Crazy 12 Week Challenge for 2023

by, Sarah Norton // Jan 18, 2023

Hello friends- I am so excited to tell you about my "12 Daily Things for 12 Weeks Challenge" that I created for myself last month! It has been a major game changer!! But first, I just want you to know that I am so glad you’re here! And that’s not because I need to be the number one blogger in America, it’s because I love you! I really do. I don’t know what it is, but I just feel a deep love for my fellow humans walking on this path with me and I want you to know that you are not alone and that you have a cheerleader in me! I am doing this podcast because, through a life time of trying to figure out who I am, I have discovered that I am a teacher and a healer. One way that I heal is by teaching, and sharing everything I have learned, studied and especially experienced myself about how to come to know our true selves, and how to connect with nature and nature’s God. Those are the keys! KNOW and love ourselves. Know and love God. Whatever you call him or her and however  you connect to all the love and light in the universe, that light will help you heal and have a ridiculously happy life. Will you be happy all of the time? No. That’s impossible. I’ve tried and failed! Haha, but we can have so much more peace and joy than we would have without that deep knowledge and divine connection. At least that’s how it works for me and I am an expert on what has worked for me, if nothing else! I am a student of what has worked in my life and I have experienced some devastating trials as well as some incredible, incredible miracles, big and small. I am here to share my stories so you can take what you think will help you write your story and hopefully lace it with some more happiness, humor and healing! I can’t wait to connect with you and hear your stories too! I plan to have guests here on my little set so they can share their stories and growth with you too! I LOVE LEARNING FROM OTHER PEOPLE and so that’s how I am approaching this show. Let’s learn together because humans were born for connection. We can’t be whole without each other. So now I want to tell you about what is happening right this very minute in my life and what got me here. I am in the middle of some serious growth and change and it’s kind of a fun story!  I am on week two of a crazy challenge I gave myself on Dec. 14th 2022, at midnight and I hope you can get a little ah ha moment, a little inspiration and a whole lot of hope from how I was able to wake up from the “body and soul slump” I was stuck in and feel SO MUCH BETTER, in just a few days!! I have lots of tips and tricks in here that will help you accomplish the things you know you “SHOULD do” and that you might even like and want to do, but sometimes are very hard TO DO. Here is my story and my ideas. If I CAN DO THIS, YOU CAN TOO! I am very stubborn!!....

It was my oldest daughter Tess’s 29th birthday and after a FUN evening with her and all our family, I guess I was feeling my age (50).. or maybe I was feeling someone else’s age! I was so tired, stressed about Christmas coming up soon, I was also feeling gross because of all the treats I’d eaten that day (week…month… year!) I was also struggling with grief that comes with this time of year because the anniversaries of the deaths and birthdays of my two siblings I lost to suicide are all mixed up with each other and the holidays. It just gets me in a funk. As I sat there addressing my Christmas cards in the middle of the night, I realized that just because I have been a mom for 29 years and a grandma for almost five, doesn’t mean it’s ok to give up on looking and feeling good. Don’t get me wrong.. I LOVE Grandma-hood!! Hi Slate, Wells and Zavier!) I think I had just given into this totally wrong idea that because I was in my fifties and a grandma, that it was all downhill from here. And I mean that literally! Everything just keeps sliding down and down… Haha. But here is the thing… I KNOW how to feel better, I KNOW what I need to do to get up and get going, ive done it before, but for some reason, I just wasn’t doing it! Do you ever get in the habit, like I do, of letting the day, and your body, or your mood just kind of push you around? I had been making goals for myself but not accomplishing them, and I was disappointing myself. Every. Single. Day. Disappointing yourself that much is exhausting! Some of you are probably nodding your head and know what I am talking about. I spent so much time and energy beating myself up for failing, and then beating myself up for beating myself up, because I know better, and then soothing my battered and beaten up self! I would have spent less energy if I had just gotten up out of bed and gone on a run in the first place! Needless to say, I was at the end of my wits end!... Then I let this feeling inside that has been trying to work its way into me… I have a confession to make. I love the TV show SURVIVOR!! I have watched all 43 seasons, many of them twice and we had just watched the finale that night! I am always inspired by the adults around my age who get in really great shape and go on that show and perform really well in some very physically and mentally demanding challenges, obstacle courses and games! They blow me away and I want to be like them! Every season I vow to train as if I am going to be on the show someday soon (don’t worry- I am not applying!) But that’s what was in my head when I snapped that night… I was tired of letting myself down. I wanted to be strong and fit… and I had to do something drastic…….

So… I did what anyone would do… I made a video in the middle of the night about how, starting tomorrow, I was going to do 12 Things every day that would improve my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, and I would do that for 12 weeks… starting 10 days before Christmas!! OH… And… I would share my progress online! WHAT WAS I THINKING? Haha! The next morning I felt like I woke up with a “What did I do last night?” kind of hangover (I don’t drink but I am just guessing what the feeling would be like! ) But, what’s done was done and I am actually so incredibly glad that “Midnight Facebook video Sarah” started me on this new adventure, my new personal 12 week challenge. I am so curious what my body and soul will feel like at the end of these very intentional and intense 12 weeks! I did the challenge pretty well for the first 2 and a half weeks, but I am a sucker for the new year… so when Jan. 1st, 2023 came around, I just couldn’t help but hit the restart button and reboot my challenge (making it more than14 weeks long now!) and start fresh for the new year! To make it extra fun,   I made myself a huge 6 foot tall poster chart to mark my progress every day! I hung in on my bedroom wall and I LOVE crossing off the boxes each day! So, on that new chart I am in the middle of week 2, but I did two and a half weeks before that, kind of like a practice run…

Well, if you’re curious, here is what I am doing and here is what I have noticed… Oh, and if this sounds familiar to you, it is because I have run many 12 week challenges for groups of people- you might be one of them! But with those challenges I ask them to do 4 daily items; exercise, read scriptures (or other good books), pray, and not eat sugary treats. Then we focus on a fifth, rotating challenge that changes each week, for 12 weeks. Then at the end I will sometimes challenge them to an extra week where they do all 12 things for a whole week and it is epic! WELL, I challenged myself to 12 weeks of all 12 things! It might sound kinda crazy but really it makes sense and you’ll see why in a bit… Here they are.

-       Pray aloud twice a day!

-       Prayer Journal once a day (write out my prayer and record God’s response to me!)

-       Get outside for at least 10-15 min and enjoy the sun and wind on my face!

-       Exercise at least 45 minutes!! (Not just walk the dog- but I’ll do that too!)

-       NO MORE DESSERTS, CANDY OR JUNK FOOD!!  (except on 1 cheat day… Sunday usually)

-       Listen to music

-       Read/study at least 30 minutes of SCRIPTURE or a talk from a church leader.

-       Read or listen to other good and fun books!!

-       Meditate for at least 5 minutes (hopefully more and more as I get better at it)

-       Sleep 7 hours (at least) each night

-       Drink the recommended amount of WATER (No More Soda- or chewing on ice!)

-       Journal about my experiences & share!! (I will share a lot of this with you!)

-       Aaaaand…. Once A WEEK I will go do some service at my church’s temple and give myself FIVE extra points!

So, 11 days into my new year reset, how am I doing? Let me consult my chart here… SO, SO GOOD! I look  better and feel a million times better! It took me 6 days in my trial run before I actually achieved all 12 challenges in a single day, but on the first 5 days of 2023, I got 12 points every day, in fact, I haven’t missed one point yet (I have taken a “Cheat day” on a few things but not more than I have allotted myself). The cheat day is super important because I do not expect, or want myself to be perfect! I am a recovering perfect-a-holic… (you thought I was going to say “perfectionist” didn’t you!?) So, I will probably have to purposely mess up one of these days just to stay clean! Haha. But here is what is so cool. Even on the days that I wasn’t doing all twelve things, I was doing so many more things than I would have done if I hadn’t shot for the moon! And I was doing ALL of the hardest things that I was hiding from before!!!! The ones that were the hardest but I have done the best at and am the most proud of are Exercise, (I have been running for 45 min a day, 6 days a week!! More on that later) NO SUGARY Treats and desserts (except on one cheat day a week) a woman’s gotta live! Drinking lots of water, and getting a good night’s sleep (But not oversleeping!) Surprisingly, the hardest one at first, that I didn’t think would be that hard, was my Prayer Journaling. Sadly! It is so hard for me to slow down enough to give God the time He deserves. Ugh! But a few days ago I got some great mentoring from Kelli Turley and I am doing much better and am savoring our quiet time together….. I really love it… Back to the challenge…I feel a major shift happening. I can see it too. How is this possible in just a few weeks? I have only lost (and then found again) a couple of pounds but I can tell my body is shaped differently (especially waist and my legs) and on a spiritual level, it’s  like I can see my soul shining through my body. I feel like my higher self has been given a voice and it is saying, “I am here, I am taking over the operation of this system and I am going to help us all feel so much better!” Have you ever done digital design on your computer (where else would you do it?) where you have items that are layered, like a picture, and a border and some words you have to click on a button to “Send to back” or bring others forward? I feel like I clicked on the “bring to front” button on my soul. What I also love about this wholistic approach to life and health is that it helps me to stay grounded in the fact that I already am priceless in God’s eyes, no matter what I look like, or even how I feel. I truly believe that we all have beautiful souls that are divine and miraculous, just the way we are, but we can feed our souls with more and more light, and when we are intentional in all aspects of our health, we can elevate the body to where the soul already is!! Isn’t that incredible to think about? I just need to coach my body into doing things that will align better with my soul and then BOOM! Watch me glow!..........

I think the first thing that happened is that I had a few tiny accomplishments and that gave me a big sense of confidence. I spent the first few days just proving to myself that I CAN DO HARD THINGS. I can do things that I don’t even want to do, but are good for me. I honestly wasn’t even sure if I could anymore. That gave me a big dopamine hit! Dopamine is one of several neurotransmitters that helps us feel goooood! It is involved in rewarding all sorts of behaviors and we are all naturally addicted to it. Before this challenge was getting dopamine hits from candy, ice cream and snuggling late in the morning with my cute hubby, but now I am getting them from running, eating healthy, a sense of accomplishment, and snuggling earlier in the evenings with my cute hubby! I am teaching my body that it can get a biochemical reward in other ways. Ways  that lead to me feeling strong, powerful, and like a new woman, or like my old, younger self. Wait… OLD, YOUNGER self? How is that possible?! ………

Let’s talk about a few specifics and what I have discovered and rediscovered, in less than four weeks!

Water … I hardly ever drank it and now I just love it and I find myself thirsty even when I have been drinking all day. My body is excited. I can tell. I feel like I am rinsing myself out, from the inside! I think this is why my skin looks better and brighter (if that’s a thing). Can skin be bright or is that my spirit coming through? Maybe the hydration is helping that happen? I used to crunch on ice and drink diet soda, and it is NOT what my body wants or needs and it just flat out feels good to guzzle cool, fresh water! It’s kinda cool that we get to directly consume one of the four basic elements of life on this planet!

Exercise … this is probably my biggest nemesis.  I seriously love exercise and am a huge believer in it, which is why it’s so weird that I found it so hard to get going these last couple years. I worked out a lot in high school. I went to the gym religiously 3 mornings a week, for about a decade. Regular exercise was a life saver after I lost my sister to suicide when I was thirty nine. The fresh air, movement, endorphins and inspirational things I listened to in my headphones kept me going in the hardest of times. I ran a half marathon in 2012 and then I kind of hit a brick wall and have been off and on ever since then. So… why so much resistance to movement? One reason, I believe, is just plain resistance. I think there is a dark force in the world, that counterbalances (or tries to) all the light and love that is out there. It wants to keep us from living our best life. From moving our bodies, feeding our souls and feeling strong and capable, which really makes us powerful forces for good in the world. I feel like there was a serious dark gravity weighing me down until I could prove that I was going to get up and run anyways. And I DID!!  


If you are going to start exercising again you have to be really gentle at first or you will truly hurt yourself and then quit, or have to! I took it really easy at first. The first day I ran for 5 min, walked for 5 min, etc. for 45 min. Then I moved it up a bit every time I ran and last week I was up to 12 min of running with no break and today I took it up to 26 min! BOOYA!  I am sore but not dying. I am actually just the right amount of sore, and by this I mean that I can feel my muscles! It’s like they are saying, “OH! Here we are! We are alive and kicking. THANK YOU for putting us to work. It’s what we are here for. We got you!” If you think it’s weird that my body talks to me, you haven’t heard anything yet! Just wait… …….I have a theory about exercise that I have been wanting to share for a long time. Let’s see if I can put it into words here… If we wake up and do a hard, but doable workout and really push ourselves a little more every day, then everything we do after that is easier. It’s easier in two ways, first of all, It’s easier because vacuuming the floor isn’t as hard as running 3 miles, and it’s also easier because now my body is in shape enough to do a 3 mile run with no problem, it can handle other hard things too. If running up the stairs is the hardest thing I do all day, then running up the stairs is going to make me feel tired. But If my workout is the hardest part of my day, then nothing really taxes me. And, if I am called upon to do some Herculean task, like pull an unconscious man from a burning car and carry his floppy body across and then down the street … I am READY. I have been training for whatever might come my way! That is an awesome kind of preparedness.... Plus you will get stronger and look stronger. Even though I haven’t lost much weight

Sleep… I love that I am giving myself points in this challenge for sleeping! WIN WIN! I get to bed at a decent time, or make sure I can sleep in a bit… and them boom. When I wake up, I already have my first point for the day! I recently read Mathew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, and learned that every single system in our bodies is improved and nourished by sleep. I know that I need my sleep just as much as I need to get up and run, which is why life is all about finding balance! Always! This story cracks me up… One evening I was feeling incredibly terrible. I don’t remember what happened that day, but I was very stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and majorly irritated, or like my friend Laura would say, “I was feeling stabby!” I even said to my husband, “Bill! I think I might be bipolar!” He said, “Sarah, you just need to go to sleep. You will feel better tomorrow!” SMH! I laughed so hard! It’s like I forget that each night I get to just turn it all off and heal. I did feel so much better in the morning. Sleeping is healing. Every system heals, regenerates, and refreshes at night while we sleep. Even our brain gets rinsed of dead brain cells during a good night’s sleep. Incredible! I love that I get a God-approved, body demanded, time-out every night. All I have to do is climb into bed, pull up the covers and my body does the rest. What a miracle!

NO SUGAR… NO desserts (only on 1 cheat day a week) Sugar, oh sugar, where do I begin? Let’s start with Chocolate. I think chocolate became my lover for a while just before, and right after my divorce. It was like I would snuggle up with some m&m’s, a book and a blanket and that’s where I would get my feel good hormones from. But I don’t need that anymore. I have a REAL MAN to be with and curl up with (and a good book, or an episode of “The Office”) I don’t need sugar to be my lover. In fact, sugar is a terrible lover. It leads to obesity, rots your teeth (I had 2 root canals while I had my braces on this last year!) it’s addicting and it causes (or makes worse) inflammation. My back, neck and shoulder are almost always sore and achy (I did recently hurt myself when I got stuck in a tube slide in our backyard- a funny story for another time) and I know that my diet of candy and treats is not helping my pain levels!

When I was younger I could get away with a handful of candy here and a bowl of ice cream there (and by “there” I mean “every single night!”) but us 50 year old grandma’s are not built for that and I just have to admit to myself that I can’t get away with that now. Dang! It was fun while it lasted. But seriously, I DO NOT MISS SUGAR! I went on a 5 hour car ride with my kiddos and hubby to watch Oregon State beat Florida State in the Vegas Bowl (Go Beavers!) and I wasn’t even tempted by the caramel corn and sour patch kids that flanked me on both sides. If I need a hit of dopamine, I walk my dog, call a friend, hug my husband and soak in his love, or meditate in the sunlight and commune with my creator. None of which give me chubbier cheeks or send me to the endodontist!....

What are your hardest things that you know will help you feel and look better but you just can’t get yourself to  do them? Have you ever asked for Divine help in doing them? Will you join me in improving your daily routine and your LIFE in at least 1 or  2, or 12 of these areas for the next 12 weeks? It  will be worth it! All of the physical affects the spiritual and the spiritual affects the physical. NO matter which things you choose, it will make a difference in your overall life! I want you to have this feeling of accomplishment that I am experiencing and then to experience the changes in your body and soul! TRY it and then Chime in about how it affects all areas of your life; your relationships, self-image, energy, hope, happiness, etc. I have 9 friends who have told me they are going to try some, if not all of these 12 daily challenges and a friend who bumped it up to 13 by adding a daily act of service to the list! She is amazing! I am having so much fun with this I will probably head up a new group in a new challenge in a few months… STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS! It’s so fun to feel amazing and collect points alongside one or two hundred new friends!...........

Speaking of feeling better, sometimes we feel terrible because of trauma that is being stored in our body. No amount of running from it is going to get it out. Did you know, I do individual trauma coaching session where I can help you heal from and put to rest old trauma? It’s a groundbreaking method, but it has been around for decades. I will help you listen to your body so you can release those feelings and then you and I will help rescue that younger version of you that is stuck in that loop. We will teach them what was really true about that situation and get them out of there, once and for all! It is SUCH FREEDOM!  For me, I knew I needed help when I realized my body and my mind were reliving old situations over and over again and not getting any relief. I finally found it and have set myself free! Body and spirit! I hope to help bring that peace to you, the answers are already inside of you, and I can help you find them. Send me an email at or go to my website, to get more information. I can help anyone from anywhere because we can do it online in a zoom mtg. Let me know how I can help you! …………….

Lastly, I have a retreat coming up March 1-4, 2023. That will be here before we know it so get your spot saved! It’s $750 for 3 and a half days of incredibly deep healing classes, activities, lessons and discussions, tons of fun, games, amazing food, beautiful art and new friendships that will last forever! If you sign up with a friend you can save $50 EACH!! Let me know if you have any questions. Go to and read more about it!..........

On our next podcast I will talk about some of the more spiritual aspects of my challenge, how I overcame my eating disorder in 2005, and why this approach absolutely must have a physical and spiritual component. I can’t wait to talk to you again! Until then... I know the key to healing is working together with body, mind and spirit and each other! Life is hard but we are suffering way more than we have to! So, Come home to healing. Home to your own body and home to my house for a retreat!! Ok. Go out there and change a few things in your routine that your body and soul have been aching for. Ask God to help you in this very worthwhile journey! Heavenly help is the best help! I can’t do anything without it!  And remember, I love you and your beautiful soul!