As a reminder to myself in three months’ time, when I’m sitting here to write this I’m feeling tired, headachey, and a tad short of breath and I spent a portion of last night throwing up.
That point referenced in the title, noted at about 3.40 am this morning, was somewhat pre-empted. The ‘fuck this’ moment was underscored by the stereotypical “last hurrah” on Tuesday night, knowing I had some free time on my hands for Wednesday. With some FA Cup action on the TV, and a Ted Lasso rewatch currently underway, the wine was opened, the large packet of some Aldi brand crisps were devoured and the large back of Fruit Pastilles disappeared. Sounds like a good night in, right? But ask yourself this – if someone handed you a blender and suggested pouring in two large glasses of red wine, a 150g back of some very strong cheese and onion crisps and a week’s worth of pastilles, then knock it back, would you?
I will openly admit I have the sweetest of teeth but for the first time in a long time, I found I was forcing myself to consume. I did, paid the price, felt a hell of a lot better and went back to sleep for an hour or two happy with the decision made that it’s really time to shit or get off the pot.
Plotting a change
I’ve spent the first two months of the year running around, early starts to late finishes, cramming extra days into the week and slowly, day by day, forgetting a little about myself and those a lot closer to home. I figured I would take January to work through a few things, set up some projects and plans for the year, and then start making moves to look after myself a little more in February. All of a sudden 1 February became 28 February and now, it’s 1 March. By 1 June I will have celebrated turning 40.
The way I figure it, that gives me three months – ample time – to make the personal adjustments I need to in order to improve my own well-being, health, fitness and the rest.
Some people will relate to this but I seem to be forever telling myself that I’m going to do something, then actively finding a way around doing that one thing. Call it procrastination, call it delay tactics, call it what you want but once the change is made, it has to become habitual – just like the stuff I’m trying to undo between snacking, diet, sleep, exercise, work and the rest.
Three months – 1 March to 31 May – to instil a sea change in my approach to life and living. Some people say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, some say it’s 66 days, and some say it’s anywhere out to a year. Does it really matter so long as you take the same approach day in, and day out? Know what you’re going to do, plan accordingly, and execute. Oh, by the way, that 30-day writing challenge I set myself in January as an attempt to stoke the flames of a few blogs I keep? Utter bullshit. No problem completing it on a professional level but on a personal level, it tanked.
Wait, what’s actually changing?
A lot, as it happens. My list for the next three months looks like this…
Bed by 11pm
There’s a slim hope I can go earlier, but I can absolutely go later without a second thought. Setting a curfew time that’s back from midnight – bar one night in the week where I’ve planned for a later time – should land me at least an extra 1-2 hours of sleep per night, 7-14 per week and over the 90-or-so days between 1 March and 31 May, that’s an extra 90-180 hours of sleep. Considering I sleep at best 5-6 hours a night, the possibilities are there for huge reward.
Swapping socials for books
Do we really pay attention to our screen timers any more? My down time has become the infinite rabbit hole that is TikTok videos, reels, and mind-numbing content that doesn’t do too much to educate or inform. If I spent half as much time stuck in a book, especially late at night, I’d be much better off.
Adios to daily snacking
When I say I’m “a divil” for snacking, there are days where I feel like Satan incarnate. Crisps are my kryptonite, chocolate I can take or leave, and anything jelly/sweet-related gives me the short-term high I want but long-term problems I do not need. Three months of clean(er) eating should help kick that to touch.
Hola to exercise
I’ve put together a plan for the week with slight changes from March to April to May. We had two dogs, as of October we’ve got one. He was walked within an inch of his life for November, then slackened off. It’s picked back up, thankfully, along with my Zwift subscription that runs around €15 a month (cheaper than a gym and much less fussy) to help inject some cardio into my day. Strength training will follow.
I’m not allergic to it, but for the past 2-3 years, my days have become more desk-based and nights have become, well, more desk-based. That’s got to change. A little goes a long way. I’ve gone from spending three years in a gym, playing golf, hitting four or five jiu-jitsu sessions a week and cycling on the weekend to zip. It takes a lot to build up, but undoing your good work can happen in record time, trust me.
If you’re priviliged to be living in an area where you can drink water, you should be drinking water. I already know I feel much better when I drink a litre or two a day. I don’t drink enough during the day, no matter how many cool-looking bottles I pick up or whatever Amazon offer lands in through the front door. It strikes me that sometimes I just absolutely forget, then when you go to pour a pint of water out before bed (habit, let’s look at those later) and gulp it back, you very quickly realise what you’ve been missing out on.
Just saying no
This is a big one. The power behind saying no to things can be mood-changing at the very least. My default is yes, unashamedly so. I’ll find a way to work whatever it is into my day or week or try get someone out of a hole. Sometimes, you have to say no, and I expect there will be a lot more of that over the next three months. Oh it’s transformative indeed.
All that’s grand, but why?
There is no point in change for the sake of change. Change for the sake of bettering yourself, solving a problem, making improvements, that’s the kind of change I’m looking to effect. It’s got to be said though, it’s not like I’m dying or have been told to make drastic changes to my lifestyle. I think I’ve become aware enough over the past while to identify how my body reacts to different foods, sleep (or lack of), getting out in the fresh air, scrolling on a phone or sitting in front of a screen for the day.
I’ve got grand designs on living as long as possible and this is about ensuring that I start the next chapter of my life on the best possible footing – fresher, lighter, more focused and driven.
I’m making changes for my wife, my daughter, our family but ultimately for myself. You get one crack at this lark, you’ve got one body to get you through it so let’s start making a few improvements, doing a bit of maintenance and getting it running as good as it can.
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