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My 30 Day Plan | For a Stronger Mind, Body and Spirit!

My 30 Day Plan | For a Stronger Mind, Body and Spirit!

Life Abroad

My 30 Day Plan

Remember, the right plan for me, may not be the one for you. Feel free to take ideas and concepts away from what I am doing to create your own 30 day challenge. It can be as complex or as simple as you like. All that matters is giving it your best try, and learning better ways to overcome any failures. Self-Forgiveness – yeah, let me tell you a secret. I tend to hold grudges against myself. It’s not helping anyone. And with My 30 Day Challenge I’m going to #DoSomethingPositive about it!

I need to deal with 3 problems which are starting to heavily affect the course of my life:

My 30 Day PlanFitness & Weight Management: I was that fat kid. The one who has little belly-rolls from head to toe. Until the 8th grade. Then I was pretty slim from sports and ranch work, until 17. When college began, my parents began a bloody divorce, it was very stressful. Healthy coping was not for me. I was turned-on to alcohol, junk food, poor lifestyle habits and partying away the pain. It took me the next 13 years to get my fitness habits solid and drop back down to a size 10 – my size, last time it was mine was sophomore year of high school.

Did I mention having a baby in the middle of all this? And, I am still fighting to keep it down. A fight which I have already lost a couple times, and won back a couple times. Right now I am losing the fight again, because the recent stress has pushed me back up to being a size 12. This is a practice in self-motivation which I tend to lean on my fitness instructors to do for me. Except when I can’t afford it. My target weight: 70 Kilos or 154 lbs. Anything less than 70 kilos puts me at a disadvantage in a self-defense situation. Yeah, fight club! There is a calling for sturdy girls like me!

Depression and Fatigue: I don’t take being poor lightly. And sitting around isn’t my style unless I am recuperating over a good book. Or hiding from life inside that good book. Or obsessing over that good book because I don’t want to deal with my problems and responsibilities. Depression and fatigue often go hand in hand, as we wear ourselves down with the emotions of dealing with our adversities. And who hasn’t had these moments? We have all been there.

Today, I have many things to be grateful for, but I also feel the weight of motherhood and the financial ups and downs of writing. Which, to be fair – is largely due to a quitting a job, and then the launch of a new website. But it was worth it. The website has actually done so well, that up until recently, the combined profits from it and freelance writing have covered my basic costs. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do this while living in the US. It would have been a casino or warehouse or even construction job for me probably.

Stress Relief: My mother helped to teach me the importance of self-improvement and hobbies. By her example, I learned some positive activities which I love – pero demasiado!

  • My love of reading has helped me to think outside the box, consider alternate realities, and to chase my dreams.
  • My love of music has opened doors and led to some incredible experiences for me. When I lived in the midwest some friends gave me the gift of guitar knowledge. That and a few YouTube videos later I could play some basic tunes – at the very least! Plus some 20+ years of piano.
  • My love of travel has given me an incredible life abroad. It has helped me expand my horizons, overcome preconceptions and discover a totally different lifestyle.
  • My love of Sports, has given me a healthy appreciation for fitness and personal health. I grew up skiing, swimming, playing soccer (Who didn’t do AYSO as a kid?!), karate, equestrian sports, college rifle team and so much more. Sports help to bring us down to earth, and be able to take a hit when life throws you a left hook. These are all important parts of who I am. I can’t do karate right now, but I can suck up the pereza, or procrastination/laziness, and do home workouts with Maestro YouTube! Maybe I will even return stronger and more physically fit than when I left!
My 30 Day Plan
This is me, in braids, kicking adversity’s ass!

My point is, I need to do something different. Like My 30 Day Plan. I’m going to take advantage of the free time I do have, to learn and improve myself, to advance onward in this path of life. I want to write, video, record, produce – whatever, a web-course to sell from my platforms. And, this is going to be a part of my 30-day challenge.

A friend of mine had some wisdom for me when I was bouncing my initial ideas off of her and planning my challenge:

Pull in ALL the stuff you LOVE. That is what nourishes you deeply. Doing things that feel good right down to your bones, no matter what anyone else thinks. ~ Suzann Larsen


My 30 Day ChallengeMy 30 Day Plan For a Stronger Mind | My Mental Health Plan

My 30 Day Plan is more of reboot. A new job is starting for me. Some new clients have appeared on the horizon. And, I need to be focused and ready to perform. But, I know I suffer from Depression and Fatigue. I have a couple financial struggles, and that overwhelming feeling of responsibility which comes from being a parent. These things weigh heavy on my psyche. But, I can’t be the only one dealing with this. I’m sure my own parents went through their own crisis at some point. How many single or married moms are feeling this right now? Feel free to comment below, let’s start a dialogue on this issue.

Getting to the point, I wanted to create a habit that would give my mental world something more positive to go on. And, over the last 6 months I got involved in Tai Chi via Maestro YouTube. Which isn’t to say that I believe YouTube is a credible source, but with limited resources – it can get the job done. I also took a live class up in Bogota, Colombia – which you can read about HERE.

This is my plan for a stronger mind. It’s not too complex, mostly quite simple. But important to me. Tai Chi works on your emotions and your mental focus. It’s a good supplement to my karate practice and helps to keep me injury free. But, I am struggling to stay on task. I really want this to be a permanent life habit, much like people who practice yoga.

  • Do Tai Chi Every Day. For me this is a really important goal. Tai Chi, or Taiji, is a mental and emotional exercise. It is a physical exercise, but I am focusing on it from the standpoint of my mental health. As Jake Mace states in his videos, which I really like, “A fish swims in the sea, but a Tai Chi student swims in the air.” To state essentially, that this is an exercise of “meditation in motion” (also words used by Jake Mace). Focus is an issue for me, both as a writer and in my day-to-day life. I need to narrow my focus to one day at a time, and do some meditative deep breathing. Because of my personal beliefs, I do not believe in total “empty-your-mind” stillness. Instead, I believe in finding a focus – such as scriptures or prayer. And, this is a struggle for me because even when I pray sometimes I totally lose track of where I am and what I was doing. When I am doing a consistent Tai Chi practice – my body is more oxygenated (from the deep breathing), my posture is better and I am able to retain a positive focus on important activities.
  • Practice my guitar(s) 30 min – 3 days per week.  Music touches us on so many levels. Playing an instrument is good for stress-relief, increase positivity and math/language learning skills. Not only do I desire a greater level of self-discipline, but I also want to cultivate my own skill with this. A few years ago, I got into playing guitar hero on a PS3. Then, one day as I was playing, I realized that it was this was the dumbest video game ever. Why would I waste hours of time pretending to play on a game system, when I am fortunate enough to actually know how to play the real instrument? I never played guitar hero again. I enjoy playing blues, samba/bossa nova, folk, and a little bit of everything else too. My Reward: New guitar strings!

My 30 Day Plan For a Stronger Body | My Physical Fitness Plan

The last time I was under this intensity of stress, I topped out at 210 pounds.  It was the beginning stages of obesity for my body type. And, it took me years of hard work to get it down. Instability in my life has always resulted in increased weight gain.

These last 4 years in Colombia have been miraculous for me because it is the longest time living in the same place since the age of 21 (Hint: I’m 32 now!). The result, I dropped from a size 14 down to a size 10. I have been in the best shape of my life these last 2 years here due to pilates, and then later karate. I even had a baby in the middle and endured a lot of post partum weakness and pain to get back in shape (AND I DID IT WITHOUT WEARING A CORSET, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!). Now, I want to drop back down to a 10 and work towards a size 8. I don’t need to look like a Barbie doll, I just want to be in good shape and feel good about myself. Did I mention how clothes here run small? This horse boned American needs to be able to fit Colombian clothes. Boom, that right there is plenty of motivation. 🙂

  • Do short 20 minute workouts – 5 days per week. Monday – Friday Especially since I won’t be going out much, now is a great time to lose a few pounds. The massive stress I have been experiencing for the last month or so, has caused my weight to shoot up. In only 2 weeks since going to the gym I have increased by a full pant size!
  • No alcohol for 1 month. Alcohol is the devil of sluggish metabolisms like mine. Unfortunately, I have discovered that lately I prefer beer over wine. Cocktails are too ridiculously expensive (especially with the new alcohol taxes in Colombia). But still, alcohol is the enemy. Whenever I am not drinking my weight instantly starts to go down. By not drinking the weekly 1-2 beers I am guaranteeing my success within the 30 day time-frame I set for myself.
  • Gluten-Free. I’m not going to expound on all the reasons why you should go gluten-free. It works for me, I do notice a difference in my weight when I can stay away from wheat based products. I do not have celiac disease, but maybe sensitivity towards gluten. If you love pancakes like I do, pick up a copy of my Ulitmate Guide to Gluten-free Pancakes eBook for only $1 on Amazon where I teach you all the secrets of how to make fluffy pancakes which are low in sugar, and in some cases high in protein. Whenever I come off the cakes, cookies, pastas and breads made with wheat, I always lose weight and the wheat belly puffiness which my family seems to be inclined towards.
  • Juice veggies 2-3 times per week! Doesn’t hurt to give my body a clean-out too while I’m at it. Juicing is like instant nutrition to our bodies. There are things in raw fruits and vegetables which we can’t get any other way. In some diets, juicing is considered to be too high in sugar. I think if you do it in the morning, or early afternoon its ok especially if you are hitting the gym later. Days where I workout AND juice – I have superhuman abilities. It’s no joke. It’s better than any caffeinated drink or energy shot – not to mention I won’t fall dead of a heart attack as a result! But, I am lazy and I don’t juice enough!
  • No eating-out or coffee for 1 month. I will be healthier for it, and won’t be wasting money. When I eat out I am tempted to eat pasta, bread, etc. And, the cooking oils, the sugars, not to mention the preservatives which are raising toxicity levels when I DO eat out. Again, I’m not judging you, the reader. It’s simply a health choice based on past experience. Eating at home forces me to eat smaller portions and use better ingredients. And, really – things like eating out, can really take heavy tolls on our financial struggles too. I love food. Especially well-prepared gourmet food. But, too often it becomes a money-drain. My birthday is coming up. I will take myself out then!

My 30 Day Plan For a Stronger Spirit | My Spiritual Health Plan

Morals, values and good decisions all stem from our spiritual health. When I am spiritually healthy I speak with cleaner language, I tend think first, make good decisions and sometimes I even manage to say, or write – things worth hearing or reading. But sometimes, I tend to fall into negative habits of hateful self-talk, anger and swearing in frustration. Oh yes, I am the daughter of a son who’s the son of a sailor. Don’t you love irony? Let’s take a music break!

Every day is a new opportunity to start over. And I tend to forget this. Now, I really want to improve my spiritual habits, and strengthen my armor so that I can better pursue the dreams and goals I have set for myself. Here is my My 30 Day Plan

  • Spend 20-30 minutes daily on Bible Study, Prayer. Our bodies are multidimensional, we have souls and incredible minds – the way we use our energy matters. I want to work on my spiritual health. When I don’t take the time to study the Bible and pray, it reflects outward. I want to have better spiritual health and internal abundance. The world of today freaks me out. There are forces at work which I don’t even understand, but I see a darkness in everything from entertainment to politics which wasn’t as obvious previously. An ancient evils exists, which seeks to oppress humanity. When I read the bible and pray in the name of Jesus Christ, it gives me the courage and energy to create my own bubble of love and positivity, in a hateful world. I’m not perfect…but every day I can try to do good.
  • Quality time with my son Daniel every day. No distractions. No work. All of my attention. Playing with children and observing children at play, is amazing. Especially with my own child. The joy and energy they have is amazing. Parents forget to realize, that even just us watching them play – seems to have a nourishing quality on our children. When I actually sit down and give my son the attention of watching him play, he blooms. Even more so when I get involved. It’s also a problem solving activity too as I figure out how to entertain my son with limited resources. Laughter and play with my son truly is a balm to the tempest of my soul.


That’s it. If you actually read this entire thing, then I thank you for taking the time to lend your energy to my project. This is going to help me become a better businesswoman, a better mother and a better person. It’s a total system re-boot which will help me to flow with the changes of life and the stress that comes along with it. By cultivating better personal habits I am creating a healthier environment for my family and I too.

Be sure to Like my Facebook page where I will be presenting daily updates. Over the next 4 weeks I am going to share weekly updates where I will share my recipes, workout routines and updates. This is my accountability. Time to make it happen!

If you feel that this resounds with your path, feel free to let me know in the comment section below. Help me stay accountable to my challenge. Cheer me on! Give me your insights even! This is a growing experience!

About the author

English Teacher, Freelancer, Chocolate Entrepreneur and Traveler!!


  1. Jane Clements
    June 17, 2017 at 7:13 am

    I am really looking forward to following your progress. I have been thinking of doing something similar so I will watch yours with interest. And I like how you stress that these programmes need to be tailored to the individual. That is so important and so often overlooked. Good luck Erin

    • openmindedtraveler
      June 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks Jane! So far so good! I’ll be posting again soon about my Workout Plan. I had hoped to post today (Saturday), but it looks like Monday might be better.

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