The Chinese lunar New Year begins February 8th, which means that Spring is just around the corner! (Spring on the Chinese calendar begins in a few days, far head of the March 20 Spring equinox on the gregorian calendar).
At this time of year, the Yin energy of Winter is receding and the Yang energy of Spring is expanding. The momentum of this yang energy (aka spring fever) is the reason we all feel a desire to organize our life, clean out the garage, rearrange the furniture in the house, cleanse our colons, and move our bodies more.
If you've been thinking about making good on your New Year resolution, now is the perfect time to commit.
The conveniences of modern living are addictive, and the more distractions we are exposed too, the more challenging it can be to break from our routine.
Its a small example, but I am inclined, for instance to bring some kind of “power bar” to work rather than an array of nuts and fruits to eat as a snack. Why? Because its easy and cheap. I know that eating a sugary snack is not the best choice, yet I keep doing it. I keep doing it because it is less expensive and convenient to buy a box of power bars at Grocery Outlet versus expensive organic nuts from the local food coop. I do it because I don’t want to eat something that is going to create a food smell on my clothes or be messy at work. I do it because I have been unwilling to schedule time in my week to make a nutritious snack to have on hand throughout the day.
You see how this works? Each choice we make has a story. That story is what tethers us to the habit.
Over time the habits accumulate and compound into genuine health concerns
Joint and Muscle Pain, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Type II Diabetes, Chronic Allergies, Poor Digestion, Headaches, Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, Addictions.
What we eat, how we consume, and how we move (or don’t move) dramatically effect our health and well being.
This is where the 30 day challenge comes in.
What is a 30 day challenge and how does it work?
You choose 1 thing to do (or not do) everyday for the next 30 days that will have a positive impact on your health and well being.
I’ve been doing a 30 day challenge almost every month for the last year, and it has grown from something I had to really work at, to a practice I look forward too. The compound effect of making incremental adjustments to my choices around consumption and movement has had a huge impact on my overall physical and mental health.
Tips to get you started
- Start simple. It is a lot easier to choose something small than go whole hog the first month.
- Buddy up! You don't have to do the same challenge, but do check in with each other each day.
- Make yourself accountable. Create a penalty that is something you really don't want to have to do.
- Give yourself a reward at the end of 30 successful days.
- Don't give up if you skip or forget a day.
- The goal is to be consistent, not perfect.
- No sugar (or caffeine, or alcohol).
- Don't eat anything that is pre-packaged (like a power bar).
- Ban internet shopping for a month.
- Give one thing away each day for a month.
- Walk 1 mile everyday no matter what.
- No TV (including Netflix and other digital versions of TV)
- Sit in nature for at least 30 minutes each day without using your phone.
- Set an alert to move around (walking, stretching) for 10 minutes every hour of sitting.
- A digital curfew (no internet, phone, tablet, computer before a certain time and after a certain time).
- Brown bag it. Make all of your meals at home and bring a lunch to work.