Fresh Start Austin
Fresh Start

Try one of these 7-day challenges to kick-start your fresh start

Try one of these 7-day challenges to kick-start your fresh start

Hotze Health & Wellness Sleeplessness
CultureMap staff took on challenges ranging from fitness, diet changes, and things we know we should do but don’t. Courtesy photo

It’s that time of the year: time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and setting goals that we may or may not keep.

To get into the widespread hysteria of making resolutions this January, we at CultureMap took on one challenge for the duration of one week. You can do anything for seven days, right? With challenges ranging from physical fitness, diet changes, and things we know we should do but don’t, below you will find a selection of results from our resolutions challenge.

Namaste every day
Arden Ward, network managing editor
I'm not new to yoga, but I find it ... challenging ... to maintain a practice without falling victim to long breaks. For the challenge, I sought to end the cycle of lame excuses and get centered once again. To stay engaged, I chose a different class each day. Hint: YogaDownload.com is a great resource for those hitting the mat at home.

This seven-day challenge reaffirmed that carving out time for yoga each day — or the physical activity of your choice — doesn't have to be a chore. Set your intention at the start of the day, just as you do at the beginning of your practice: After work (or before work, if you please) comes this commitment to yourself. Then, on day eight, you might just keep going.

Flossing those pearly whites
Jess Dudley, account executive
My goal was to floss every single day. I typically am not a good flosser unless I have just been to the dentist because it makes me feel guilty. I flossed every single day except one. I found that flossing is something I really have to remind myself to do, which I did by keeping the floss out — otherwise I ignore it completely. I admit that while consistent flossing definitely makes my mouth and teeth feel better, it is a challenge to make it habit. The best way to make something a habit is to do it at the same time every single day, however, with flossing I would leave it out on the counter and only floss when I saw it and remembered it. Hoping to make it a regular nighttime habit.

Veg out
Clifford Pugh, editor-in-chief, Houston
Going all veggie for five days — no meat or fish — wasn’t as hard as I had thought, since I love salads and most Houston restaurants now offer an abundance of options. Thankfully, there’s a Whole Foods near our office that has a killer salad bar, albeit expensive since it’s by the pound — I didn’t know tofu and feta weighed so much. And a business lunch at Neiman Marcus had several veggie options — I chose a delicious open-faced veggie and cheese melt, but I had to nix the lentil soup when I found out it had a chicken stock base.

Dinner was harder. We made a meal of crispy fried asparagus and veggie-steamed dumplings at a Chinese restaurant one night, and on other nights we devoured veggie and grain bowls, crispy egg rolls from Costco, and fixed an egg-and-cheese omelet with toast.

I felt lighter with my veggie choices, although I consumed more carbs by eating much more bread than usual — including an abundance of croissants and doughnuts. And on the last night of my veggie experiment, I couldn’t resist a lobster roll from a food truck while at a party celebrating the new Midtown Arts and Theater Center in Houston. But I enjoyed the experiment so much I’ve decided to pick two days each week to go meatless. It’s a start.

And I would walk 10,000 steps
Lindsey Wilson, city editor, Dallas and Fort Worth
My challenge was to reach at least 10,000 steps on my Fitbit each day, and I made it five out of seven, and only about 1,000 short on those other two days. To be fair, I was in New York City for the first part of the week, and moving/prepping my house to go on the market for the second half. So I easily cleared 10,000 steps on those days.

I normally wear my Fitbit every day and have a general idea of how many steps I get for general activities — walking my dogs is about 2,500, for example — but knowing I was in this challenge made me "take the long way around" on things instead of trying to combine trips or take shortcuts.

No drinky for one weeky
Molly McManus, city editor, Austin and San Antonio
As a writer and editor who needs to know what’s happening in Austin’s food and drink scene, there is a lot of much-needed research conducted by tasting and drinking my way through the city’s restaurants and bars. (Tough life, I know.) I decided to take a month off from alcohol, and used this challenge as the starting point. The results were almost immediate. I had more energy, was able to get more accomplished in the day, and felt a lot more clearheaded all around.

I thought I’d be tempted to have a drink at a media tasting I went to, but it was football that did me in. Friends came over for the Sunday game with vodka and Bloody Mary mix in hand and I crumbled. It’s been fun to keep this going, and I’ve been sticking to it since my cheat day.

Stay hydrated
Jessica Baldwin, network marketing director
My goal was to drink 75 ounces of water each day. Pros on my extra water intake: I had more energy at the end of the day. Cons on my extra water intake: I had to pee a lot. I will try to maintain the intake — keeping a 50-ounce bottle of water with me at all times definitely helps. 

Let's get physical
Nicole Raney, associate editor, Austin and San Antonio
My goal was to be more active. I aimed for at least one 30-minute physical activity per day. I already consider myself a pretty active person, but it was definitely a challenge to make "working out" a daily activity — although I'm not sure I can call what I did working out.

Unless you're one of those magical people who thrives off of pumping iron, scheduling a workout sesh into your hectic day-to-day routine can be difficult (especially when all you want to do is watch Netflix). The only reason I succeeded in my one-week challenge was because I incorporated physical activity into something else I was already doing. For example: stretching/lifting weights/yoga/whatever floated my boat while watching Netflix.