There are haters of change whether its for themselves or someone else. There are folks who mock start of the year resolutions. There are simply unhappy folks. And more power to them. Maybe they’re ‘realists’. I consider myself a realist so this description of the nay-sayers and change poo-poo-ers bugs me a little. But maybe it comes down to bigger than that. Maybe it comes down to whether a person is an optimist or pessimist. I’m definitely on the optimist side of the realist spectrum. While I acknowledge that not every challenge is going to be a lifelong change in my or someone else’s life, I also love the opportunity to change and to try on or test out something for a month and decide if I like it, if it makes a positive improvement in my life, if the gain is worth the pain. There are few things that are worth a lifelong commitment but how do you know if you don’t try them out for a period? You see where I’m going with this?
In 2014, I did the 30 Day Squat Challenge for a tiny something to keep me going for a month. I liked this one because its not a linear progression but every block of 4 squat days does get tougher over the course of the 30 days. At the end of that first month, I added sit ups to this. Day 1 was 30 squats and 30 sit ups. By the end of the month (because abs adapt quickly and I get bored even quicker) I was doing additional and extra ab work every day. Then the next month I added burps. No push ups, no jump. Just burps. (Message me if you don’t know what that is. Its awesome for your core, hips, shoulders!) Sprinkled throughout the day, I could do all of this and not break a sweat. That meant my cardio was getting neglected but overall I was doing something most days and staying positive about training. By month 4 we were back lifting and by month 6 I had committed to my first half marathon in December. Cue the road work. So the point of the original 30 day squat challenge was just to get me doing something easy to get me back working out and that worked.
For the eating end of life we do short duration challenges and have for years. We found Drs. Eades’ Protein Power Lifeplan back just before we found CrossFit. They tied together well and the Protein Power reading lead to Paleo which lead to working through my health issues as we just were not finding help in the medical community. Even though I was in incredible pain daily from what we discovered was a grain issue, I still struggled with cutting out grains of my diet. So much of life is built around them and I LOVED to bake! We would do 30 days of no grains. I would feel so much better by the end but we would slide back into old habits and favorites within a few short months. Changing how we cooked and baked and what we ate took several rounds of eating tight for 30 days. Making big changes is hard. Over the next 4 years we totally changed our grain consumption and I felt better than I thought possible. Not 100%, but considering where I’d started I was doing amazing.
For the past almost 4 years now, we’ve added in AdvoCare’s 24 Day Challenge every 3 months as a nutrition reset and its taken me to the best health I’ve had since I was a kid. Our household has learned how to really cook because we really love to eat! Not like chefs but we are not the average either. We also are hard to please when eating out. Very, very few restaurants actually make food worth paying what they’re charging. Torchy’s Tacos are worth it. Hopdoddy is worth it. Perry’s Steakhouse is worth it. Its easier to list the worth if places than the not worth it places. That would take a long time. Making ourselves neurotic about food wasn’t fun (we did that at the start of Paleo) but paying attention to what we are eating and doing so with intent rather than just sliding along through life is so much better. We start the next group Challenge coming up on January 11th. Post holidays we’re ready to hit this year running!
Speaking of running…another challenge for this year is covering 2016 miles. Walk or jog, it doesn’t matter. I’m splitting the distance with my family and not committing to any events. Just getting out more with the dogs and people. We talk while we’re out so its a two-fer (which I LOVE!) because aside from navigating incomplete sidewalks and sections where cars block what we do have there is a lot of uninterrupted conversing going on. Its a win! I’m tracking it all with a spreadsheet and the MapMyFitness App. So far so good.
Short duration challenges are good, in my opinion. Its not a lifelong commitment, you can test drive it to see if it (whatever it is) can work in your life longer term and it breaks up monotony. Change is good. Try something…anything…to improve your life. You never know until you try!