Like a good New Year’s Resolution, the purpose of the challenge is to set a pre-defined short term objective that I can concentrate on and focus for making longer term changes.
The foundation of this change is diet related. Overall health is important to me and a good nutritious diet is the foundation of that. I always say you can always outspend your paycheck and you can always out eat your metabolism. However it’s more than just a question of weight, which has been hovering a bit above the levels I’m comfortable with. It’s also about preventing arteries from clogging, providing good raw material for cellular function and reproduction, avoiding inflammation that damages systems throughout the body, preserving mental function, and keeping the digestive system working appropriately. Therefore strictly adhering to the nutritarian diet for the next six weeks is the first goal.
While the diet is the foundation, a solid diet while letting the rest of your lifestyle go to pot isn’t that great either. Granted, it’s better than just letting everything go, but it’s not sufficient enough for a goal. Another goal which is important is getting proper rest. In my earlier years I’d use to think “sleep is for wimps” (to quote Gordon Gecko). The more I read about it, the more I age, the more I know that proper sleep is vital to health and longevity. It’s an integral part to the restorative functions of the body and mind. While not everyone needs the exact same amount of sleep, anywhere between 7-9 hours is a common range. I know from personal experimentation that I really need 7-8 hours, depending on stress and activity levels. I therefore set a goal to get at least 7 hours of sleep a day.
Exercise is another important component for health as well. That doesn’t mean having to go to the gym for 2-3 hours a day, throw heavy weights, or log massive distances. It does mean that we need to have some modicum of physical activity each day beyond walking to and from our cars and to and from our desks to the bathroom. A great way to measure this is the number of steps taken in a given day. I have long set and failed to maintain a minimum step count of 10,000 steps a day. This is a bare minimum but one that I haven’t been able to keep up with. I’m therefore going to set a goal to walk at least 10,000 steps a day every day. Beyond the steps, I’m also setting a goal to perform at least 5 minutes of calisthenics every day. This will be useful to build overall body strength and flexibility.
A final goal that I’m going to set for the six weeks is to do yoga for at least 15 minutes every day. Yoga serves a dual purpose. The first thing it does is it helps improve flexibility and strength. That has some overlap with the calisthenics, so it may seem redundant. However it also serves the purpose of being a meditative process, when done in a specific way. This helps in calming and centering the mind. By doing yoga for as little as 15 minutes a day, I can get a lot of these benefits.
So the goals for each day are:
- Eat a strict nutritarian diet
- Sleep at least 7 hours
- Walk (and/or Run) for a total of at least 10,000 steps
- Do at least 5 minutes of calisthenics
- Do at least 15 minutes of yoga
Those don’t sound like ambitious goals, do they? I’m sure for some these are very pedestrian. At the same time I can’t recall the last time I hit all of these things for even one week at a time, much less for six weeks straight. I therefore think that they are very ambitious, but very doable.