Shopping Brake’s Project 40 Lifestyle Challenge

June 29, 2017


The sky is your limit.

Back in April I announced that for 2017 a lot of change was on the horizon for Shopping Brake.  Today I’m excited to announce something new for you to try—a lifestyle challenge.  Before I explain the challenge rules, first a little backstory as to why I created a lifestyle challenge when Shopping Brake has always been focused on shopping, fashion, and wardrobes.

It was summer time last year when I was driving home from work and my car pulled up alongside a red convertible sports car at a traffic light.  As I sat at the red light I couldn’t help but eyeball the car next to me.  After all, it was almost impossible to ignore this car alongside mine.  You see, this wasn’t just any red convertible sports car, it was a red Lamborghini Aventador Spyder convertible sports car.

Now while I may not be a huge lover of cars (I’d rather go shopping for clothes than automobiles), I can still appreciate a nice looking car when I see one.  Then I looked at the person driving it.  Can you guess what my first thought was once I realized that it was an elderly man and not a young adult driving that car?

“He must be going through a midlife crisis.”

Talk about a cliche, right?

Now certainly there is the possibility that the man driving that red sports car really is going through a midlife crisis.  Or maybe he simply is a lover and collector of expensive sports cars.  Or perhaps it’s not even his car at all, he borrowed it from a friend for a test drive.  Regardless of the reason this situation left me wondering, if men going through a midlife crisis are often portrayed as running around with expensive cars, what are the signs for a woman having a midlife crisis?  And more importantly what is a gal supposed to do about it?

First, what is a midlife crisis?  Merriam Webster defines it as ” a period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized especially by a strong desire for change.”  And what to do about it?  Well there’s lots of advice on the internet, this is only a small sampling:

In general 2 things are discussed the most, 1) women can have a midlife crisis too and 2) it’s a period of reawakening one’s self identity that triggers a transformation.  Well, I’m sure some of this is true, but what if a midlife crisis could be handled in a different way?

Let’s go back to the definition again.  If you got rid of the first half of the definition, it wouldn’t sound too bad.  A strong desire for change can be a good thing, so why not remove the negativity surrounding the majority of midlife crisis advice and simple make the sky your limit?  That’s what Shopping Brake’s Project 40 lifestyle challenge is all about.

The basis of this challenge is simple.  You write a list of items associated with your life, then you work on achieving them.  That’s it!

Unsure how to begin?  

  • Step 1: Pick 7 areas of your life that are important to you.  Here are mine: knowledge, travel, romance, finances, health/well-being, fun/social, and work/career.
  • Step 2: Select 2 statements for each of the 7 areas from Step 1.  Statement #1 is something you’ve already achieved and Statement #2 is something that you want to achieve.

As you create your list, keep in mind that I’m talking about “real life” here and not a “fantasy life.”  When you write your list it should be part acknowledgement for the wonderful accomplishments you have already made in your life and part goals that you can attain, if you put a little effort into it.  This challenge isn’t about dreaming big, it’s about setting realistic expectations.

For example, here’s my list:


  • Get a college degree.  Done.  I have a Master’s of Science and that’s more than enough schooling for me.  I was pretty proud of myself for going to college at all because my parents didn’t have the money or the thinking that a college education was a necessity.  But times have changed and for my chosen profession a college degree was a must have.
  • Write a book.  Working on it.  I’m very excited to announce that coming this fall I’ll be launching my first book.  What I can say for now is that the book covers the topics of shopping, fashion, and wardrobes.  More details will be available soon.  🙂


  • Go to England.  Done.  England was the first overseas trip I was going to do with my father, but it never happened before he passed away.  When I met DH it was the first trip we did together.
  • Explore my local area.  Working on it.  It’s ironic that I’ve seen more of other countries than my own.  But now I’m changing that.  Not only am I interested in trying to explore more of the US itself, but I also want to check out my immediate surrounding areas too.  Parks, beaches, monuments, museums, sporting events, there’s lots to see and do, it’s time to get out of my shell and start actually doing it!


  • Get married.  Done, and I couldn’t be happier with my DH.  I got married older than I originally planned, but sometimes the best things come to those who wait.
  • Keep the romance alive.  Working on it.  The longer you are with someone the easier it is to stop doing the things that you enjoyed when you were dating.  We’ve consciously started going out on a “date night” every few weeks and Sunday mornings have become “coffee time,” even though my preferred drink of choice is a cuppa tea.  The point of “coffee time” is to sit with no distractions, allowing DH and I the opportunity to actually talk with our attention focused 100% on each other.


  • Get rid of short term debt.  Done.  If I can’t pay for it in cash then I don’t buy it, period.  And I treat my credit card like it was cash, which means if I can’t pay off that statement at the end of the month then I can’t use the card to buy it.  It’s taken years to become debt free from cards and I won’t go back without kicking and screaming first.
  • Save money.  Working on it.  Owning my home, having money to retire, traveling, all of these long term financial goals requires me to do one thing above all others, save for it!  I’ve started educating myself about money because I work so hard for it, I better know what I’m going to do with it when I have a little extra cash in my pocket.


  • Walk away from toxic relationships.  Done.  It doesn’t matter who it is, if that person and I can’t have a happy, loving, respectful relationship, then they are no longer part of my life.  There are no get out of jail cards given to someone just because they are a long-term friend or even a relative.  “Just because I’m your [insert relationship excuse here]” is not enough to justify keeping a person in my life.  Every relationship is a 2-way street and if it doesn’t take me down a happy road I don’t keep the relationship.
  • Earn a body of a lifestyle fitness model.  Working on it.  Stating I want to “lose weight” or “get in shape” is too broad a statement.  What does that look like?  To me, it means looking like someone on the cover of a lifestyle magazine; Shape, Fitness, Self, Women’s Health, etc.  I don’t mean looking like these cover girls after all the air brushing, perfect lighting, and photo shop retouching, and I’m not talking about the honed physique of a fitness competitor at a bodybuilding show either because none of that is REAL!  I’m striving for a body where I can go to the gym and lift a weight that’s more than 5 pounds and my shape looks like someone who goes to the gym.  When I flex I see a muscle, but if I’m typing away at the computer there’s no extra bulk sticking out.  And the catch here is, it has to be as natural as possible.  No cheating by taking drugs.  I want to see how my body can look based on exercise with weights and cardio and following a clean diet.  I’m going for a natural, realistic, and sustainable look.  You can check out my progress on my Instagram page where I occasionally post my early (and I mean early, how’s 5am for you?) morning workouts to keep myself accountable and to motivate others.


  • Make a new friend.  Done.  When I was in college it was very easy to make new friends.  But 20 years later, my college days are long gone and it’s not as easy to go out, meet people, and make friends!  That’s why I started a new hobby—karate.  I always wanted to try it as a kid, but my parents never had the money.  Sure I was the only white belt in the adults class but I’m slowly moving up in the ranks and I can’t wait to start the weapons training.  Nunchaku, bo, tonfa, and maybe even the sais.  At the rate I’m going I’ll be my very own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in no time.  And an added bonus, lots of adults for me to become friends with!
  • Go horseback riding—often.  Working on it.  Learning new things is always fun, but so is enjoying what I already know how to do!  I’ve been riding western pleasure for years and I absolutely adore it.  Now I try to ride more often.  I spend all day inside during the workweek so riding on the weekends is the perfect opportunity for me to be outdoors and enjoy nature.


  • Actually have a career.  Done.  I am someone who has always wanted to work and be able to keep a roof over my head, put food on my table, and clothes on my back, all by myself.  This hasn’t been an easy road.  No one helped me pay for school or gave me any contacts to enter the working world.  I had to not only learn each step in the process of creating a career but also pay my dues to achieve every milestone.  When I was a student it was all about having a job to give me money to pay my bills.  Over time I’ve transitioned from just having a job to moving up the corporate ladder and I can comfortably say that I have established a career for myself now.  I don’t know how long I’ll stay on my current career path (I’ve already changed careers twice and I’m sure it won’t be the last) but having a career has given me a sense of accomplishment.
  • Improve the photos for this blog.  Working on it.  Enhancing the imagery for Shopping Brake requires me to learn about all of the elements that go into creating a nice photo.  Lighting, angles, posing, image software, etc.  It’s a huge learning curve and learning something new is a nice way to keep my brain sharp.  In addition to the photos on the blog itself you can also follow along with my daily progress on my Instagram page as I continue to learn and grow.  Maybe one day I’ll even buy a DSLR camera!  But for now I’ll stick to my Droid Turbo smartphone for my photo needs.

There you have it.  My list for the Shopping Brake Project 40 lifestyle challenge.

What about the timing?

For me, I’ll turn 40 years young (see what I did there) next year, so I’m giving myself a year to accomplish my goals.  But this challenge can be done at any age.  Simply write your list, pick how long you want to work on your goals (I recommend 1 year or less, setting a time longer than that makes it too easy to procrastinate), and then start working on them.  And if you need a little extra help stop by my Facebook page and ask a question or you can comment below.  I’m happy to help.

Remember, no matter what your age in life you can achieve anything that you set your mind too.  The sky’s the limit.

Have you ever participated in a lifestyle challenge?

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