Counting up the small steps

It’s that time of the year when the days are feeling much shorter, we are losing the battle against the falling leaves, the weather forecasters are warning me how chilly it is out there this morning.  Winter is close. The year is drawing ever closer to its end, it will be time to sum it all up very soon.

This year has been one of a lot of big changes in our family, but also some tiny changes.  Tiny changes which became strong habits. Simply by keeping going.

The first is a gentle exercise programme.  I say gentle because it started with a wearable gadget – in my case an Apple Watch. The aim is to close all the “circles”, which insist that I exercise for 30 minutes a day, burn a certain number of calories through activity and stand up at least once an hour. It was a relatively easy step to make it as easy as possible for myself and putting some actual exercise into place – a short run, a long walk, or some yoga are now a feature of most days.

The second is a healthy diet.  Last year I got fed up with being obese, I wasn’t unhappy, I was just uncomfortable with sore knees and asthma difficulties.  Slimming World was my route of choice, as it encourages small changes , encouraging a healthy diet based on fruit and veg, less saturated fat, a good balance of food types and regular meals.  I am now a normal weight and have built up some healthy habits.  We plan all our meals, we enjoy cooking new recipes.  Cooking a meal from scratch is now as habitual as shoving a pizza in the oven.  One very useful habit is not eating biscuits or cakes at meetings.

The final gentle habit is budgeting.  A podcaster I listen to mentioned a programme called You Need A Budget (YNAB).  It has been hugely useful in our household as we moved from being generally clueless and somewhat careless with our decisions on what to buy or not, to being much more in control of what we are saving for, what our financial aims are (they’re still very frivolous, but at least they’re actual aims) and when we might get there.

In that end of year review I need to remember the many tiny steps which have helped make this year a success overall.  And not to beat myself up that they’re not dramatic, just small and effective.  There’s a lot I have not achieved, but some crucial things that I have.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s to a weekend of success

In any context where you are trying to change something – losing weight and getting fit are the ones that spring to mind – you are generally encouraged to make your intentions known, to be as public as possible, so that you have an accountability measure in place.

I am not sure that works.  I mean, we are all generally very polite.  I know to my health cost that no one I know would ever say “ummm Abigail, that is your third chocolate biscuit in ten minutes you may have now exceeded recommend calorie intake for today”.  I thank you for not saying it, my waistline is mine, keeping judgements to yourself is highly appreciated.

But I can totally see why people reach out for that support, knowing that you are not in a solo battle with your own willpower is helpful indeed.

I know there is some cynicism about folk having a social media presence which makes them out to be eating only green foods and running a marathon every weekend, but I, for one think it’s great.

Keep posting your weight losses, your miles run this year, your pbs over 5k, the hours you have spent meditating, the number of books you have read, the distance you have covered with an injured knee, the artwork you have created, the allotment produce you have grown, and most of all your beautiful dogs, cats and children.  I love it.  I love your success and I love celebrating it with you virtually.

Creating good habits in what is an unhealthy world is hard.  The negative judgement is within us and around us.  We are all being the best we can be and let’s keep celebrating that.

Here’s to a weekend of sharing the successes. Just so you know, my aim is to sleep 26 hours between Friday evening and Monday morning.  I’ll keep you posted on progress: 7/26 done so far.

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not my cat, not my photo