Hi! I'm Dr. Brenda

Do you ever get stuck in a rut? Or get tired of your unhealthy habits? Well, I do! And that’s why I created 30-Day Challenges.

I’ve taken every challenge I’ve written – some more successfully than others. And every once in awhile, someone asks about my personal favorites. The truth is, I enjoy writing each and every one of them. But yes, I admit I have some favorites that came along at just the right time. The Meditation Challenge reminds me to slow down and take in every moment of this precious life. And the Walking Challenge turned into a fun month as I snapped photos during my walks.

I hope you find your favorites from our selection of Challenges. Live the better life you deserve!

I grew up milking cows, baling hay, enjoying Friday fish fries, and cheering for the Packers.  Yet even as a child, I knew there had to be more to life than what I saw in my small town. I left the farm for the university – an adventure that opened my eyes to an amazing and diverse world.

I traded the Wisconsin countryside for graduate school at Syracuse University, where I earned my doctorate degree in Sociology. But it took forever for my career to take off, and the intervening years of hardship continue to shape my life. Eventually, I built an amazing career researching and reforming state court processes and policies. But reform came slowly and over time, it felt like something was missing from my life.

​In July 2017, I launched The Five Journeys and began blogging about financial independence, healthy lifestyles, happiness, inner peace, and community. Writing became a reprieve from the divisiveness and negativity that characterized our political world. Later that fall, for the first time ever in my career, I took a month of vacation. I had an amazing time, and when I returned to the office, something had changed. Vacation had brought COLOR back into my life…work was filled with BEIGE. I fell into a rut. And that’s when the 30-Day Challenges were born.

I launched my first 30-Day Challenge in December 2017 – the popular meditation challenge. And I followed that with the Sugar Challenge. Each challenge helped me bring positive changes to my own life and I discovered that I enjoy writing them. Finally, the 30-Day Challenges outgrew The Five Journeys blog.

In the spring of 2018, my career came to a crashing end. In hindsight, I had been preparing for a new life for quite some time. I had built enough financial freedom to take a giant leap, so I created the Early Exit Academy, where I offer fun online course to help others become financially free and live the life of their dreams.

Life has certainly taken twists and turns and I’m holding on tight for this wild ride! I hope you’ll join me on this journey. Life is good!

Companion Projects

​The ideas behind the Early Exit Academy took shape from my writing at The Five Journeys, my blog dedicated to financial independence, healthy lifestyle, inner peace, happiness, and community. I started the blog as a reprieve from the negativity and divisiveness that seemed to be broadcast every day in the United States. Once my job disappeared, I began a series called “Freedom in your Fifties.” You can learn more at The Five Journeys.​

​​I created the Early Exit Academy in 2018, with the goal of helping people build financial freedom and carve a pathway to the life of their dreams. The Academy offers fun online courses for Young Escape Artists and Midlife Dreamers.  Discover your true potential at the Early Exit Academy.

Pay it Forward

​​Better Life Challenges is about making changes to improve your life. We support and encourage others to reach their true potential.  That’s why we choose to support the following partners…to spread the fire of empowerment.

​The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

​We believe in empowering those who have been silenced. We support the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the voice of victims and survivors. NCADV is the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. We do this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change.

​The Food Trust

​We believe the choices we make about what we eat have an enormous impact on our bodies, our families, our economy and our Earth. We support The Food Trust, whose mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers, we've developed a comprehensive approach to improved food access that combines nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, healthy food.