There are only four days left until the first day of the first month of the project, so I thought I’d tell you a little about my very first focus area: Health and Energy. I have a feeling that some of the months ahead of me will be more challenging than others, and I have decided to start simple by focusing on very concrete goals that don’t require too much time or mental activity. Like actually putting on my jogging shoes or flossing my teeth. That is one of the reasons why I chose Health and Energy as my first focus area. The other reason is that I think it’s the ultimate start for a project like this. Some more energy is obviously an advantage when dealing with all kinds of things. I also know that the less energy I have, the worse I feel about myself, and since next month will be all about confidence, I hope I’ll be able to prepare for it by acquiring some healthy habits, both for my body and mind.
So what will I be doing this month? Since I’m a hopeless list and notebook junkie I’ve bought a notebook where I will keep track of my progress during this project. I’ve put together a list of seven habits for August:
I love running. I enjoy just listening to the sound of my soles against the gravel, or an exciting audiobook in my headphones. I enjoy being exhausted from doing something physical rather than from spending another day studying by the computer. In a weird way I even like the sweat and the aching muscles the day after. Anyway, I know exercising makes me feel happier and less tired, and it gives me more energy to tackle the challenges of everyday life. My goal is to run three times a week, and right now the most important thing isn’t the pace or the distance, but the act of actually doing it. Not tomorrow, next week or next month. Now.
2. Do back exercises
Adults have told me to straighten up as long as I can remember. My bad posture has haunted me throughout my childhood and adolescence, manifested in a poor self-esteem and frequent headaches. I was nine years old the first time I went to a doctor for my headaches. He told me to drink more water. That didn’t help. A year ago I went to a physiotherapist who gave me some exercises. They didn’t help either. A few weeks ago I went to a chiropractor, and for the first time in thirteen years I can go weeks without a headache. I still have a long road of expensive treatments and daily exercises in front of me but it’s definitely worth it. If I can have a life which constant headaches isn’t a natural part of, then I will spend those twenty minutes a day doing my back exercises gladly. I just need to remember to do it, and that’s why I’ve made it a part of this project.
3. Eat more
When almost every women’s magazine is crammed with dieting methods and every other woman you speak to complains about her bloated thighs or how difficult it is to stay away from snacks, it’s almost embarrassing to want to gain weight. Skinny people should just shut up and be pleased they’re not fat. But I’m not pleased. I’m not pleased to be hungry and out of energy all the time, or freezing because of my lack of subcutaneous fat. I’m as jealous of women who have curves and boobs as they may be of my ability to stuff myself with whatever food I want without a thought. I’ve never been extremely skinny or had eating disorders or anything like that. It’s just that my metabolism is through the roof and it’s really difficult for me to gain enough weight to reach the limit for what is not underweight. But this month I will really try. As a step towards feeling more healthy and energetic I will consume more fruit and nuts, eat more frequently and regularly and count calories to make sure I get enough of them.
4. Skip the makeup.
Although this habit might actually fit better in the Confidence month I feel like I have to start it right away. The health of my skin is part of my general health too, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m in the middle of this painful acne treatment where my skin flakes and breaks out and feels kind of terrible. Putting makeup on is a disaster and I really need to stay away from it as much as I can. Up until a few months ago none of my friends had seen me without makeup on. I still feel uncomfortable without it, but I’m challenging myself more and more and it’s a step towards not caring what others think about me (which is one of my personal commandments). During August I will try to use makeup only on special occasions, like parties and dinners. It will probably be the most challenging goal of this month, but I know that both my skin and my confidence will thank me if I succeed.
5. Mind the teeth.
This is kind of a boring habit that doesn’t need much explaining. I’ve simply neglected the health of my teeth for too long and although I haven’t had a single hole so far, it’s no guarantee for the future. So, from the 1st of August I’ll brush my teeth twice a day and floss every day.
6. Drink more water.
I drink way too little during the days. No wonder I get headaches and run out of energy! To drink the recommended two liters (six refills of my water bottle!) a day seems near impossible to me, but I will do my best.
Finally, one of my biggest problems is my inability to stay in the moment. I tend to spend way too much time worrying about what I’ve said or what I’m going to say, what people think or what they are going to think. Too often I slip away from the present, which has many bad consequences: I forget things, I don’t listen and I miss out on what’s important. Because of this, I will devote a whole month of this project to mindfulness. However, I’m going to start right away by making a habit of meditating. I’ve tried it now and then for the last few months and though I’m kind of useless at concentrating enough I’ve already noticed its advantages. It helps me to stay patient and let go of anxiety. It helps me think clearly and keep me from tangling up in negative thoughts. I will try to do it every day, even if only for a few minutes.