29 January 2015 Last updated

Life Challenge Week 5: Inga Stevens

Inga thinks about finances and starts to enjoy shopping at the start of the fifth week

Aquarius magazine
8 Apr 2012 | 02:00 pm
  • Inga and Louisa

    Inga and Aquarius' Louisa enjoying the delicious cocktail menu at Media One's B:LUSH ladies' night.

    Source:ANM Image 1 of 2
  • Inga is finally over her phobia of shopping for clothes.

    Source:Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News Image 2 of 2

Week 5, day 1

Professional MOT

I came across an interesting article about how the happiest people in the world spend their money and it got me thinking about my own spending (and earning) habits. I had somehow always just assumed that by the age of 31 I’d be, well, a little bit better off financially. I’ve never expected to be ‘wealthy’ as such; I think I was just hoping to have a few more pennies saved away for a rainy day. 

The article talks about a new book called All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending, and how work, life, and money are intertwined intimately, and yet they’re rarely addressed together. The author advocates a new approach to finances for a ‘modern, more flexible reality’. 

Here are some of my favourite tips:

  • Be more mindful about what your money could buy. Make purchases that improve your happiness. For many, that means spending on experiences, not things.
  • Challenge the big house, big yard, two car ‘American dream’.
  • Don’t just scrimp and save. Find ways to increase your earnings.
  • Rethink retirement. In other words, don’t expect to ever retire. Instead, embrace a second or ‘encore’ career.

Through my Life Coaching sessions I have come to understand that it is never too late to make positive changes in your life. When it comes to your job, or your career, it seems like a good idea to give yourself a professional MOT every few years. What beliefs do you hold in high esteem when it comes to your career – is it responsibility, inspiration, or money? Or perhaps you are looking to be more intellectually challenged? I am starting to understand where my personal career values lie and I hope to follow my heart when it comes to creating a more successful work, life and money balance. 

Week 5, day 2


This week’s personal training session with Ahmed was definitely a question of mind over matter. He is off home to see his baby daughter for a few weeks and clearly saw his chance to shock my muscles into remembering what hard work really is while he is away. It’s two days since our training session and I can still hardly muster up the energy to lift my arms enough to brush my teeth in the morning. If ‘no pain no gain’ really is true, then I am about to win big time! 

Week 5, day 3


I’ve never been a big fan of shopping for new clothes. Over the years I have slowly but surely stopped being invited for girly shopping trips and I can’t really blame my friends as my idea of efficient shopping is looking in through the shop door, glancing around for a few seconds, after promptly declaring ‘No, nothing looks good in here!’. 

I managed to get through today’s shopping trip relatively unscathed. The queues for the changing rooms were only one or two deep, the sales staff were pleasantly efficient and I even came out with a few items a size smaller than last time I went shopping for clothes. I take back everything I said about Ahmed – he is a fitness hero and I trust him explicitly! Anything that makes shopping an almost ‘pleasant’ experience gets my seal of approval.

Week 5, day 4

Book worm

I had my last Life Coaching session with Patricia this evening. The thing is that I don’t think I really knew what to expect from this ‘journey’ of self discovery. I had an idea in mind of the issues that I needed to discuss, and the conclusions I would reach at the end of it all. After all, this is what we control-freaks do; we plan for the worst but hope for the best. 

But it turns out that what I actually talked about with Patricia was very different to what I initially thought would be the overriding issues in my life. The little things that I never really thought bothered me that much turned out to be massive hurdles in my life, and the ‘be all and end all’ issues were not in fact that pivotal. It’s a strange feeling to think that I have been worrying about the wrong things all along. It gives me a fresh perspective on what is important to me and I intend to make the most of the momentum I feel at the moment to make some positive changes to every aspect of my life. 

Most importantly, I have decided to start writing a book. It’s something I have been meaning to get round to for years but some excuse or other has conveniently allowed me to sit on the idea for a few more months; then another few more. Whatever reservations I had about taking on a project as mammoth as this seemed to have dissipated and I can’t actually believe how I excited I am to get started on it. 

Week 5, day 5

Think again

I’ve been working at a Women’s Health Conference all day and it has been fascinating to see hundreds of medical professionals coming together to broaden their understanding of women’s health issues, especially in this part of the world. I mentioned the importance of screening and prevention for female cancers in one of my previous blog entries and I was pleased to come across the launch of a new national awareness campaign in the UAE called ‘Think Again’.

Their slogan is ‘Think preventing cervical cancer can wait? THINK AGAIN’ and they advocate regular screening and vaccination to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

You can visit or call 80042212 if you want more information about the campaign. 

Week 5, day 6

Happy Days

I had a fantastic evening with the ladies from Aquarius and the Life Challengers at the Media One hotel in Dubai. We haven’t seen each other since before we started this journey of self-discovery and it was heart-warming to see how positive everyone was feeling about what lies ahead. We all agreed that ‘what happens on ladies night stays on ladies night’ so I’ll tell you what we didn’t get up to. We didn’t stick to our diets, we didn’t exercise and we didn’t go to bed early. And it was so much fun! 

Week 5, day 7

Play time

It’s something I have been meaning to do for years but have just never got round to it – buying a piano. But tonight I have put aside all my plans for the weekend to finally invest in something that has given me years of pleasure. I remember the first time I started playing the piano I must have been about four or five years old. Our family was always full of music and songs and dancing. It has been far too many years since I have sat down and invested some time into doing something that I love. That stops tonight. Fingers crossed by next week I will be the proud mama of a brand new set of keys!

Aquarius magazine

Aquarius magazine

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