January 16, 2009

Take the Good Life Challenge

As Justin & I have been getting ready to launch Spread the Love this month, we’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly the “Good Life” is for us and what it means to really LIVE like that. And time after time, we keep coming back to one answer:

We are a work in progress.

You see, everything that we’re going to talk about is something that we either have dealt with -or are right in the muck of dealing with- ourselves. Believe me, we’ve been there. And, we’re right there in the trenches with you. We’ve been the us that’s stared at a computer screen so long that we’ve forgotten what the other one looks like. The us that’s worked from morning til night…too busy to change out of our pajamas, so we just fall back into bed too exhausted to care. The us that totally skips lunch and doesn’t get around to eating dinner until midnight…when the only logical choice is, of course, Cheerios.

And what we’ve found…what we are finding… is that it’s all connected. As it goes with your life, your relationships, your health, your finances…so it goes with your business. And anyone who thinks that they can focus on just one without all the others …is fooling themselves. Believe me, take it from a FOOL who knows.

The only thing that will get you is a life that is shaped around building your business…when really shouldn’t it be the other way around?

So here’s the challenge: for the next 10 days, pick three (or more!!) things from the list below and DO them!! Leave a comment NOW telling us which ones you’re going to do and then in 10 days (on the 26th) come back and tell us how you did. And the person that we think had the most success is going to win a free seat to the Spread the Love Workshop of their choice (or if there’s not going to be one in your area/you can’t come… an equally “hey that’s not too shabby” gift to be determined!).

1. Go through one whole day of your life with your iPhone/Blackberry turned off. (OOOH! Came out swinging!)
2. Take a shower and go through the WHOLE process of getting ready (put on REAL clothes) without once stopping to check email, answer the phone, or otherwise multitask in any way.
3. Run/walk fast for 20 mins a day for 5 days straight.
4. Spend 1/2 hour straight of uninterrupted time curled up with a good (non-business!) book and a good cup of tea.
5. Sign up for “keep the change” savings or some other AUTOMATED savings account
6. Get 8 hrs of sleep, three nights in a row. (Preferably waking up and going to bed at the same time).
7. For just one night, go to bed in a peaceful environment: tv off, clean sheets, cool room, no clutter
8. Do yoga/stretching one night before bed
9. Start the day with 25 crunches
10. Pay $50 extra to one credit card
11. Call up a friend from the past you haven’t talked to in more than a year
12. Call up a parent or grandparent and talk until THEY say they have to get off the phone (this is a BIG one for me!)
13. Write a handwritten letter to the most important person in your life and tell them that.
14. Grab lunch with a group of friends: agree that cell phones, to-do lists, or anything else that would distract any of you from being present are strictly forbidden
15. Cook a real dinner and ENJOY it like you’re on the Food Network: grab your favorite person, pour a glass of wine, cook with fresh yummy ingredients like basil and garlic that make you feel all professional and like you ACTUALLY know what you’re doing, put on some John Legend and linger!
16. Start the day with one half hour of quiet. Just find time to be you again
17. For five days straight, make the time to wash your face, brush AND floss your teeth, put on real pajamas that MATCH, and go to bed BEFORE you fall asleep on the couch. It’s not that comfortable anyway.
18. Take a drive: forget about how much it’s costing you in gas, don’t have a destination, errands are absolutely forbidden. Just drive.
19. Cook one meal with a crock pot: this one’s for our personal assistant, Jennifer, who actually talked us into taking this wedding present OUT of the box and using it! Home cooked meal AND a free evening….how ’bout that!?
20. Even if you work from home, for one day get dressed up all office chic (note, not The Office chic…because, well. they’re not that chic!)
21. Clean your WHOLE house…make it smell like Pine Sol. You won’t believe how much better you’ll feel.
22. For one week, take a whole hour for lunch. No work allowed. Get out of the house if you want to. Or just watch Law & Order on TNT.
23. Sit in Barnes & Noble with a coffee and a stack of magazines…they’re free if you read them there! :)
24. For one week, recycle your junk mail the second you get it.
25. Sit and pet the family pet for half an hour..they need lovin’ too.

So c’mon….who’s up for a challenge?

  1. john waire

    great post.

    technology has increased our efficiency in many ways…but it has dramatically detracted from basic human interaction and appreciation. i think most of the items on your list can be widdled down to that.

    we equate idleness to being lazy. sometimes it’s great to just do nothing. it allows our racing minds to take a much needed rest. allowing ourselves to do that (or any of these items) is the key to becoming re-energized and truly appreciate life.

    i hope you guys get a good turn out for this.

    i’m turning off the blackberry. i will tackle some reading that i’ve been putting off (specifically finish up the twilight series and begin some of seth godin’s books).

    i make a conscious effort to shut-down at 10PM each evening…because my wife deserves my undivided attention.

    cheers. the weekend is upon us. get started on your list :)

  2. Shannon

    I’m a first time commenter…but a LONG time stalker :) I love your style of seeing, living, and sharing! So, thanks for this invitation…you finally pulled me out from behind my firewall ;)
    Here goes: 6. to give me energy for the next day of work/liv’n.

    8. for my health & sanity!

    13. For my relationships that I’m recieving more than giving in…and really, this will be for myself, right?!

    So…here’s to lifting my chin this week!

    &….THANK YOU :)

  3. Katie Humphreys

    wow- awesome post you guys!! Funny because Chris and I have really been talking about this the last few days and realizing that we need to make sure we’re being present in our LIFE and not just living in our to do list to keep our business running. We’ve started spending 30 minutes each morning reading/journaling, reflecting together BEFORE we check email and go out to our desks. I think this was on your list – it’s been tough to say the least!! But already we are seeing huge changes in our spirit. Love to you guys and thanks for your encouragement – you have made a difference to say many people and this post is no exception! :)

  4. Katie Humphreys

    wow- awesome post you guys!! Funny because Chris and I have really been talking about this the last few days and realizing that we need to make sure we’re being present in our LIFE and not just living in our to do list to keep our business running. We’ve started spending 30 minutes each morning reading/journaling, reflecting together BEFORE we check email and go out to our desks. I think this was on your list – it’s been tough to say the least!! But already we are seeing huge changes in our spirit. Love to you guys and thanks for your encouragement – you have made a difference to say many people and this post is no exception! :)

  5. Dennis Bullock

    This is great you guys! I am going with #4, 9, 13, 24 and 15! See you in 10 days!

  6. Dawn McKinstry

    I like this. I’m going for #s 15, 13, 18, and 25. This past week I’ve had a flood of inquiries and bookings (yay!), but with a full time job in addition to a photography business, my poor husband and dog have been a little left out in the cold. So I’m going to spend the next 10 days focusing more on them.

  7. Michelle

    This is just what I need. There are so many that I need to work on. I am gonna start with 2, 9 and 17!

  8. Damion

    OMG…have you guys been stalking me. You just described my life in 25 steps! I had no Idea my life was so admirable!! :) J/K!!!

    Great post guys!!! Count me in for #2,7,18!!

    Love you!
    Damion.

  9. Jamie Delaine

    Oh man I love this! I actually already do: #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #13, #14, #16, #17, #18, #20, #22, #23 — really regularly! I learned pretty early that I need balance in my work and in my life. What a great post though! I could definitely work on a few of these…like #1. EEK. I dont’ think I could do it. I just have a cell phone, but I couldn’t go a day without facebook/internet/emails.

  10. Emily Mason

    Oh my goodness! Those are great! I’m definately going to have to try some of them!

  11. Sarah McCoy

    Accountability is so important (I think) to success. Thanks for this kick in the butt list. I’m going to tackle #3, #13, #15, and… because I’m an overachiever…I throw in #18.

  12. Kevin

    That first one is a hard one…no iPhone for the day. #4 is done very often by me…and I just got a book I have been waiting for called the Element (how finding your passion changes everything). You made a great list. I will pick #4 #9 and #20.

  13. RE

    Just as I read number 1, the iPhone rings… and I answer it. Let’s see what number 2 is!

  14. Lindsay

    I can do the watching Law & Order thing. I LOVE Law & Order. I don’t like the new lawyer on there, but the old one’s I love!!! I worship Lenny and Jack! :)
    You have some awesome ideas, I am going to try to try one.

  15. Mary Marantz

    I know right! Lenny’s the best!! I love his wisecracks!

  16. Kricia Morris Photography

    OK, I am absolutely printing out this blog post and hanging it up in a prominent place in my office! You guys raised some of the most important issues in the world of not only a small business owner, but also a stay at home mom like myself. Thank you guys for being awesome, amazing, inspiring and just plain ol’ rockin!!! Count me in for #23, #13 and #2…and thank you!!

  17. Gwendolyn Tundermann

    Thanks so much for that awesome list of suggestions! I had to give this one a lot of thought. My initial thought was to choose 3 things I needed to improve about myself, but I realized that what I need to work on my is maintaining my relationships. If my family had Facebook or a blog, I’d talk to them all the time! But since they don’t, I’m going to accept the challenge of #11, 12, and 13. Hopefully it will make a change in my life and brighten the days of the people I reach out to!

  18. Chantal Stone

    OH WOWZA!!! There are so many things on this list that I NEED TO DO, and actually a few things that I know I CAN DO!! So since a few of these things will actually be EASY for me (11, 23,25), I’m up for the challenge so I will pick the DIFFICULT ones…#2, #17, #21….my house is a mess, I always fall asleep on the couch, and way too addicted to my email :( BUT…..I’m all about IMPROVING my life and business! Woohooo!!!!

  19. Ami J Davenport

    Your on and I so need this Number 3 I have been trying to do this since Partner Con where you said the distance between two telephone poles is reachable. 15 cook a real home cook meal was even asked by my son what to cook we have missed Chicken Parmesan and finally 25 we just lost one of are many animals to cancer but it really makes you feel you could have done more for them so in the next 10 days I will spend one hour a day with one of our 8 remaining animals and the other 2 days with my children.

  20. sofia negron

    wooh! That is one tough list especially #7. We have so much laundry all the time that we end up putting it into bins and folding when we get a chance, which rarely happens. I already do #3 so that would be cheating. I am going to do #4, #13, #20, #23. sheesh I feel like I need to do each of those at least once.

    Great idea guys! Love them all!!

  21. Leslie Roark

    I’m UP for it! Let’s see.. first.. I’m going to start the with the 25 crunches per day (#9). Then I’m going to spend a 1/2 straight with a good book (#4)! My third is going to be Run/walk fast for 20 minutes a day for 5 days straight (#3)! These are all things that we are trying to do in our family lifestyle change so this is another way to help motivate and keep me accountable!

  22. Amanda Herzberger

    Wow I love this. My good life challenge has been turning off my computer at 6:30 and not turning it back on until I’ve exercised, showered, and breakfasted the next day….usually around 10. I am LOVING it. I’ll go for #25, #8, and #17….I admit I’m not a very dedicated flosser :) You guys rock.

  23. Feuza

    Oh my these are hard but sure need some. I need to see which ones I will do. Now for #17, does one need matching socks as well? :-)

  24. Karen (Mikols) Bonar

    OMG! I am relieved to hear others don’t change out of their PJs b/c they’re too busy.

    Hmm …. let’ see what I’ll do.

    1, 4, 5 (we already did this, can I count it as progress?), 8, 11, 13, 15, 19 (I LOVE MY CROCKPOT!!!!!! It cooked our Christmas dinner. No joke!), 24 (the mail piles around here).

    Ready, set, go!!!!!

  25. Shelia Stone

    What a great post!! Here is what I am up for…Number one I *know* I can do! Even if it means flying on a plane with a yr old solo half way around the world!! Then there is #18. I am soooooooooo driving and driving some more! On the left side of the right side of the road! And of course #14. I have seen friends in 4 years some in 10! And does Hastings count instead of Barnes and Noble for # 23?? I am headed to a podunk Texas, so there is no Barnes and Noble.

  26. Caroline Ghetes

    Okay so I am going to do #1, 2, 13, & 19. Let’s see how this all plays out!

  27. Christopher

    This is a great idea. I will have to think about it and see what I can do. So many good ones

  28. Mary Marantz

    @ Shannon: that’s awesome! welcome! we LOVE first time commenters…and second time commenters…and third time commenters….feel free to comment ANY time!! :)

  29. Zach Gray

    It is soooo funny how you just described our lives at all levels in this business! WOW! You two are the funniest!

    We are taking on some challenges and are not afraid to do so!

    -Zach & Jody

  30. Kimberly Sanderson

    well, errr, ummmmm…..geeeesh you guys! Since the guilt is laying heavy on my chest and I realize it shouldn’t be….I am going to print out your list and stick it on my fridge and try to do as many as possible (will that eliminate the guilt?) There are so many here that I KNOW I should be doing and just don’t. Why do we do that?! I’ll let you know how it goes…. ;-)

  31. Ruth Dias

    I’ll take on 7 (guess I should put away the mountain of laundry), 19 (oooh stroganoff!), and 24 (oh sweet clutter-free relief!).

  32. Sharon

    All right… I’m going to start with, #’s 2, 4 and 8.
    They may seem like easy ones, but for me right now, I think they will bake a big difference.
    I’ll let you know! :-)

    This is a really great list!

  33. Traci Blake

    Wow – you’ve got me thinkin’ alright! I am going for 10. . .one for each day. Maybe I’ll even document it with photos (or is "work" not allowed?:-) This is gonna be a challenge – still working 40 hrs/wk. +plus photography. Check the blog in 10 days – good life challenge here I come!
    You guys are awesome, thx for this post, so inspiring!

  34. Ginette

    WOW! This is an amazing post and includes such GREAT IDEAS. Thanks for the challenge. I am totally going to step up to it. I actually want to print up your list and put it on my wall…and do at least one every week…forever. I love love love this post. Thanks!

  35. Fola

    I am printing this out for real…awesome, thanks for posting…

  36. Ricki Ford

    Really good ideas here!

  37. Catie R

    I love this! Great challenge! They are little things, but BIG challenges! :)

    I’m up for #2,3,4,523,25, although, I totally need to address all 25! :)

  38. Eileen Broderick

    Oh. I totally needed to read this. Too bad it wasn’t a week ago! I think printing the list is a good idea–so many great ideas on here. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  39. Cheryl Cronin

    Great list!!! I’m getting started right now. Eileen did you see #14?????

  40. Kim

    I love day’s when I wake up and need inspiration to keep my priorities in check. Just read this blog post and while I do most of the list already I think it’s a great set!!! I had lunch yesterday @ McDonalds ( so my kids could play :-) with another mom and had the best afternoon. We talked about life and it was such a refreshing change of pace. #2, 3, 6, 17, 24 are done on a daily basis for me. I am doing #19 making chicken enchilda’s today, and #23 is also on my list for today, even before I read this post. :-)

    Thanks for Spreading the Love that life is meant to be experienced not put on hold.

  41. denise karis

    oh, i am soooo walking every day now – im forcing myself – 45 minute walks every day!!!

  42. rachel darley

    Poopers! Im about a week late… but ill still attempt a few of these…the crunches one in the morning. definately a must!!!! 8 hours of sleep… sounds yum… and take a drive…Its been a while since my hubby and I have gotten lost… =)

  43. Robin Dini

    dini’s slow on the response for this one, but i’m totally going to keep this list and try to do at least one a week :)

  44. Paul McNerney

    Right behind you Dini… Wel #2 is cheating for me because I do it EVERY morning. No breakfast, no email, no nothin, then I walk to work:) So I will pick a few and get back to you on monday:)

  45. Anna Sawin

    okay, had to wait a few ays an see if I was really trying…and I am! I’m in and will report back on the 26th!

    P.S. Love the True & Wesson shoot!

  46. Anna Sawin

    Oh, and doing at least 5, 11 and 15, but aiming for a total of 10!

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