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Hello friends, It's the first month of 2023. Let's talk about it.
There's something about new years resolutions that stress me out a bit. I think it's the pressure of combining multiple goals and starting them all on one day. A giant and immediate change isn't always sustainable, therefore they can be easy to "fail". I think making little changes throughout the year to improve on long and short term goals is a better method for me, personally, to form healthy habits and to feel like I'm reaching bits of success.
So for today's post, I wanted to discuss the things I've been working on throughout 2022 that I only plan to continue improving through 2023. And similarly to my fitness account, I find that putting my thoughts and goals out there helps me to hold myself accountable. So without further a do, here are some things I'd love to improve on throughout 2023.
Reduce My Sugar Intake
I've been seeing a dietician since last Summer, and I've conquered a lot of little goals since seeing her. I started meal-prepping, altering my food pairings to help me feel satiated, and I even learned how to prepare raw chicken. But something that I fall in and out of is my control of sugar consumption. And yes, this isn't a big deal to everyone, but this is a goal of mine since I know my constant cravings for sugar is something that's slowing my fitness progress down a bit. And I work too hard to be slowed down! But yeah, here's my opinion on it all.
Sugar is one of those food groups that is considered addictive, even to a degree of experiencing levels of withdrawal when weaning off of it. There are studies that show how sugar can impact dopamine and chemicals in the brain that can strongly affect behavior (I read this medical article from the National Library of Medicine about sugar intake for details on this). I'm someone who, if I can wean myself off sugar for a little while, I find myself feeling generally refreshed and energetic. But the moment I taste something sweet again, I fall into this feeling of "I can't get enough" and continue craving it. It's an endless cycle, it feels like.
It can be risky sometimes to categorize foods as good versus bad, because it can taint the relationship you might have with certain foods. But learning more about natural sugars in fruits versus added sugars is incredibly helpful for me (you can compare the two in this Harvard Health article if you want to learn more about each type). Sugars in fruits can be used for energy, and are accompanied by other vitamins and fiber, whereas added sugar can have very little positive nutritional value and can lead to health risks. Learning more about why and how these things work helps me feel more confident and more in control of my cravings, thus forming a better relationship with both my body and the food I consume.
And by the way, someone I appreciate watching who is amazing at explaining nutrition is Natacha Oceane. She's a YouTuber who really gets into the science of both fitness and nutrition, and she references academic journals and sits down with medical professionals before discussing these things. And she makes it not sound so intimidating and scary.
But anyways, the steps I'm taking currently include...Well, for one, I'm counting the days I exist at work without taking any candy out of the candy bowl up front (it's so hard to resist). So far, as I'm writing this post, I've gone a whole week. Another strategy is giving myself substitutions for desserts at the end of the day if I really am craving something. Yasso bars are a great alternative to traditional ice cream, and sometimes I reach for those Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. I find that having something pre-portioned prevents me from overeating (i.e. if I have a tub of ice cream I put way too much in my bowl; I just know myself), and it still allows me to enjoy a treat here and there. And lastly, pre-planning my meals. I work a regular schedule every week, so giving myself set meals and portions allows me to reduce my snacking habits. I now keep granola bars in my desk drawers if I get desperate for a snack. You never know what life could throw at you!
Improve with Finances
Oh, what could it be like to conquer finances? I'm super ignorant when it comes to credit and investments and all that fancy shit. But some things I'm determined to improve upon include: paying off my credit card, sorting out any overdue medical bills, and growing my savings account.
I tend to neglect to save money. I'm typically overly confident with how much money I have (even though I live paycheck to paycheck) that I pay bills and then just buy food constantly. Eating takeout is an incredibly speedy way to throw all of my money away. So if I ever eat out now, I always make sure to save myself leftovers to break it into two meals, or I look for coupons or rewards points, depending on where I'm going. So now a days, I'm trying to only buy takeout if I'm in a bind and am desperate for food. I meal prep now, so it saves lunch. I also eat the same couple of combinations for breakfast, so that's also normally set. But dinner is the kicker. And that's where I'm trying to force myself to drive straight home from work and not think about the possibilities. I still cave sometimes, but I'm slowly improving with my willpower.
I just want enough money to live comfortably, for now. I enjoy traveling, so writing out a budget lately has been a lifesaver. I eventually want to move out of Ohio and find somewhere where I feel like I can flourish. I'm not sure where this is yet, but I've still got a few more years to decide. And in the more near future, I need to save for a newer vehicle. My current vehicle is drive-able, but it has some elements of it that are awkwardly expensive where it's like...I might as well just get a fully new vehicle. But yes, imagine if I could pay for a car. Imagine if I could feel more comfy.
Stay Consistent with Fitness
This is one I've been crushing. I've been pretty consistent with fitness for the past few months, compared to previous months. I'm really excited to continue seeing growth through how I feel energy-wise and through quantitative data, like mile times, documented PRs on machines, etc. I've only recently weighed myself on the scale since I'm someone who can be easily discouraged if I don't see progress in that area, but I'm happy to announce to the blog that I've lost about 15 pounds since I last weighed myself in August. Once I reach a certain weight, I qualify for a breast reduction and I'm super hopeful about this since I feel like I can feel more comfortable in my skin.
My main reasoning for working on my fitness is to feel more connected to myself, to feel confident, and to feel like my energy has been restored. Doing work on myself is major, especially since I'm not on antidepressants anymore. Plus maintaining a schedule has helped me with diet and sleep, and it allows me to feel not so groggy while I'm at work.
It's also just a mindset improvement. I updated my apple watch at the start of this year to 40 minutes of exercise (last year it was 30 min) so I've had to practice extra discipline when it comes to waking up earlier and being more prepared for the gym. I try to also plan my week's schedule to prepare for whatever Cooper and I plan to tackle in the coming weekend. For example, Cooper and I tried a TRX class for the first time, so since I figured it would work out my full body, I planned my rest day for Friday so I could have a moment to breathe before the madness. Or if we do a hike on Saturday, I plan my leg day for Wednesday or Thursday so I at least have a day to rest my legs before enduring some rocks and hills. It's all about having somewhat of a plan.
Increase Design Advertising
I love doing commissions for people. Not only that, but I love selling my work at different events. It's something I'd love to do more of, and that requires me to put myself out there more.
I want to add more to my shop and I also want to start incorporating more design into the blog posts themselves. It would also be sick to edit old design concepts from college to see how much I could improve on them. But yeah, in general, I need to advertise more on my Instagram. I use my fitness Instagram constantly but I neglect my main account way too much. That reminds me, it would be cool to make downloadable templates for people to record their PRs and gym stats, since I'm a huge fan of note-taking and documenting. So if I made some sort of beautiful collection of downloadable journal templates, I feel like I'd be in heaven.
I plan to do a lot more sales this year, especially since a lot of you supported my Christmas sale. I love how happy my commissions make people feel, and I want to continue to make people happy with my work. I just want to keep growing.
Become a Better Sibling/Friend
I'm terrible with controlling my emotions sometimes, man. I'm insecure sometimes, I have outbursts. I feel like it's been harder to control my insecurities since getting off Lexapro. But the past few months have been dedicated to exploring these flaws and trying to find strategies to be a better me for myself and for the people around me.
I want to be a better listener to my friends, more supportive of my siblings, and a clearer minded person for myself. If I can understand my emotions, maybe I'll be able to be all of these things. That's why, this month, I restarted therapy. I'm doing a trial run with a couple of counselors, but I want to understand why I react the way I react, and try out new and better ways to process my emotions. So I'm doing a lot of self exploration lately, basically.
I always feel my happiest when I can be there for my friends, so similarly to last year, I'd love to keep setting aside more time for my closest pals. I felt like I was doing pretty well with listening more and limiting how much I interject (I have a habit of getting very invested and inserting my own advice into things that don't always require it). I want to establish better understandings with people and learn how I can be a better friend and sibling to the people in my life.
So yes, friends, these were my general goals. Just expanding on general ideas from last year, but continuing to push towards more improvements this year. What are some of your goals?