Ask Mikey Michelle Arana

As January has once again excited us with a new beginning, a fresh start, and a chance to reinvent ourselves for the new year, we decide to pull out our resolutions list. The fact that we feel like the new year means a fresh start, we have the utmost motivation and drive to start knocking out our resolutions and making positive changes that range anywhere from eating healthy, exercising more, spending more quality time with the family, and even work on paying down our debts. Yet for some reason, every year our drive and motivation seems to fizzle usually around March or April.

Perhaps we have been looking at “the new year” all wrong. If we keep doing the same thing year after year and the same results happen, why not make a real change in 2013? Why not try a challenge for yourself that will guarantee success beyond just a New Year’s resolution? Why not make an overall lifestyle change to your mindset?

Four Ahwatukee women are living proof that a change in mindset really works and lasts longer than making a resolution does, as they have been doing the 28-day challenge for two years and are still going strong.

The 28-day challenge is not a diet, something that you get a T-shirt from at the completion of a program, or even something that makes you feel like you have to stick with it no matter how unenjoyable it is. You don’t have to sign any contracts, pay any membership fees, and it is not nearly as long of a commitment as 90 days, 60 days, or even 30 days. It is 28 days, less than one month, and it is very simple. All you do is pick a challenge that pertains best to what you would like to improve on in your life. Any challenge ranging from eating healthier foods to exercising more, cleaning your house more often, or even cutting your time on technology so you can spend quality time with your family members. The best part is it can be a private challenge. No one has to know about if you don’t want them to. It is that simple.

Why 28 days you ask? It is all psychological. Think of when someone suggests doing a diet that you have to be committed to for 90 days. You may be really motivated at first, but by the end of the first or even second week you start to think about how many more days you have to be committed to this diet whether you want to be or not. Then if you somehow manage to cheat you beat yourself up and then get discouraged and chances are you won’t follow through the diet to the very end, which leaves you feeling more negative about yourself than when you started because now you didn’t complete the diet. Psychologically, this can all be very overwhelming. When you tell your mind that this is just for 28 days, your mind thinks of “20-something” days, which seem easy enough to try because it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as the sound of 90 days, 60 days, or even 30 days.

It’s simple. Just pick a challenge and stick with it for 28 days. At the end of the 28 days, you can either drop the challenge, or add another one. If you think that 28 days will not make a difference, then please continue reading.

Four women based out of Ahwatukee saw my original article in January 2011, titled “A 28-day challenge that could change your life and the lives of those around you.” They decided to give the challenge a try and have since been featured in the January 2012 article, “Four Ahwatukee women took my 28-day challenge and succeeded,” and are still following the challenge today.

If you think this challenge won’t work for you, then how has it been working for them for the past two years?

Patty’s original challenge was to give up all sweets. This was very hard for her to do. She has continued her challenge of no sweets going on her third year in a row and has managed to lose and maintain keeping off three dress sizes. She swims again, something she hasn’t been able to do in years, and has an easier time choosing to eat a fruit salad for dessert instead of cakes and cookies. Patty is pretty happy with her results and said, “When my friends tell me that I look great it makes me feel great. I was able to get rid of three dress sizes of clothes, which made me very happy.” Patty will be continuing her no sweets challenge for 2013 and she will also be adding expanding on her flexible way of thinking as one of her new challenges for the new year.

Sandra’s challenge was to drink a glass of hot lemon water every morning because she heard it was good for your system on the “Dr. Oz” show, and she has since continued her challenge for the past two years. She has also added hiking five times a week and has noticed that she does not have any stomach problems anymore. “Your challenge becomes a habit, and your habit becomes an everyday routine. People compliment me now and tell me that I look great and how I look like I have lost weight. That also motivates me to continue.” In addition to her current challenges, for 2013, Sandra is adding to not eat anything after 7 p.m. for six days a week.

Marsha chose a different type of challenge than Sandra and Patty. Her challenge was to work on different phases of her business everyday for at least 30 minutes. She also wanted to walk at least a mile every day. Marsha is beginning her third year with the challenge.

Katrina’s original challenge was to make the switch to eating all organic foods. She has also been doing her challenge for two years and has been doing extensive amounts of research and has learned a lot about organic foods. She feels as though she has cleaned out her body and has managed to lose and maintain keeping off 35 pounds.

If these four women can do multiple challenges for two years and still have amazing results, then you can try one challenge for 28 days. It’s free, no contracts, and you can pick whatever challenge you want. What do you have to lose?

I would love to hear about your 28-day challenge experience or success story.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at or visit

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