Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My #Healthy65 challenge

A colleague has launched The Healthy 65 Holiday Challenge, and I want to participate.

Juliana Keeping began writing about it last week on her hithisiseli.com blog, and she officially started her 65-day push on Monday. Her intent is to go from Nov. 10 through Jan. 13 doing at least one healthy thing each day, with a goal of something greater.

From her introduction:

The goal is to do one healthy thing a day beginning on Nov. 10 and ending on Jan. 13. You can define what “healthy thing” means. It can be a choice that is physical or mental. You are free to do the healthy things in any combination, whether your goal is to cut back on caffeine for a week and see what happens, walk at lunchtime now and again or give kale a chance — at least once. If reading soothes the mind, that can be a thing. If drinking a glass of wine and spinning Johnny Cash soothes the mind, that can be a thing. Want to try yoga/Zumba/hip hop dance? This is your excuse. A thing can be anything that you know contributes to your own wellness — the mind, the body, the soul.

For those who want to participate, these are the steps:

Step 1. Think about what you’d like to get out of this. (For Juliana, 65 is a symbol of her nearly 2-year-old son Eli's chronic illness, cystic fibrosis, which at times has been referred to as "65 roses" by children who had trouble saying the name. "Doing something healthy with the number 65 in it feels like a move of solidarity with the CF community," she says. Also, 65 days provides plenty of days before, during and after the holidays to establish good and healthy daily practices.)

Step 2. She suggests writing down your goals, and keeping them simple, not extreme.

Step 3: "Do at least one healthy thing per day for 65 days starting Nov. 10. Feel free to do more than one."

Step 4: "Make sure to tell us about it." She suggests using the hashtag #healthy65 on social media, including Facebook.

Her column ran online on NewsOK.com over the weekend but didn't run in print editions of The Oklahoman until Tuesday. I asked her if that meant a person could start Tuesday or Wednesday or whenever and extend their 65 days accordingly, and said she said yes, of course.

So, I want to start Wednesday. But I'm still stuck on writing down some simple, not extreme, goals.

Why do I want to do this?

When I first read about Juliana's challenge, it piqued my interest. Over the years, with the support of church, family and a 12-step program, I've incorporated many healthy practices in my daily life, including eating fruits and vegetables and limiting fats and sugar; prayer, meditation and Bible reading; exercise; and journaling.

But I've been very aware recently of some things that continue to weigh me down, even if they don't add actual pounds to my frame. I don't get enough sleep. I chew way too much gum and eat more carrots than any human could really need. And while I don't eat sugar, my consumption of artificial sweeteners has concerned me for some time.

Might the #healthy65 community provide the extra incentive for me to improve in one or more of those areas?

But which one? I pretty quickly felt doubtful I could achieve goals of improvement in any of those areas. If I haven't with my 12-step program, why would I with this?

Yet, I can't shake the desire. So I signed up. And I haven't given up.

So, even as I'm up past when I need to go to bed to improve on my sleep, I'm trying to define some goals.

-- Two days a week, I will chew at least 50 percent less gum. (And no, I'm not going to say how much I usually chew, but I know the amount and will be honest about whether I achieve this.)

I must admit: This is agonizing. IS THAT THE BEST I CAN DO FOR A GOAL?!?!?!?! Yes. Sigh. My hope is that, by even attempting this, I might feel empowered to do more. And above all, not give up.

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