The 28 Day Challenge: Cultivating Healthy Habits
I’m not what you would picture when you think of a healthy man in his mid-to-late twenties.
That being said, I recently visited the doctor for the first time in a while and – aside from having Celiac disease (which I already knew about – I was given a clean bill of health. It’s really great news for someone who has had a history of not feeling well. The bad thing about it? I don’t feel like someone who has a clean bill of health.
I decided it was time to feel like that person. It’s time to make some changes to my lifestyle to reflect my clean bill of health. Aside from my ever long battle of weight loss (I’ve lost 28.8lbs since June 30th), there are other areas of health that I felt like I needed to work on. Yes, I am dieting. Yes, I am finally getting a little more exercise than I have in the past. There are plans in place to take it up a level in the next week. However, what about my mental health? What about my emotional health? What about growing as a person and growing in knowledge and ability? These are all areas of health that I want to concentrate on.
Studies have shown that it takes 28 consecutive days of doing something for it to become a habit. There are habits I need to break. I suspect those will take longer than 28 days. However, there are some healthy habits I want to develop over the next 28 days. With the help of the app Lift on my iPhone, I’ve chosen several habits that I hope to add to my lifestyle. I’ll be checking in there each day as I complete each task, and over the course of the next month, they should fit in nicely with a newer, healthier man.
Writing for 30 minutes each night – Believe it or not, writing this blog tonight has been a step towards developing a new habit. I’ve always enjoyed writing. Hell, it’s what I do for a living. However, I feel like I don’t do it nearly enough. I spend a lot of time surfing the web and engaging others through social media, but I do little when it comes to furthering the development of my craft. I don’t know if you will see 28 new blog posts here over the next 28 days, but I do plan on writing – whether it’s for my job, for my blog, or simply for my journal – for at least 30 minutes each night. Half an hour is easy to spare.
Reading for at least 30 minutes each night – For someone who enjoys writing as much as I do, I really don’t read near enough. There are thousands of books available to me at any waking moment, yet I simply choose to pass them by. I’ve enjoyed reading in the past, but find myself not making the time in the day to do so. Starting tonight, I’m reading a short story on my kindle called “The Long Run” by Mishka Shubaly. I picked it up in January while working for a local ski resort and never read it. If anyone has any book suggestions, feel free to share.
Exercise – I’ve finally started getting more exercise than I used to, however it’s not nearly enough. I used to really enjoy running before going to work in the morning while I lived in Ohio. However, since I don’t work traditional hours or head to the office every morning, I certainly have lacked the motivation to do so any longer. The neighborhood I live in is perfect for walking and running. It’s safe, well lit, and provides enough challenge to feel growth (i.e. there are a lot of small hills and large hills. It is West Virginia after all.) I’ve decided to get back into the running game and will be using the Couch to 5k program and iPhone app again. 28 days in a row? I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Drink more water/drink less soda – I drink a lot of water. Okay, I think I drink a lot of water. There are some days though where I don’t have any water though and that has to change. I generally keep a water bottle full at all times with me. Lately I’ve been drinking even more. The problem? I still drink a lot of soda. It’s a habit I’m trying to break while creating a new habit. I recently switched from “full octane” sodas like Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew for the diet or zero calorie versions, but it’s still not enough. If I’m ever to feel any sort of progress, I really need to cut sodas all together, while replacing it with more water.
Taking a Multivitamin – I spend a lot of my days at my desk working. Directly to the left of my screen sits my One-A-Day vitamins. It’s Thursday and I’ve taken only one this week. I really have no excuse. I simply forget about them (along with a couple other supplements I take). Hopefully by checking in on the Lift app every day when I take it, I’ll finally make it a habit.
Get more fresh air – I spend a lot of times indoors. With West Virginia winters quickly approaching I see that staying the same. However, I really feel that getting outside and getting fresher air daily will help with my overall mood and happiness. Also, it’s got to be better than stagnant air inside a house shared with others and a dog. I coach soccer three days a week and spend my Friday nights at high school football games. I do want to spend at least 10-15 minutes a day outside while I can (before it’s well too cold for that.)
In bed by midnight/up by 8 – This is a biggie for me. If anyone knows me, they’ll tell you I am for sure a night owl. It started out when I was doing some editing for a sports blog on the west coast and would stay up until 4am until all the stories came in. Then came hanging out in bars, and then finally when I was working in band management. There are many days I was coming home as the song was coming up, and would sleep until well into the afternoon. While I knew I wasn’t lazy, I couldn’t help but feel lazy or feel like a slacker. Now, I need to be in bed by midnight, with the TV going off no later than 1am. While still late at night, it gives me plenty of time for a good night’s sleep.
These are just a few of the healthy habits I plan on incorporating into my lifestyle on top with my physical health and weight loss. In 28 days I’ll re-evaluate and follow up with how I did in the challenge. Are you up for the challenge? What are some healthy habits you would like to see added to your life over the next 28 days?