In late 2013, with a grueling semester in graduate school, three major deadlines, client sessions and rich holiday meals, I ended the year with 12 extra pounds, fatigue, dry mouth, a dry, flaky scalp and zits like I haven’t seen since I was 15.
What happened? The short answer: Too much to do with too little time. The longer one: in the face of late nights (and snacking), less exercise (and more sitting) and tunnel vision (less time with friends and family -- and with myself), I stopped taking my own advice. Then my treadmill -- my go-to source of exercise -- broke, and that threw everything out of whack.
I talk to clients about these issues all the time. But in the face of new stressors (demands on my time and attention) and a broken treadmill, I hadn’t asked myself kinds of questions that I ask clients, like, “Where exactly can you fit that workout in your jam-packed schedule?” And “How can you get more sleep and cut the late-night snacks?” And “What can you do to recharge?”
As the new year started and I teetered at the edge of my wardrobe and could barely button my favorite jeans, I knew I needed to change course. I took a hard look at why I had stopped taking care of myself and explored what my life was missing: more water, more sleep, more regular workouts, more connections and balance. Then I hit “reset,” and one-by-one, began to include those missing elements.
I know that when our primary foods -- relationships, spiritual grounding, exercise, work -- don't fulfill us, we often turn to the foods we eat for satisfaction. And stressors slow down our metabolism, making our bodies slower to process what we do eat.
I tossed out those old dieters’ delusions that I’d get quick results, and then I jumpstarted my plan:
- 30 minutes walking/jogging three times a week (wake up a half hour early to get it in), and 15-20 minutes other exercise two times a week (crunches, squats jumping jacks, pushups)
- 7-8 glasses of water daily (one just after waking up, one with each meal, one between each meal, and one at night)
- 6-7 hours of sleep daily (and no late-night munchies)
- Connections and fun: At least one “play date” with girlfriends or my son per week, and a real date with my honey
- More meditation and journaling
Three weeks in, I’m three pounds lighter, and with a little less around my middle, my clothes already fit better. I have more energy, my face and scalp are clearing up, and I don’t wake up feeling tired and parched. Of course, breaking old habits can be like turning around a big ship, so it will take time to get back up to speed on exercise, and I’m still working on the sleep (but no more snacks). But I’ve been patient, forgiving and encouraging. I'm giving myself 60 days to get back on track, and as a new semester starts and clients and commitments come in, I know I'll need to follow my own advice and stick to my plan.
My plan doesn’t look like yours. That’s why it’s important to consider what you need to reset in your own life. One Facebook friend shared that she was looking to get her “mojo” back. She asked friends to describe what mojo meant to them. She got 10 different answers from 10 people. She then defined what mojo meant to her, and has since inspired us with #Projectmojo postings as she works on hers.
One thing I love about a new year: We can wipe the slate and start all over. As 2014 gets in gear and you strive to do this one better, happier, healthier, make a commitment to stop, reassess and reset. And then stick with it. If you need some help to start or keep it up, get it. If you stumble, get back up and keep going. My mojo is Momentum. And you've got to start to get it.
Are you ready to hit a hard reset? Let me know the first thing you’ll do differently, and why.