Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Here's to a Healthy365, one day at a time!

The #healthy65 Holiday Challenge has been a very good experience for me. I don't typically sign on to such projects, especially when it includes a potential public component. But something about colleague Juliana Keeping's original post and invitation captured my spirit, and I could not resist joining. Tuesday marked day 56 of 65 for me.

It helped tremendously that she made it so simple. There really was no way to fail. Certainly even the most unhealthy person can categorize at least one action each day as healthy. The low threshold helped me accept the challenge.

I'm still surprised I not only met my goal (to reduce my gum consumption by half, which would be about 50 -- there, I wrote it -- of the small Dentyne Fire pieces a day, at least twice each week) but also expanded it to include seven days a week. And now I want to use it going forward in 2015, one day at a time. Benefits have included saving at least $2 each day (some of which I have donated to charity); and a more relaxed and possibly smaller stomach.

A couple of observations in the past month make me know it's not automatic that I will succeed at keeping this up. My husband wondered along the way why, if I can set this goal and achieve it, I can't achieve some of my other self-improvement ideals. I do not know the answer to that. All I know to do is keep trying. These results reinforce that. Who knew it would work this time?

Then, on Jan. 1, as I was looking at past personal blog postings during  transitions from one year to the next, I was surprised to see these words posted Dec. 31, 2011:

I'm not going to take time to rehash the year's precious memories. ... But I felt the need to write a few words before I do some last-minute work to wrap up a few 2011 details that will help give the new year a fresher start. One of the things I had jotted down but not yet shared is a year-end accomplishment that gives me hope for the future. After wanting to do so for several months if not years, on Dec. 21, I committed to cut my gum consumption by half -- which is probably still more than anyone else in the world chews. And surprisingly, I've chewed less than my allotted maximum several days. And there have been some very positive health aspects. For anyone who has never had a habit get out of hand, this probably seems like no big deal. But I was hooked. It was on a prayer list of things I wanted to change, most of which still seem impossible. The thing that pushed me to action on this was noticing again just how much I was spending on gum. Why all of a sudden I was able to make the change, I do not know. But I credit God. I began by trying to get through just one day, then one work day, and then one shopping day. Each new situation seemed impossible. But I just kept praying and recommitting and focusing on the positive results. I don't know that it's getting easier, but my awareness of the benefits stays strong.

Also strong is my sense of hope that if I can finally, with God's help, do this seemingly minor thing but impossible thing, maybe the next goal for self-improvement will be possible.

Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously???? Does that mean I at one time chewed four times as much -- or is it the more likely possibility that I successfully cut back and gradually returned to the old way? All I know is that, five years later, I was at that exact same place again, and it seemed completely new.

Normally, that would be enough to make me give up. What, truly, is the use? But this time, I choose to take a positive view.

So, I plan to shift my #healthy65 Holiday Challenge to a #healthy365 challenge, one day at a time. I want to keep the gum in its place, not as the prize, but as a foundation on which to build other healthier habits.

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