Improve Yourself!

We made it!  Today represents the official end to the Improve Yourself! 2010 challenge, but we still have a winner to select…

If you started with us back in the Announcement Post, you are eligible for the grand prize of a $100 Amazon gift card.  Of course, I know who has been reporting in each week, and I have to say that they’ll have a definite advantage in making the finals.

Regardless, I’d love to hear from everyone to see how they did with their SMART goals.  And this is your last chance to make an appearance and not be counted among those that quit!

Want A Happier Marriage?

Great! Grab our 7 simple steps to improve communication in your marriage (in less than 15 minutes):

What Do You Need to Do Now?

It’s simple.  In the comments below, please give a brief summary of what you accomplished during this 8-week challenge, how it compares to your initial goals and what it has meant to you and your marriage.

That’s all there is to it.  Just be sure to leave your comment before Tuesday, March 2nd at 11:59 p.m. central time.

How Is the Winner Selected?

I will choose the top three finalists based on their stories and my knowledge after following all of the weekly reports along the way.  I’ll post on Thursday (March 4th) to announce the finalists and share each of their stories.  That post will include a poll where the readers of Engaged Marriage will be able to vote for the winner.

And the lucky (and very deserving) final winner of Improve Yourself! 2010 will be announced the following week.

Our Sponsors Rule

I want to give one final shout-out to the awesome sponsors that we had for this challenge.  Without their support, the great prizes would not have been possible, and the contest would certainly not have reached so many people.  I look forward to working with these fine folks on many projects in the future!

Personal Finance Notebook is a great site created by Patrenia Spears after her family paid off an incredible $93,000 in debt! Her posts are intended to empower her readers to achieve their financial goals. Her tag line says it all: “A website that offers ideas, education and the motivation needed to create a personal finance portfolio to be proud of.

Budgets are Sexy is simply awesome. J. Money provides a site that is packed with really useful info about the world of personal finance, and he does it in his own (pimpin’) way. Entertaining and informative.

Budgets are Sexy

MomStart is a fantastic resource created by a mother of two who provides an incredible amount of reviews, giveaways and writings related to all of the new things going on in the world of parenting.

Enemy of Debt is the place to be if you want to get out of debt or simply celebrate the goodness that your debt-freedom has brought to your life. Brad is a passionate and informative resource offering a unique perspective on the personal finance scene.

Make Mine Happen “Stop Dreaming and Start Doing” by putting the motivational and informational posts at this site to work in your life!

Don’t miss the other Improve Yourself posts…here is a running list:

  1. Improve Yourself! 2010 Announcement. This is the place to start and sign-up by leaving a comment with your area of focus.
  2. The Prize List. This is where you’ll get the details about the awesome prizes and learn about our generous sponsors.
  3. Week 1: Set SMART Goals. Learn about smart goal-setting and leave your specific goals for the challenge in the comments.
  4. Week 2: Baby Step Your Way to Success. Learn how you can achieve any goal by breaking it down into small, easier-to-handle tasks.
  5. Week 3: Prioritize Your Time for Progress. Learn the importance of focusing on important, but not urgent, tasks to improve your life and achieve long-term effectiveness.
  6. Week 4: YOU are Responsible for Your Progress. Quit making excuses, take ownership for your results and do the work necessary to make your goals a reality.
  7. Week 5: Don’t Be Perfect, Be Remarkable! You do not need to be perfect, you simply need to be remarkable in what you do. Don’t you think you can be remarkable in the way your handle your finances? In your approach to fitness? In your marriage?
  8. Week 6: Stick With It! I applaud you for sticking with your commitment to yourself and your fellow challenge participants. You are now in the minority as we close in on the finish line. Don’t Quit!
  9. Week 7: Communicate for Success Communication is a certain key to success in nearly all aspects of life.
  10. Week 8: Don’t Accept Mediocrity! Always get better even if it’s only in small increments. Life is just too short to do otherwise.


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. Well, two people are still editing my manuscript, which is fine, but I’ve started a few other writing projects to keep me occupied and keep the creative juices flowing! I originally wanted to finish my manuscript by the end of this contest (done!), research publication houses and literary agents (did that) and touch base with them (haven’t done that yet). Frankly, I’m in awe that I ever finished my manuscript in the first place! In the past how many years, that always took a back burner to whatever was going on in my life, but this contest really helped me to put the important but not urgent things at a high priority and just DO THEM… fantastic motivation here! I’m almost sad that this is almost done… (although the mild paranoia “Is it Tuesday yet?! Did I post this week?!” will no longer be a problem now… 😉 )

    On a side note, it’s been a really good thing for my marriage. After we got married, I was a bit sad since I no longer had a wedding to plan, and marriage itself was a big adjustment (no, I’m serious! You don’t believe me? LoL), but my husband is incredibly supportive of my creative aspirations and was really proud of me when I was working on my writing. That made for a happy new bride! Ultimately, I’d love to have the opportunity to write for a living, and who knows? I feel as though I can really do that if I maintain its importance in my life. I will continue with my plans after this contest and as soon as I get notes back from my two editors, I’ll contact some literary agents. The prospect is still scary, but I think it’s the anticipation that’s frightening, not the actual action.

    Good job, everybody! It was inspiring to read about your goals and your progress this past little while! 😀

    1. Kathryn, I’m so proud of you and your awesome accomplishments! I am just a wee bit jealous to be honest. 🙂 You’ve made such great progress, and it’s fantastic.

      I have my own writing aspirations that are different than yours but still very important to me. The good news is that I am now started on my own project, and the readers here will be the first to know about it. I think the key is just what you said: “Put the important but not urgent things at a high priority and just DO THEM!”

      And many congrats on your healthy adjustment to the married life. I firmly believe that our marriages are made stronger (and saner) by our individual passions.

  2. Yay! I did it! I filled my weekly writing quota this week and kept my time-wasting to a minimum. I can’t match Kathryn’s story of success (way to go, Kathryn!) but this contest definitely kept me accountable and helped me focus on getting the things done that I wanted to get done. I think I’ve kick-started positive habits that I’ll continue on for the rest of the year (I hope!).
    .-= Kathleen Quiring´s last blog ..Winter Wonderland Adventure =-.

    1. That’s fantastic, Kathleen! I can tell from the incredible progress at your blog that you have been making real strides in your time management and writing. You’ve been an inspiration to me actually, and I’ve enacted my own stop-wasting-time strategies lately. It’s fun! 🙂

  3. Here we are. The end of the road. I look back at my journey and I wonder how I could have done it differently. I had some good weeks, and some bad weeks but mostly some worse weeks. I simply let my schedule rule my life.

    Because of this I have realized that my problem may be something a little deeper than just attempting to eat better and get more exercise. Certainly the getting more exercise part could help, but my issues are more about time. Poor management of my time has beat my up to the point of exhaustion at times.

    I realized that I may be taking on too many things at once, which makes my attempt to manage my time that much harder. I am going to work harder on how I can better manage the time I do have without adding more and more on top of it. March and April I will not be taking on any NEW big projects. It’s time to organize my current work load.

    With all of that said, I enjoyed participating in this challenge and if anything, I at least realized some things that may make the rest of my journey a little easier. I will be working on a time line each week that gives me a schedule to follow. At first it will be broad in nature but as I get better and better at managing my tasks, I feel that I will be able to take on more and be a little more detailed with them. I would like to thank all who participated, especially those who came over from EOD to give this a go. (I guess I need to figure out who’s eligible for the $100 prize I am offering up huh?) 😀

    Dustin thank you so much for doing this man! I think we both struggled a bit during this challenge but it in no way signifies the end of the road. It is just the beginning. I would like to offer up a suggestion, because I know just how much you like suggestions.

    Perhaps next time, if you choose to take on this endeavor again, it would be a good idea to pair up participants so that they have an accountability buddy they can email, text, call on the phone, etc. That’s one thing I felt was missing from all of this—real accountability. Although I knew I had to admit to you and others that I had messed up, or that I wasn’t living up to my initial goals, I never really truly felt accountable.

    Nonetheless, enjoyed looking in the mirror to see what my real issues are. I have some work to do and 2010 is far from over, so let’s move forward and figure out how we can make the Improve Yourself spirit live on.

    To those that accomplished your goals, I am proud of you! Congratulations and I am glad that you will be winning something for your determination and perseverance along the way. Happy 2010!!

    .-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..I Love You…Like A Blogger! =-.

    1. Thanks for you openness and honesty, Brad! As you know, I struggled with some similar issues. Fortunately, I’ve recently made some changes that are helping me not only with my fitness goals but with my time management as a whole. And this has led to more enriched marriage.

      More on that to come! 🙂

      And I really like your idea of accountability partners if we do this again…

  4. The LOL was referring to false tags that I thought would show up. I placed <><> tags at the beginning and end of my long, long comment. 😀
    .-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..I Love You…Like A Blogger! =-.

  5. Wow…8 weeks went by really fast. My originaly goal was to work on not getting so irritated when my husband offers advice or instructions in what I call his “talking to a two year old tone” and I can honeslty say that while I may still get a little irritated I have stopped saying mean or rude things back and starting a fight. After reading The 5 Love Languages I was reminded of how important it is to show him how much I love him in the way he wants and needs me to. That resulted in me re-descovering how much I love him making it easy to not want to fight with him and get irritated. All in all I learned that even if we don’t have “big issues” to work on it is not ok to coast along. All the attention I have been paying to my role in our relationship has resulted in me making our marriage a priority and that is a good thing! The bonus was Mark noticed the changes I made and read The 5 Love Languages himself and that resuletd in some great conversations between us. I feel closer to him and more in love with him than ever. No more letting things just go along.

    The second part of my goal was to focus on a different spiritual quality every week. I have a book that helps you focus on a different quality that promotes spiritual growth. This one was a lot harder for me and I did not get through 8 qualities…in fact I’m still working on #2. But I don’t feel like I can move on to the next until I fully embrace the 2nd quality. This is something I will continue working on and really want to work my way through the whole book. The bonus to this goal was that I had great converstaions with my Dad about my struggles spiritually and found that has had has some of the same issues and he helped me work through some of them.

    I’m not sure if I can pin point anything I should have done differently to be more successful…I’m just happy that the changes I made lead to amazing conversations with my husband and my Dad, and that I truly feel like my husband and I made what was a great relatioship that much closer to an amazing relationship. I can’t wait to see how we continue to grow and change. I now know that with constant attention to our relationship in good and not so good times we will only be stronger for it!

    1. Fantastic, Jen! I am so happy to hear that this challenge led to a real improvement in your relationship with your husband. Directly or indirectly, that’s what it’s all about! 🙂

  6. I second Jen that the eight weeks went by very quickly!

    I feel really good about the financial goals that I’ve (we’ve) met over the first eight weeks of this year. I set out with a goal to save at least $700 and pay down at least $1500 in overall debt. I really underestimated the debt repayment since we paid nearly $6k in overall debt ($5926 to be exact). It did help to receive a tax return, but we could have chosen to spend that money on junk instead of paying down debt. We paid off one auto loan and we’re well on our way to paying off a student loan in a month or so!

    However, we didn’t do so well with savings. We only saved an additional $185. But we also had about $800 in unexpected expenses over the past couple of months, so I don’t feel so bad about missing the savings goal. Although, I know we could do better here.

    Dustin, I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this challenge. It really has given me some perspective and has given me a better base for getting our debt paid down. I get so overwhelmed by the amount of student loan debt we’ve acquired, but during this challenge I’ve seen so much movement in our debt reduction that I feel encouraged again.

    Good luck to everyone in the challenge!
    .-= Sam´s last blog ..February 2010 Progress Report =-.

    1. Awesome work, Sam! You know I love debt pay-downs and I really look forward to sharing in your celebration the day you guys become DEBT FREE!

  7. “My goals for the year pertain to fitness/health.

    I am to lose 10 pounds by 3/1/10, in order to get back to my healthy weight from college.

    Starting on Jan. 6th I’m going to start eating paleo.
    I’m going to run at least 30 min 4x a week.
    Go for a 1 mile walk at night.”

    Looking back on the last 8 weeks I’m proud to say that I have lost 14 lbs! That reaches my weight loss goal! 🙂 Overall my husband and I have done really well on out paleo diet, and eating healthy. I wish I could say that my running has been going as well. I only went 3 times a week most weeks, and we only went walking probably 4 nights a week. Although this challenge is ending my husband and I are starting P90X, we did the first workout today.

    This challenge has been great for our marriage as we have been supporting each others fitness/diet goals, and we will continue to do it in the future. It has also helped us to communicate more about our budget and track our spending better, as one of his goals was to get our credit card debit payed off. (Almost there, should finish next month!)

    Thanks for sponsoring this and all of the wonderful posts for improving our marriage!

    1. Wow, Ambere! Congratulations on losing 14 lbs, and especially for being proactive in your communication and goal progress alongside your husband. I did P90X last year and had wonderful results. It’s a very intense program, but you’ll definitely see great results if you stick with it.

  8. Diets take a team, and that is something this blog helped me with! I got motivated and set 3 goals 1 loose 25 pounds, 2. pay off credit cards by June, 3. take GMAT (entrance exam for MBA programs). Well I meet goal 1 going from 255 to currently 227. I plan to keep pushing hard till I can reach 215 but it just takes time. I also have been working hard to pay off the credit card. Only one more month and all $10,000 of credit card debit will be paid off! 3 months ahead of schedule! I started using and it is really interesting to see how the money is being spent. As for the GMAT I have decided not to take the GMAT and instead just apply for MBA programs that didn’t require it. I know it is a little cheating but it is going to get me to the same end gaol.

    Thanks all for the support! I am not stopping because the challenge is over so hopefully the good progress will continue!

    1. My wife reminds me that I am supposed to talk about our marriage too! Well it definitely brought us together, let us get our goals together and really encouraged us to work together to reach them. We were more open with finances and it really helped us pay off the credit cards way earlier then initially anticipated.

    2. Toby, you are blowing my mind! 28 lbs, almost $10,000 of debt paid and a clear plan for furthering your education. More importantly, you have solidified your team approach with your wife, as evidenced by her making you accountable on your post. 🙂

      Way to go, man!

  9. I am sad to report that although I made progress with my goals, I failed to reach it. My goal was to become more organized by setting up and completing weekly To Do lists. I currently set up my To Do lists, but I have only actually had one week where I completed everything I wanted to do. There have been several reasons for this: Health (third trimester pregnancy complications and issues), Over-ambitiousness on my part (I think I can do more in a given time frame than I actually can), and a failure to ask for help (I try to do everything myself). I have gotten better with the 2 issues I can control over the course of these 8 weeks. I communicate my needs to my husband, and he is very responsive. Since I normally try to do everything myself (and I can get it done under past circumstances), it’s very hard to get used to having to ask for help, but I’ve learned that I can’t do it all, and I just have to ask for what I need.
    I am much better with organizing my time and prioritizing my tasks, as well as being flexible when circumstances change. Although I didn’t achieve my initial goal, I have made a lot of growth and progress, moving towards where I want to be – maybe the 8 week time frame was a bit ambitious for me to shoot for in the first place 🙂

    1. I think you are doing great, Kams. You obviously have a lot going on, even if it was “only” a complicated pregnancy to deal with. I am particularly pleased to hear you have asked your husband for more help and he has been so responsive to assist you. That’s awesome!

  10. I DID IT! Althought I haven’t been the best at giving updates on this site, I am happy to announce that I met my goal of finding a new career. Over the past 2 months I have been exploring different options and just last week accepted a new position. I’m excited to be starting soon.

    1. Congratulations, Troy! I knew you reported you were close to landing this position a couple weeks back, and I’m excited to hear that it happened. Please feel free to elaborate on your new career and why you think you’ll love it. I’d love to hear more.

  11. I can’t believe it’s over already! I’ve enjoyed having the weekly accountability – it has really kept me on focus. I’d have to go re-visit all of my posts to see exactly how I did but I feel like overall I had more good weeks than bad weeks. I have become more conscientious with my budgeting and spending process. The budget was a bit out of date…for example “diapers” were not previously a line item and now they are. I re-tooled it and now it accurately reflects our new situation, which naturally makes it easier for us to follow.

    Although it wasn’t a stated goal, one positive externality of this challenge is that we paid off all of our credit card debt over the last 8 weeks. All gone!! And since money and budgeting was more front-of-mind than usual I also contacted a friend at Ed Jones who has been trying to work with us for awhile now and we’re meeting with him this month. So starting with my little goal of minimizing my budget variance, I ended up paying off debt, eliminating monthly payments, and working on developing a stronger long term investment strategy.

    1. You know I’m excited for you guys, Kate! I hope you’ll never have another dime of credit card debt again, and I’m betting you agree. Your financial future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades! 😉

  12. So, I wanted to be a better mom.

    Tall order, eh?

    But I did it.

    (Notice, I didn’t say I want to be a *perfect* mom. Why set oneself up for failure?)

    My SMART goals looked like this:

    I want to be a better, more engaged parent…

    …By caring about ME through diet, exercise, taking my vitamins, trying to get adequate sleep and not feeling guilty about taking some necessary ME time.

    DONE. I have been eating better, including a 5-day sugar kick, which made me feel so much better. I have been working together with my husband (parenting is a team effort!) to get our baby sleeping better so we sleep better. I have been exercising, taking my vitamins and, when necessary, turning the kids over to Hubby for a few if I need a little alone time.

    …By taking better care of my kids’ bodies.

    DONE. Again, not perfect. We haven’t gotten rid of the Kraft mac n’ cheese, but it’s only a once-a-week thing. I’m not trying to HIDE veggies in their foods, I’m working with them to get them to eat the stuff they truly like, and getting them to try new things. It’s working, slowly. I am sure if I am consistent, they will learn to like more variety.

    …By stimulating my kids’ minds and spirit

    DONE. We have limited TV and Wii time. I read to them more. My four-year-old is reading to ME. He is excitedly learning math. My baby now pulls books off the shelf and carries them around and will sit and listen to one. My kids are also so much happier when I stop doing housework and PLAY with them. I am thrilled with the progress that has been made on this goal and will continue to do these things.

    …By stimulating my kids’ souls, making the home a more pleasant place.

    DONE. I have become much better at NOT becoming irritated when they do KID things. I have been cherishing moments that once would have annoyed me. My little ones are growing up so quickly. I will CRAVE these days when they’re big, grown boys. I am trying to soak it all in. These moments are so incredibly precious.

    …By managing my time more wisely, therefore allowing more of my less-stressed self to be given to my kids.

    A WORK IN PROGRESS. I have been working to de-clutter my home so that it’s easier to keep clean, so I don’t have to push my kids off. Some areas are DONE. Some still need work, but every little bit that gets done takes off some of the stress.

    My blog is called Musings from Mom School. Mom School, because once you’re a mom, the learning never ends. I am constantly learning how to better myself as a parent. This challenge allowed me to focus on it, but it also has taught me that the learning and self-improvement will keep going all my life. I will continue to Improve Myself throughout 2010 and beyond. As my kids grow and change, so will my parenting.

    Another positive from this challenge: Becomng a better parent makes ME happier, makes the KIDS happier, makes my HUSBAND and MARRIAGE happier and makes our home in general a more positive place.

    I never really realized that me getting annoyed when my son, for example, rams his monster truck into my foot for the fiftieth time while I’m fixing dinner actually has a landslide effect on our evening. I get irritated and yell at my son, he gets upset, my husband gets upset, the baby gets upset because we’re all upset, and we’re all just crabby. It’s no way to live. By redirecting my irritation and encouraging my son to, for example, zoom his trucks down the hall instead, no one gets upset and the night is still peaceful (and after the boys go to bed, Hubby and I aren’t left scowling at each other).

    I have learned that little changes like that can make a big difference, and I LOVE the improvements I’ve seen in my household throughout this challenge. I can’t wait to see what else we can do.

    This has been a fantastic challenge. Thank you so much for doing it.
    .-= Krystal´s last blog ..Curing cabin fever =-.

    1. Wow, Krystal! You have accomplished so much in 8 weeks! My favorite line from your summary is: “I will continue to Improve Myself throughout 2010 and beyond. As my kids grow and change, so will my parenting.”


  13. I feel great about what I’ve done in the last 8 weeks. Everything is running so much smoother. I had one week where I was really sick. In the past that would have meant taking weeks to even get close to catching up on everything that I missed during that week. This time that wasn’t the case. I was amazed to see how quickly everything returned to normal with me just following my schedule. My term papers were all finished with plenty of time. I’ve had time to study for test without feeling like a stressed out basket case. All of the work I put into making a schedule that really works for my house has been more than worth it. My children are happier. My house is cleaner. I am much more calm and able to enjoy things much more. My marriage has probably had the biggest benefit. Since I have managed to stay on top of things so well I don’t have to try to fit them in after the kids get to bed. We’ve actually been able to have time together that is actually focused on us and not on catching up on the housework.
    .-= Cassidy´s last blog ..Quick Takes #8 =-.

    1. I’m very excited about the changes you’ve made, Cassidy! And it’s fantastic to see how much your marriage can benefit by some planning and effective time management. I am working on some things along those lines that I’m anxious to share in the coming weeks. 🙂

  14. What? Lose 10% of my weight.
    Why? To better my health. Hopefully my blood pressure will lower enough to be safe.
    How? Walk at least 4 times a week for at least 40 minutes. Limit my (sugar/salty)snacks to weekends.

    Above were my initial goals, which I am working on…still. Half of the “How?” has been somewhat easy as I naturally like to get outta the house and walk. In fact I just came back from a 57 minute walk and I am sore but it feels great! I do have much to accomplish in striving towards a healthy body though. Snacking is my downfall for sure.
    What the past 8 weeks has meant to my marriage? Well, the unbelievable occurred. My husband has joined me in trying to eat healthier AND he and I have been jogging a bit this past week. It’s only been a week of healthy eating for him and he of course has caught up to me in weight loss already. (7 lbs) So, this means I have to step up my game and continue on in my quest for good health!

    1. I have a *huge* smile right now, Laurie. I remember that your husband’s lack of interest in his health was a struggle for your marriage. Give him a “high-five” for me for following your lead and starting down the path of improved health. It’s going to be so great for him and, especially, for your relationship. 🙂

  15. My SMART Goal:
    Specific – I am going to lower my Fasting Blood Sugar from an average of 170 to an average of 130. Not only am I wanting to avoid having to take insulin to control my Blood Sugar I am wanting a healthy, long, life. I will accomplish this goal by following the low-carb diet prescribed by my doctor and do cardio exercise at least 5 days per week and weights at least 3 days per week.

    My Fasting Blood Sugar has been in the 105-120 range. GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!

    Measurable – I will do a Fasting Blood test every morning.

    I did a Fasting Blood test 90% of the time each morning.

    Attainable – I know this is possible because I’ve done it in the past.

    Done again. Next step…set a new goal for weight loss.

    Relevant – My overall lifestyle and greater desires include living to see my grandkids grow up.

    I’m on my way to a healthier lifestyle and longer life.

    Time-Bound – I plan to meet this goal within the 8 week period I am part of this challenge and maintain it to a point where I can lose enough weight to be able to get off the oral medication I am now using.

    I was able to meet this goal earlier than expected.

    Thanks everyone. This challenge was helpful in keeping me focused on my goal.


    1. Fantastic, Gina! I’m so happy that you have been able to turn the corner on your health in such a short time. You have a great, insulin-free life to look forward to!

  16. I made it! But, in some ways my results don’t match my goals. I had set a goal of being able to walk my path 3 times in 30 minutes, do situps and pushups. I set these goals because I could do them without having to have access to a gym which I knew I would have at the beginning of the challenge, but not the end. It ended up that I did have the gym access for the whole challenge and by the end, I could run 12 minutes (in 3 set of 4 minutes) on the treadmill. I am so proud of myself. The first time I tried running I only made 4 minutes (2 sets of 2 minutes).

    For my other goals of eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water and reading Scripture, I have found ways to do them that help turn them into habit. I am carring snacks with me, drinking water with my meals, and reading with my children as part of their schoolwork.

    Overall, I am very glad for the challenge and have enjoyed doing it.

    1. You’re welcome, Sherry! Thank you for being (and remaining) an active participant in the challenge. It sounds like you are on your way to running a marathon one of these days. 🙂

  17. My goal was to lose 15 lbs. I fell just a little short by losing just over 11 lbs and I am very happy with that. My workouts have really pushed me and have given me more energy to focus on life with family, with God, with my career and goals. In 8 weeks my marriage is stronger and more enjoyable, my relationship and recognition of God in every part of my life has finally struck a “chord” with me. I am awakened.

    1. You know I’m stoked for you, Mike. You have made some fantastic changes in your life, and I’m proud to be part of it. Your progress is especially incredible given your travel schedule recently!

  18. I met my goal too!! I had big hopes for this last week and lost the extra 2 pounds to meet my total goal of 8 pounds lost in 8 weeks. I was looking to lose at least 5 % of my body weight to try to curb some early potential signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome, which can negatively affect my practice of natural family planning, in that it can produce confusing signs of fertility! I have to say I only had one confusing cycle possibly indicating PCOS. All cycles since have been fairly regular, or close to what I expect, given that I am still intensively breastfeeding. So, having regular cycles makes for less abstinence and a more fulfilling marriage! I have to say, though, that periodic abstinence can be very healthy for a marriage, but excessive abstinence may not be.

    I plan to continue my current, very manageable regimen. I want to lose 8 more pounds over the next 8 weeks. Since I won’t have the blog to report to and keep me on track, I’ll make notes on my NFP chart!!

    I think then I’ll be very satisfied with my weight, b/c I’ll be able to get into the clothes I bought for work after my little girl was born–I was pretty optimistic then about the weight loss promise of breastfeeding. I really am trying to stay healthy and avoid buying a new wardrobe!!

    Most of you had much more lofty goals than me!! Congrats on your efforts and successes!!

    1. Congratulations, Batrice! Thank you for being part of this challenge and thank you for your consistent witness of the goodness of NFP and it’s ability to enhance your health and marriage!

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