Welcome to Sunday Sagacity, my twice-monthly reflection series that I created to chronicle my year-long goal to instill discipline in my life in some key areas. Each week, I’ll very briefly touch on each of those areas. I’ll talk about my victories and my failures, and hopefully gain the motivation and accountability I need to carry out my goals.
One Sunday a few weeks ago, my roommates and I were just chilling in the living room, talking about various things, as roommates do. We started talking about how the weather was warming up and how we wanted to start getting out and about to swim, play basketball, and take walks. That conversation segued into talking about how we all wanted to get more healthy in general. Now, we’ve had these kinds of talks before, where we talk hopefully about adding in more fruits and veggies, eating less fast food and drinking less soda, and exercising more. Usually we move on and the conversation is forgotten. But this time, we took action.
One of us, I forget who, suggested doing a health challenge. You may be familiar with our reading challenges, where we choose a book and race through it. But we also do challenges for other things. It just helps us get motivated and adds a competitive element. The perfect avenue to get healthy, right? The first thing we did was map out the challenge. We didn’t want to tackle everything at once and then fail because we took on too much. Jerelle, who has been getting healthy one step at a time, suggested adding in one component at a time and maintaining for a week or so. So we tossed out some ideas and decided on 3 initial steps.
- 15 minutes of quiet time per day
- 50 ounces of water per day
- 15 minutes physical activity per day
We tackled quiet time first, for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that we believe that Jesus is the foundation of everything, so we also wanted our daily quiet time to set us up well for everything else. We wanted to work on spiritual health before even attempting anything else. This is an area in which we’ve all traditionally been a little inconsistent.
For our second week, we maintained having personal quiet time each day, but also added in drinking 50 ounces of water per day. According to Jerelle, who has been researching such things, 50 ounces is a good benchmark for water consumption. Drinking this much water also has the added benefit, at least for me, of naturally reducing the amounts of everything else I drink. 50 ounces is a lot! I’ve seen a marked reduction in my soda intake, which makes me really happy.
Our third week saw the addition of exercise to the mix. We decided to start small, with just 15 minutes of exercise each day. We also kept this broad. Everything from going to the gym to doing yoga to playing basketball counts for this. I thought this would be the hardest component, and it is, but it also hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. We got an access card to our complex’s fitness center and the code to the tennis court, which is both convenient and motivating. My routines this week have been mixed. For the several days of the week, I got up an hour early and headed to the park to shoot hoops. But lately I’ve been playing tennis and hitting the fitness center with the roomies.
We’re starting our fourth week today. Instead of adding in a new component, we are going to maintain our current health steps for a few more weeks. We want these to be permanent changes, not something with an end date. In the future, we may add in other things like adding fruits and veggies to daily meals or limiting our fast food intake, but we are sort of doing those things slowly anyway, and we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves by making them official goals.
To mark our progress, each Sunday we make a chart that we tape to the wall. It’s a simple chart – a huge piece of construction paper with the week’s goals written at the top. The fun thing about using this chart is that we’re using stickers as a motivational element. For each of us, there is a place to add a sticker for each day that we succeed in meeting goals. So far, none of us have missed a single day.
We’re already feeling better. We all have more energy, less stress, and we’re happier. It’s not a chore to get exercise and I’m happy to report that I no longer despise drinking water. I’m deciding to take this seriously. I had a biometric screening for work the other day – I need to lose some weight and my cholesterol is a little high. My results tell me I need to change my lifestyle now for the sake of my future health. And I think this challenge is going to help.
Do you have any tips or tricks for us as well strive to implement small changes and healthy choices into our lives? Advice appreciated!