It is a new year and, as so many others do during the month of January, I am assessing my life and habits and looking toward making changes. These changes will not come in the form of resolutions. We all know what happens when we make those. No, instead, I will be making long term changes over the course of the full year. To start off my assessment, I made a list of things that I used to love doing and have, for one reason or another, stopped partaking in.
- Tap Dancing
- Cooking from scratch
- Writing for Sociology
- Learning about and developing content
- Singing in public
- Reading at the caffe
Most of the activities on this list have been pushed aside to make time for work and school. Although it was important to focus on other things, I believe that I can now reincorporate these activities back into my life in a meaningful way. I did not believe I had time to make necklaces or sing in a local choir because I had to focus on my future. Well, the future is now and if I continue putting things I enjoy on the back burner the future future will be bleak. So – in order to make sure that I start doing all of these activities again, in 2016 and beyond, my priorities need to be assessed and shifted. In order to do this, I must look at a typical day and see what changes can be made to incorporate things that make me happy back into weekly existence.
My typical day (Monday-Friday):
- 6:45 am: Hit the snooze
- 6:51 am: Hit the snooze
- 6:57 am: Hit the snooze
- 7 am: Out of bed and into shower
- 7:45 am: Prepare food/drink for breakfast and lunch
- 8 am: Leave for work
- 8:30 am: Arrive at work
- 8:30 am – 5:30 pm: Workday
- 5:30 – 7 pm: Extended workday
- 7 pm: Leave for home
- 7:15 pm: Arrive at home (in perfect weather and traffic conditions)
- 7:15 – 8 pm: Make/warm up dinner
- 8 pm: Eat dinner
- 9 pm: Watch television
- 11:30 pm: Go to bed
- 12:00 am: Fall asleep
The first change that I am going to make to my schedule is to only work until 5:30 pm each day. Any later than that is bad for me, both mentally and physically, not to mention it hurts my pocketbook since I am giving extra time to a company that isn’t paying for that extra service. Being a salaried employee means that when I work 45 or 50 hours a week I make less per hour than I do when I work a normal 40 hour week. There is nothing that important that I need to stay late. By making this one change, I will get back 1.5 hours per day (7.5 hours per week) of my life to relax and enjoy my dinner. Eating so late was having a horrible effect on my sleeping patterns, so I’m hoping that by having dinner by 6 or 6:30 pm each weeknight, I will be able to sleep more soundly when I hit the pillow.
The next change that I will make is to choose an activity from the list above and do that in the time that I’ve gotten back from not working late. What I mean by this is that if I finish eating dinner by 7:30, I will have 2 hours for an activity and 2 hours for television. This will give my dinner time to digest while I’m doing something more active before I sit down to relax for the evening. This 2-hour span of time will also be useful when the semester begins because I can use it to do my schoolwork. In the meantime, if I can get back into beading, dancing, singing or any of the other items on the list when the semester begins I can move those activities to the weekend and use the 2 hours in the evenings to study. This will make my semester more enjoyable because I won’t be spending my whole weekend reading and writing for school.
The third change (and this is the big one) that I am going to make in 2016 is shifting my food habits. Rather than going on a diet where I am restricting myself from eating based on calories, I’m going to start replacing foods that I know are not as healthy with alternatives. In order to assist me in this quest, I have purchased 2 books about the Whole30 plan. Once I have completed my readings and research, I will make a plan so that this can really work. It is not a diet, it is a way of life. Shifting my food choices should help me to have more energy which, in turn, will help me to get back into shape. The weight loss is not the main goal, it is a happy outcome. In order to truly facilitate this shift, the writer and I have agreed to begin by not getting take out for dinner during the week. We are going to start off with a 30-day plan to cook meals each night for dinner and bring lunches every day. This will exclude going out for dinner on the writer’s birthday and potentially 1 or 2 Sunday brunch meals, but overall we will try to cook for all 3 meals, 7 days a week, for 30 days.
With a 9-hour workday, an earlier dinner schedule, and a wind-down activity prior to television viewing time, I believe that I will start falling asleep faster when I go to bed and eventually I won’t have to hit the snooze so many times in the morning. Once the food shifts and the benefits of cooking at home (and this also fulfills my ‘cooking from scratch’ activity) kick in, I should gain a renewed sense of self that I have been without for quite some time. It is not just about the weight. It is really about the feeling of being healthy. It has been a while since I have felt truly good about myself, overall, and I want to get back to that place. Once I do that, I’ll be able to conquer all the items on my list and start doing the things I love once again.
What are you doing to change yourself in 2016? Are you a resolution maker or do you scoff at that? Tell me more about it in the comment thread and if you enjoy this post, please pass it along!