January is over already – how did you do on those New Year’s resolutions? I didn’t make a traditional, year-long resolution. Instead, I challenged myself to stay off of all social media for an entire month. It was a resounding success, one that I will expand on in another week or so when I’ve had more time to reflect. But, a few days before I reached my goal, I realized how much easier it was to achieve because of the easy limitation I put on myself. You can do almost anything for just one month. So, I decided to continue my momentum by giving up something else for February. But why stop there? And thus, my late-made, but achievable New Year’s resolution was born. I’m giving up something different each month this year.
I created a list in my phone where I will record what I’m giving up for each month. I haven’t completely filled in the list, and may even rearrange when I give up certain things. For example, I may decide that I don’t want to give up sugar or alcohol in November. That is my birthday month, and I enjoy wine and birthday cake as part of the festivities. Or, perhaps by the time I get to that point of the year, I’ll actually WANT the challenge of giving up something that is so engrained in celebratory habits. Go big, or go home, right?
I figure that I can evaluate each thing I eliminate separately. This way, I can determine whether I want to give it up for longer or whether I feel it’s something I can healthfully incorporate into my life. For instance, I might try to go without chocolate for one month (heaven help me), but at this point, I don’t think it would be something I’d have to surrender forever.
So, what’s on tap for February?
This coming month, I’ve resolved to give up both coffee and soda. I don’t drink a lot of either, and I don’t even drink them daily. I drink probably 4-6 cups of coffee each week and 1 or 2 sodas a week (if I’m counting a 12 oz can as one). Even with that small amount, I’ve still been consuming more lately than I want to have on a regular basis. I’d actually like to get to the point where neither thing is a “regular” occurrence in my life. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to see some actual, tangible benefits, but even if I don’t, I know eliminating both will improve my overall health.
How are you gonna make it through?
One of the best ways to change a personal habit is to replace it. That way, it feels less like giving something up and more like an adjustment. When I did my social media hiatus, I actually made a list of things I could do anytime I felt the urge to mindlessly go on social media. It helped a great deal. With my intention for February, I’ll make sure to have plenty of green and herbal tea on hand. Tea is something I already really enjoy, so it won’t be so hard to switch over. I also read that roasted chicory tastes a lot like coffee, but doesn’t have the caffeine, so I’ll give that a shot (no pun intended).
I’m really excited to be giving up something each month this year. It will be more than just an opportunity to eliminate negative habits. I can use it to incorporate healthier ones as well, such as making sure to go outdoors every day (yes, that’s a challenge for people who work from home), or never sitting for longer than 30 minutes. If you decide to undertake a similar challenge, please let me know how it goes for you! Better yet, find a friend or two and use one another for accountability. Just maybe don’t use Facebook…