the kind of meals and recipes I'm talking about. Plus, I share the recipes here on the blog too.

Question for my #DopeFam - would you guys be interested in a #DopeRecipes e-book? Just let me know in the comments :)

Dope Spirit
I haven't finished the Fruit of the Spirit devotionals. I said I wasn't going to rush through them, and I meant it. I've made it through love, joy, peace, and patience...and I feel like I want and need to go back and read them again before I move on. Sometimes I feel like when it comes to the Bible, we can pride ourselves on how much we read, or how many scriptures we know by heart.

But how many do we walk out in our daily lives? How much do we commit to understanding?

That's another reason why #30DaysofDope is set up the way it is. I didn't want to take a one-and-done approach to my relationship with God. It requires work, day in and day out. This time around, #30DaysofDope has given me a little something more than just an improved prayer ethic, or scriptures to commit to memory. Through everything that's going on, I've been blessed enough to experience the tip of the iceberg when it comes to God's peace. I'm not anxious or frantic. I don't feel overwhelmed. I find myself praying for others more than I pray for myself. I'm working on spreading positivity, and letting God truly shine through my actions and interactions with others. I ain't nowhere near perfect - but I'm trying. Some days are better than others, but I'm giving it what I got.

Sometimes you gotta....
The Big Takeaway
Peace. Perspective. Balance. Just three of the things that this cycle of #30DaysofDope has taught me, and continues to teach me. #30DaysofDope isn't a magic bullet or one stop shop solution. It's about truly connecting mind, body, and spirit on the path forward to personal excellence. Just because September is over doesn't mean I stop or you stop. We keep going. The dopeness continues, so stay tuned for more. And don't forget to drop your e-mail in the topbar above this post - I'll be sharing testimonials from September cycle participants, tips on how to keep forward momentum, and more!

Stay tuned, #DopeFam!

Catch up on the September 2016 cycle here!
Week 1 Update
Week 2 Update

What is #30DaysofDope? Read about the challenge here!

Y'all. Y'all. YAWL. Can you believe the 30th of September has come and gone?! I can't. Last month quite literally flew...