Find Out What Makes You Tick! Learn how to track important mood influences such as sleep, exercise, meditation, etc and can be customized to fit your personal needs. By tracking these key influences and you happiness for a month or more, you can find out what REALLY makes you happy.

Using this tool I've discovered fabulous data about my own happiness--I learned I tend to be happiest and Thursdays and Saturdays, that I'm 11% happier when I exercise AND 10.3% happier when I perform a moving meditation activity (making art, going for a run, knitting, etc.)

FREE APP: Journey ( TEMPLATE: Happiness Rating: __ out of 10 Sleep: __ hours Exercise: Yes/No Meditation: Yes/No Moving Meditation: Yes/No Notes:

Is there anything else I should be tracking? Let me know in the comments below :)



This feature was sponsored by APOP Studios’ Creative Stress Management Workshops. Schedule your group stress management workshop today! Great for work and school events. Email or find more information at


APOP Studios Feature: Jayden Phillips

Jayden Phillips4Name: Jayden Phillips Age: 25

Subject: General Self-Improvement

Original Goal: To lose weight and gain muscle

Today’s Goal(s): To make it a point every day to positively affirm himself and do things that take him out of his comfort zone so that he can continue to grow as a person both mentally and physically.

Advice: “Be true to yourself and love yourself first. Don’t be afraid to be different because that difference is in fact what makes you special.”

PhotoGrid_1458185412835Story: Growing up, playing sports was Jayden’s passion. He was involved with six different teams throughout middle and high school - three traveling teams and three school teams. Not only did Jayden play softball and field hockey, but he was good - so good he went on to play Field Hockey at the Division I collegiate level. He played for two years until he had to make the difficult decision to leave the University. Jayden knew he needed to find himself help so he voluntarily admitted himself to the hospital for self-injury and suicidal ideation.

He had suffered from both since he was 17. Over the years, he had gotten pretty good at hiding his true feelings from those in his life. In hindsight, he says his depression was written all over his face and etched onto his skin all over his body. He felt guilt and shame for the harm he caused himself and he didn't understand why he felt the need to engage in harmful behaviors. Now, he recognizes that self-harm was a means of escaping his emotional pain. In his eyes, his mental suffering was, by far, worse than the physical pain he caused himself regularly.  

IMG_20130918_120528_321What caused this emotional turmoil? Jayden’s sexuality. It was what consumed his thoughts and overwhelmed his mind during this time in his life. Being outside the hetero-normative had and still has a cultural stigma. At 12 years of age, Jayden remembers the first time he acknowledged his attraction to the same sex; he didn't dare share those thoughts with anyone--at least not for a few more years. It wasn’t until he turned 17 that Jayden, a high school senior at the time, boldly came out as bi-sexual. Struggling to adjust to the strong opinions and hatred he perceived from the world, self-harm became part of his everyday routine. From 17 on, Jayden struggled, but not alone; he had a support network of family, friends and professionals. Therapy was an important part of working out his own internalized issues with sexuality. Therapy helped Jayden do some introspection for more answers during college and this process led him to begin to identify as gay at the age of 19. With the transitioning from one label to another more appropriate label, Jayden found a sense of relief, but he knew that label wasn’t quite right.

“None of these labels on my sexuality ever felt completely right. I still felt lost. I still felt different. I still felt that there was something else missing.”

After leaving college Jayden met a girl whose friend was transgender and after getting to know him found that the similarities within their lives were unprecedented. This man opened a whole new world of possibility and he gave Jayden the knowledge and the language that he would have otherwise never been exposed to had they not met. Jayden began to understand that he was not alone in his thoughts and in his feelings. “It all made perfect sense,” he said. As a young child he was constantly asking questions like, ‘Why can’t I be like the boys?’; ‘Why can't I wear a suit like the other boys making confirmation at church?’; ‘Why can’t I play football?’; ‘Why can’t I stand to pee?’ The questions and conversations went on and on. He didn't like pink, purple, or butterflies; He associated those things with girls. He wanted things that boys played with, used and wore. Society told him that as a female he was supposed to like all these things. Society told him to do all these feminine things, but the truth was that those things didn’t suit his interests. “I always felt different from all the other girls, and I was,” he said.  

Jayden PhillipsAlthough sexuality played a part in his internal struggles growing up, gender identity was ultimately the reason behind Jayden’s pain. At the age of 21 he came out as transgender with a fully supportive group of family and friends. This support made his transition from female to male much easier. What’s more, Jayden makes it clear that he couldn’t be more thankful to those in his life for that support, patience and acceptance.

After extensive research about local transgender care, Jayden decided to go to the Mazzoni Center, a LGBT health services office in Philadelpia, PA. He had two initial doctors appointments at the Mazzoni Center before being prescribed testosterone--one with a Trans intake specialist and another with a doctors to go over his bloodwork and the Mazzoni’s ‘informed consent’ policy of care, which was to ensure he was aware of what he was about to do.  Another requirement before treatment was a letter from his therapist validating that he in fact suffered from gender dysphoria and that hormone treatment was the next necessary step. On August 12, 2012 Jayden gave himself his first shot of testosterone which he now takes once a week subcutaneously (into fat).

Jayden Phillips2At 5 feet tall and 180 lbs, Jayden was looking to masculinize his figure. His primary goals were to lose weight and gain muscle in preparation for his chest surgery, essentially getting his body in the best shape he could beforehand. Cardio helped him shed some of those unwanted pounds, but he makes it clear that he was never one to run; he never had good stamina. After an important shift in mindset, Jayden dedicated himself to the gym so he could not only achieve his physical health goals, but also achieve goals pertaining to his own wellbeing and happiness. He did cardio almost every day along with weight training up until the date of his chest surgery. In January 2014 Jayden traveled with his parents to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to undergo female to male reconstructive chest surgery. This consisted of a double mastectomy and resizing of the nipples, as male nipples are generally smaller than females’. The procedure went well and set him on a path to be clear for activity in six short weeks. After he did the necessary resting, he jumped back into the gym-- this time with even more confidence. He was constantly releasing endorphins and losing weight. At 140 lbs he was feeling wonderful.

Since hitting that 40lb mark, Jayden has gained 10lb, but one thing sets him apart: his mindset. He is persistent in reminding himself that his journey isn't over and, in fact, it will never be over. His journey to his best self is just that, a journey. He believes that if he remains positive and motivated he can achieve anything he sets out to do including staying disciplined in the kitchen and getting back to where he wants to be on the scale. Although, he says, “It’s not always about the number, it’s about how you feel”.

IMG_20151016_140247Additionally, Jayden is motivated to stay healthy as he is a Type 1 Diabetic. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 12 years old on Wednesday. November 26, 2003. It was the day before Thanksgiving. He was taken out of school early by his mother, a nurse, to go to the doctor. Jayden had no idea what was going on with his body, but his mother had a pretty strong feeling that Diabetes was going to be the diagnosis after talking about it with her nursing friends. Jayden had all the symptoms in the book--extreme thirst, frequent urination (especially during the night, he would wake up 3 to 4 times to go), extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss (about 20 lbs in 2 weeks), dry skin, hair loss, decreased immune system, discontinued period, loss of muscle, vision impairment, you name it. Jayden’s entire body was shutting down. At the doctor’s office they tested his urine and checked his sugar level with a finger stick. He positively had Type 1 Diabetes. With a blood sugar level of 547mg/dl and large keytones, Jayden and his family then had the answer to all of his symptoms he’d been living with for close to about 9 months. His mother's immediate reaction was to cry, so being 12 years old and not really understanding what this all meant, Jayden too cried. At this point, Jayden and his mother left the doctor’s office, went back home to gather his things, and left for CHOP with his family where he would be admitted for three days to learn about Diabetes. Before he could go home, Jayden learned how to give himself insulin shots and how to count carbs. It was scary, but he was fully capable of taking the Disease on as his own. He would not let it define him or hold him back. In fact, the day he left the hospital his travel soccer team had a game and I went. He played as the goalkeeper, but not the entire time as it was a cold day and his fingers were sore from all the finger sticks that were done in the hospital. He NEVER let Diabetes stop him from doing anything. This diagnosis wasn’t a death sentence and he wasn't incapable of doing what he did previous to being diagnosed Diabetes. He simply had a little extra to worry about going forward. Jayden makes a point not to downplay Diabetes and the struggles that come with it, but he does say that he has always tried his best to stay positive about it. Growing up he made sure that he learned everything he needed to know in order to take care of himself. The best thing he did was own it and learn to manage it.

“Sometimes, when young kids are diagnosed with Diabetes it becomes the parents’ job to take care of everything, but I was at a perfect age to really understand how to take care of it for myself. My mom did help me tremendously, being a nurse, but I made sure that it was me who was doing my shots and it was me who was counting carbs and memorizing how many carbs were in different foods...etc. I am proud to say that I've had Diabetes for nearly 13 years and I've never been hospitalized for complications from diabetes other than my original diagnosis. I've managed to control this disease fairly well and that is something I'm very proud of. It is a difficult and frustrating disease but it’s important to stay positive and to not let it get me down.”

Jayden continually tries to remind myself how grateful he is that he is alive and lives in a time that has the technology and science available for him to live a happy, healthy life despite having diabetes.  For the last 10 years he has demonstrated this gratefulness by being involved with an annual week-long overnight camp for kids with diabetes. He emphasizes what a blessing this has been for him. The life-long friendships and connections he’s made through camp are irreplaceable and he’s not sure he would have the same outlook on diabetes as he does today, had I not gone to camp at all. He was only a camper for two years, but he stayed and continued as a camp counselor every year since.

“It is rewarding and comforting to be around 100 plus people who all suffer from the same disease. We can relate to one another on a level that other non-diabetics can't. Sharing stories and experience with one another and knowing we aren't alone is what allows us to push through each day. So, if you are reading this and you know someone or you yourself face any of these challenges, just know that you are not alone and it will get better so long as you stay motivated, stay disciplined, stay active, stay inspired, and always stay true to yourself.”


1437585727674 (1)C: Can you talk more about your sports background?

J: I ended his High school Field Hockey career as a 1st Team All American Field Hockey Goal Keeper. I played on a travel Field Hockey team called the Mystx that won both the indoor and outdoor national championships with him as their Goal Keeper. This led me to college at Drexel University, where I played Field Hockey on scholarship. My freshman year I started Goalkeeper and in that first year my team made it to the NCAA Elite 8 game ending our season with 19 wins (the highest number of wins in a single season). This record still holds true today! I also played travel softball for the Horsham Banshees from age 12-18 and was on the 2008 State Championship PIAA AAAA softball team at Hatboro Horsham High School. I didn’t play soccer for school because it was in the same season as softball but I did play travel soccer as a GK in middle school which I think helped me be a better FH Goalie. I also played varsity basketball my Freshman and Sophomore year of HS. Sports were definitely, my thing!   


C: Can you talk a little bit more about how you view psychological pain versus physical pain?

J:  For me physical pain served as distraction from my own thoughts. It was something I had control over whereas my thoughts I could not control. One pain would feed the other and vice versa, it was a vicious cycle. It almost became an addiction. Cutting for me was like a drug-- to distract myself and escape reality.


C: Can you delve a little deeper into your hospitalization?

J: My family was very supportive. Although I didn’t want any visitors, I know they wanted to see me because they were scared for me and love me very much. I believe my mom is the only one I allowed to visit and maybe my dad did too. I don’t quite remember. However, they were all always very supportive towards me throughout all my struggles. I self-injured multiple times a day, 50-100 cuts at a time, for the better part of 5 years. My 1st hospitalization came in January 2011 after my normal cutting behavior wasn’t enough to relieve the psychological pain I was feeling at the time. I wrote a note and I tied a tie around my neck attempting to choke myself in my college dorm room, but couldn’t do it.  Immediately after this serious contemplation of suicide, I contacted my therapist who I had been seeing and working with since I arrived at college in 2009. It was my decision to ask for help and it was my decision to seek treatment. I knew I didn’t really want to end my life, but the mental state that I was in had me contemplating suicide on a regular basis. I think that alone scared me enough to try and get more help. I knew I couldn’t continue to live the way I was living. So, my therapist had a public safety officer drive her and I over to the nearest hospital Emergency Room. It didn’t take long for me to to be seen by a doctor. I was immediately treated for surface abrasions and given a 1 to 1-- meaning someone continually kept a close eye on me due to my suicidal ideations. I was eventually transferred to a psychiatric hospital associated with that ER via ambulance. I stayed there for a duration of five days. When I went into this, I wasn’t expecting to be cured, but I hoped to gain more tools in coping with depression, anxiety, and self-harm behaviors. This short time did allow me to clear my head and take a break from stressors of the real world, but after leaving I still felt unsafe from myself. It didn’t help that when I was discharged they called me a taxi that would take me to a location near campus. Immediately after being discharged, I had an appointment with my psychiatrist whom I had been seeing for medication treatment prior to being hospitalized. Anxiety ridden and vulnerable, leaving the hospital in this way was not beneficial for me. Later talking with my Mom, she reassured me that she and the rest of my family were on my side and whatever I needed they would try their best to accommodate. She even said I could go back to the hospital if I wasn’t ready. Not even a month later, I found myself back in the hospital. This time in a different hospital. This second stay lasted nine days and it was a much better experience. Still, I knew I couldn’t leave there cured, but having this time to really work intensely on my mental health helped change my outlook on life.         


1438207208152C: What activities do you usually do when you hit the gym?

J: I usually start my gym sessions by running on the treadmill for at least a mile. I walk at 3.0 mph pace for a minute then go to either 6.5 or 7.0 mph at 2.0 incline for the remainder of that mile interval. Sometimes I’ll sprint for a quarter of a mile then get off do either some pushups or burpees then repeat the process. At this point I do some stretching before I hit the weight section. I usually focus on a specific body part or parts each day: shoulders, back and biceps, chest and triceps, legs, etc. I take how my body is feeling into consideration and plan to be flexible if any desired machine is occupied. I don’t always have a set plan, but this is a recent goal of mine-- to get into a more regimented routine. I’m also known by my friends to randomly do pushups or headstands at anytime or place.


C: Do you have any advice for someone trying to get in shape/transform their body?

J: Be consistent in going to the gym or engaging in physical activity. The gym is not necessary for achieving fitness. Stay motivated and make your workouts fun. Change things up to keep it fresh and to confuse your muscles. Doing the same things over and over will limit your growth and most likely cause you to plateau. Be disciplined in the kitchen, but don’t deprive yourself of foods you enjoy. Everything is OK in moderation.     


Jayden Phillips1C: How specifically did the trans-man you met help you accept or love yourself more?

J: I can say that he opened my eyes to the possibilities of transitioning. He introduced me to the Trans Youtube community where people with this background share their stories and journeys throughout their transition. After learning about what transgender was, I found comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one who had these feelings their entire lives. Watching these videos allowed me to better understand the process transitioning and its effects. I’d say for about 6 months I obsessively watched youtube videos of voice changes and body changes from guys who were already on hormones and for good reasons; I knew that this was something I had to do in order to finally feel at peace with my own self-image.  

IMG_20150904_171319 (1)


C: You mentioned earlier that you had a strong support network thus far. Can you talk a little bit more about how they supported and continue to support you?

J: My support network is just there for me. They let me know that they care and that my happiness is all they ever wanted for me. They showed that they love me no matter what the circumstances. It was hard for them to get used to calling me male pronouns and my new name, Jayden, but that didn’t bother me because I knew they were trying their best to support me. My support network would correct themselves when they slipped and correct others if they slipped. The act of trying was good enough because I knew in time it would become easier. For 21 years I was referred to as one pronoun, “she,” and name “Jenna”. I understood that it’s difficult to suddenly switch pronouns and name. It was even hard for me. It was not only a transition for me but for everyone in my life and that’s important to remember when being misgendered or called the wrong name. For me, it only becomes a problem if someone maliciously or purposefully ignores my wishes and misgenders me or calls me the wrong name.


C: Do you have any recommendations for our readers on how to build a support network this strong?

J: Surround yourself with people who will not necessarily understand you but accept you for who you are. It is not their understanding but their acceptance that is important.  


C: Can you talk more about therapy and how that has helped you move forward a better person?

J: Although therapy can often be stigmatized, it shouldn’t be. Going to therapy doesn’t make you weak or incapable of figuring things out. Having someone to talk to who is unbiased to your situation can be refreshing and quite rewarding. It can help you to process, evaluate, and work through any situation you feel the need to talk about.




This feature was sponsored by APOP Studios' Creative Stress Management Workshops. Schedule your group stress management workshop today! Great for work and school events. Email or find more information at

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#APOPFNF Profile: Misty Mann

20151216_180659 (1) Name: Misty Mann

Age: 43

Subject: Smoking

Original Goal(s):  To quit smoking.

Today’s Goal(s): To be healthy--mentally and physically; To eat healthier, exercise and discover herself.

Advice: “You only get one shot at this life. So be you; do you. Be happy with your choices and don’t worry about impressing others or conforming. Oh, and manners go a long way.”

Story: Misty started smoking cigarettes when she was a freshman in high school. 15 years old and wanting to hang out with a particular group of kids who just so happened to smoke, she thought, ‘why not?’

“The first time I smoked is super fresh in my mind. My cousin, Dawn, and I stole a pack of kent III cigarettes from my dad and walked a block away from my house. It had just started to snow; everything was dusted in white. Dawn lit hers first and smoked away. She had been doing it longer. I was next. I tried to light it and couldn't so she did it for me. I held it between my fingers like you see in the movies. I thought I was so cool. I inhaled and blew the smoke out. I wasn't inhaling all the way, but it was cold out and the smoke mixed with the cold air so it looked more like smoke. Dawn laughed at me and told me I was doing it wrong and said to pretend my mom was going to catch me. A few moments later I inhaled and she hollered, “Oh crap! Your mom!” She turned and pointed. I had already forgotten she said to pretend and I thought my mom was really there. I accidentally inhaled.  Dawn told me I did good and I felt super excited. It seems stupid now that I look back on it, but at 15 I felt in charge of something. I liked the attention I got from it.”

A pack of cigarettes were just 80 cents from the local vending machine--meaning she didn’t have to flash her ID. When thinking about that time in her life versus now Misty says unsatisfied, “I’m sure the cigarettes had a warning on the pack that smoking was dangerous, but it was not as prevalent as it is today.”


The battle to quit smoking was a 25 year process for Misty--perhaps if that label had been just a little bit bigger things would be different, but it wasn’t. It was actually quite unnoticable if it was there at all. The first time she tried to quit she was 19 years old; It was 1991 and she had just found out she was pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. The doctor suggested she cut back, not quit. At this point in her life, quitting wasn’t top of mind. As per the doctor’s request, she went from a pack of cigarettes a day to about a half pack (about 10 smokes per day). Of course since there was no self-ingrained urge to quit Misty went back to smoking full packs a day after her daughter was born. Then came along another beautiful baby girl in 2002; once again she tried to quit, but went back to her old habits shortly thereafter.

Misty’s third attempt to quit smoking was in her 30's back in 2006. Around this time, anti-smoking campaigns were going strong. The government and other organizations began the education process on exactly how bad smoking cigarettes can be for the body. Misty recounts that everyone, especially her loved ones, began pressuring her to quit. Although she tried to quit at the time, she remembers being angry and reticent. She started her third journey to imposed improvement by using the nicotine patch. With the nicotine patch it took her several tries over a few months to actually start a streak, but once she had a few days without smokes under her belt she ended up sticking to it for five months. At this point, something went askew--perhaps it was the fact that she didn’t do it for herself in the first place, perhaps it was the tragedy she witnessed while waiting at a red light in Myrtle Beach...a man and a woman riding a motorcycle getting hit by a truck. Either way, she that day she immediately went back to the hotel, bought a pack of cigarettes and headed for the beach...alone. Once again, she began smoking a pack a day again.

The rest of Misty’s 30's quitting was on her mind constantly. She would go to bed every single night and say to herself, “This is it. Tomorrow morning you are done!” but each morning she would find herself grabbing for that cigarette and lighting it. Each morning there would be a new excuse as to why she shouldn’t be quitting that particular day. She enjoyed smoking. It was her escape from meetings, family functions, etc. She could excuse herself from almost any situation with “I need to go smoke.” It was society's acceptable social crutch and she used it, but overtime she began getting upset with herself thinking, ‘Why can’t I just quit?!’ She began to hate the way it smelled, how it made her family and surrounding environment smell; her clothes, car and even presents she gave to people smelled of cigarettes. What’s worse, she noticed she was having trouble breathing; she couldn’t even carry a load of laundry up the steps without sitting on the top step to catch her breath. Towards the end of her 30's she was up to two packs a day. As if the breathing difficulties weren’t enough, the cost of one pack of cigarettes were now over six dollars. Misty talked about how much cigarettes drained her wallet. She used to say that when they hit four dollars she would quit, then five dollars, then six and she still hadn’t quit.”




Misty had her turning point at 39, she took her oldest daughter to see a psychic for her October birthday, something both she and her daughter thought would be an exciting adventure for an exciting day. It went smoothly, until the end; Misty, still a little shaken up by what the psychic told her, recounted that when her and her daughter were heading for the door the psychic approached her telling her, “If you dont quit smoking when you are 40, you will be on an oxygen mask by the time you hit 43.” Now, whether the psychic was right or not did not matter. The thought that, at 43 years young, she would be on oxygen terrified her.  A few months after this encounter, in February 2012 Misty turned 40 years old and by May 2012, Misty began having even more difficulty breathing. All she could think was, ‘What if the psychic is right?’ Misty needed to quit and so she did; slowly but surely she cut back one cigarette per day, then a few a week. It was difficult to say the least, but by September 2012 she was ready to completely cut smokes from her life. The first day without a cigarette was horrible. She was sweating and crying; you would have thought Misty was on serious drugs. She called her doctor and her doctor said that some people have severe withdrawal from cigarettes, comparable to heroin withdrawal. She ended up smoking the first day and recounts that she was so disappointed in herself. Three days later she went and bought the nicotine patch and on september 25th she marked a important day in her personal story. She put the patch on and made up her mind--September 25, 2012 would be the first day of the rest of her life, without cigarettes. She knew that she could quit this time and kept reminding herself that an oxygen tank would absolutely not be in her future--she was and still is better than that.

The first week was awful; Misty was beyond cranky, but everyday it got easier and three months in she noticed a huge difference in her life and health. She was breathing better, not to mention smelling better. She eventually stopped craving cigarettes every day and stopped wearing the patch--she no longer needed it.

Now Misty is 43 years old and healthier than ever before. It’s been over three years and three months since she touched a cigarette. Today, she’s basking in her own success and even has a few more tricks up her sleeve she’s using to achieve her next goal--to become mentally and physically fit.



C=Carlee Myers, Founder of APOP

M=Misty Mann, Member of APOP since 2015


C: Can you elaborate further on how peer pressure to quit smoking made you feel over the years?

M: Peer pressure to quit over the years? Hahaha. It honestly pissed me off. The more my sister or mom said something the more I smoked. I was being stubborn, but it’s like asking to someone overweight when they are going to drop a few pounds. It’s not nice and certainly isn’t good for that person’s mental health. I found it rude and annoying that people would point out my flaw and comment on something that I struggled with everyday.


C: Can you talk about the pressure you felt from others to smoke?

M: I actually never felt pressured to smoke by anyone. It was something I wanted to try just because I thought I could hang out with the ‘bad ass kids,’ but they never forced it.


C: Can you elaborate further on the day that you went to the psychic with your daughter?

M: The day I went to the psychic was actually pretty boring. I sat in the waiting room and went out on her porch to smoke once or twice while I waited, which I’m sure is one of the reasons she originally told me to quit...but she was so specific about me quitting at the age of 40. She didn't know how old I was, which made me think that maybe she was right. Either way it was the push I had been waiting for; I wanted to quit, but I didn't want to give the satisfaction to my sister or mom that what they said made me quit. I guess I used the psychic as my reason.


C: I often hear from people who are trying to quit smoking that drinking triggers the urge to smoke again. Did you experience anything like this?

M: Drinking was never a trigger for me.


C: Do you have any advice for avoiding cigarette cravings?

M: Drink lots of water. I also used mint gum, which I’m now addicted to. Haha, but I guess it’s better than smoking.


C: Do you have any advice for someone who is trying to quit?

M: The urge to pick up that cigarette always passes. That horrible feeling does get easier. Just ride it out. It’s worth it.


C: Why do you think that you succeeded this time, but fell back into the habit in the past?

M: I think I succeeded this time because I was ready. I did it the other times because I was told to quit...because it was unhealthy...blah blah blah. This time it was for me, not them.


C: Do you think giving up cigarettes one-by-one is one of the reasons you were successful? Perhaps small goals leading up to a larger goal was important to your success?

M: I think slowly giving up day by day was just an excuse to keep smoking longer. I knew I had to quit at some point so I justified in my mind that slowly doing it was ok, so I didn't have to give it up all at once.  


C: How else has giving up cigarettes positively influenced your life?

M: Giving up cigarettes has completely changed my life. First off, I feel so much better. I’m able to do things without being winded. I smell better. On the down side, I have no excuse for bad behavior. I can’t blame being cranky on nicotine withdrawal any longer, but I’m working on my mental health so I hope that won’t be struggle much longer.


C: Becoming healthier usually requires a complete lifestyle change, how did you change your day to day life? Have you integrated different things into your daily life to set yourself up for success?

M: Well I gained a ton of weight when I quit smoking...about 50 pounds. Apparently, I ate instead of smoking but didn't realize it until recently. So my day to day for the last three years has been just getting by, not really changing anything. Honestly, this lack of further change has led to issues with depression, but that’s a whole other story. Haha.


C: What are your goals for self-improvement today?

M: My goals have drastically changed in the last few months. I want to be healthy, and not just from quitting smoking. I'm trying to eat healthier and exercise. I've lost 10 pounds so far. I'm trying to "discover me" and am combining my physical health with my mental and spiritual health. I’m reading more on adventures for the soul, to become more positive and truly happy...with my relationships, finding a new career, etc. My newest journey might actually be more ‘traumatic’ than cutting cigarettes out of my life. Haha.


Know someone that deserves recognition for their success? Comment below to nominate them!