While looking through my (somewhat ridiculous) “I would like to try/improve/etc.” list, I decided to make 2016 the year of the 30-day challenge. I figured it’d be a great way to knock some of those experiences off my list and well, it’s only 30 days. I can do anything for 30 days…right? Well, theoretically. (smile) If nothing else, I hope to learn a few things about myself along the way – and, who knows, maybe pick up a few positive habits as well!
January – Low Sugar
Originally January was supposed to be a sugar detox month – 30 days of no sugar. Yeah, really didn’t think that one through very well. Coming off the holiday sugar rush, giving up the good stuff cold turkey (ha) just didn’t happen. So I decided to modify the rules a bit and go “low sugar” instead, cutting out any excess sugars instead – candy, cake, cookies, all-the-good-stuff-that-makes-life-worth-living, etc.
It was still really hard – way more difficult than I expected / than it should have been. I mean I thought I just liked dessert as much as the next person, and maybe I do. But if January is anything to go by then the average person likes dessert – a lot. (smile) It was really eye-opening to see just how much of the sweet stuff I consumed in a day – both in extras (candy, etc.) and in regular foods. I had no idea how much sugar was naturally in whole foods even. Turns out it’s everywhere! Of course some of it is better than others, and figuring out what was what was actually pretty interesting.
I had hoped that going low sugar would help me feel better – I admit I’d been starting to really feel the effects of over-indulgence – but overall I felt the difference was pretty minimal. I was mostly just grumpy from telling myself “no” all day / feeling guilty if I did it anyway. (Needless to say, I don’t do well on typical diets either.) I used MyFitnessPal to track my foods and to keep tabs on my sugar intake. I found this worked really well –it was particularly fascinating to see my sugar intake on a graph for the month. You can definitely see the cheat days (grin).
So, did I retain any good habits after my 30 days? I think so. I’ve noticed that I definitely don’t consume as many sweets as I once did. I’ve also switched almost exclusively to dark chocolate to satisfy any cravings. A little of that goes a long way for me and it’s relatively healthy. I don’t find myself craving sweets as much either – funny enough once I stopped telling myself that I couldn’t have something, I stopped wanting it. I am a contrary soul… And you know what? I do actually a little feel better. So overall I declare this one a success!
February – Mindful Movement
As February was the shortest month, I figured it would be prime for the movement challenge. (Although I ended up picking up the extra day in January to make a full 30 – go me!) I decided to go for a minimum of 15 minutes of purposeful movement (walking, yoga, dancing around like a headless chicken, whatever struck my fancy that day, etc.) and/or 5,000 steps on the FitBit. The idea was that I not only moved but I did so in a way that was purposeful, pulling my head out and actually noticing the world I was moving around in.
Having been in a relationship with my FitBit for some time now, I’m well aware that I don’t move around enough during the day. 5,000 steps a day is only half of the recommended 10k, but it’s still just under double what I normally average so it seemed reasonable. I’m happy to say that I met or exceeded that particular goal most days (for an average of 66% – don’t judge). I did hit the 15 minute goal each day though so I feel that the month as a whole was a success.
As for the mindful part, I found that to be particularly fun / interesting. I tried to take time out of the day to really look around and notice my surroundings – to break focus from this computer screen or to drag myself out of my own head in order to see the wildflowers that were already blooming or just how beautiful the sky was on that day. It was nice to step outside of myself for a portion of the day and remember that it’s a great big beautiful world out there!
I’m not sure how much of this one will stick with me going forward, but I really hope to remember to take notice more often. Maybe I don’t really like roses (or smelling them), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other flowers to sniff – even here in the desert!
Upcoming: March – March Photo Madness (Follow along or JOIN IN on Instagram!)
P.S. I don’t have topics picked for every month yet, so if you have any suggestions please let me know!