Well I’ve completed both my Coffee and Sugar 30 days fast, with a great sigh of relief. The restrictions that I’ve placed on myself for these 2 easily overlooked essentials, has taught me a lot about myself, as well as given me a lesson on how to maintain discipline on my actions – either deliberate or subconsciously driven.
I’ve also found out that I’m very strict when it comes to following instructions and setting limitations on myself. I have known for some time that I can be firm when giving training or instructions to my team members or negotiating contracts with internal organization teams and customers. However, I have allowed room for error and ignorance by people and myself in those circumstances, but when it comes to myself in this 30 day restriction – none was given. This scares me a little, it’s as if I’m a different person when it comes to this…which is strange, considering that I’m doing this for myself. So it would mean that I’m harder on myself, because I want it more and cannot allow anything to get in the way, and that anything by definition would include even me….whoa, the things that comes to mind when finishing my first cup of coffee after 30 days without.
The Sugar fast was one of the hardest limitations I’ve faced, not least because I’m a sweet tooth but majority of the foods, snacks and drinks have a large amount of sugar in it. It took a lot of self-control and discipline to ensure that I don’t stray again, and also reading of the ingredients and staring long and at a pastry to determine whether is that glazing or just butter that’s making that pastry in the window looking good…the effort that it took for me to ‘study’ each item on one occasion, put me off from even bothering to look the next time. It just didn’t make sense for me to set myself up for failure by looking at loopholes in such things. I’m quite good at looking for loopholes or specific clauses that allows me room to ‘exercise the option’ due to the ambiguous nature of said clause, which leaves room for interpretation….7-8yrs of reading, writing, discussing/negotiating contracts really did something to me. I had to force myself to step away from even thinking about such things. In the closing part of the 30 day fast on Sugar, I actually understood what I had been wrong and why it was so hard for me, I was very dependent on my sugar high. From this episode, I’ve learnt that I need to reduce my sugar intake quite significantly, to ensure that I don’t fall back into the old habits again. This would mean that I would continue to monitor my sugar intake, but I don’t need to be a Gestapo about it, like I did for the 30 days fast.
My next 30 days resolution will be equally challenging for me, as I’ll need to start my regular exercise regime again and follow through it daily – rain or shine. Exercise has been set aside for some time, due to my many excuses and plain laziness. I’ll need to start slowly, but need to raise the bar each week, so that I’ll be able to handle bigger challenges along the way. I’m choosing P90X as the basis for my exercises, rotating it each day with jogging and swimming, so that I’ll be able to attend to every body area that needs work. Once the 30 days are complete, I’ll be extending it further for another 30 to 60 days, to focus on the areas to improve and tone, with emphasis on flexibility. So this 30 days will be the kick-start of a consistent exercise regime that I’ll do regardless whether I’m traveling for business or on vacation. The issue that I’ve had before was in maintaining the program over a long period of time, which is why this needs to be started up again, with a focus on sustaining it over a long time. After this 30 days resolution, the exercise regime will not be considered as part of future resolutions, but merely the daily activities that I’ll be setting up for myself to maintain the regime.
The 2nd 30 days resolution that I’ll be starting is to improve my writing, and the best way to do that is by…well, writing. The books and recommendations that I’ve read up on, is to put a benchmark on the number of words to write per day, so that you’ll be able to track it and then work at maintaining it each day. Rather than putting a benchmark on the amount of time spent writing, example: 4 hrs per day to write, but if you only generate 500-1000 words each session, then it’s not consistent. My resolution would be to start with 3000 words/per day for the 1st 10 days, then 4000 and finally 5000 respectively for the subsequent 2 10-day periods. Whether I post all these up as a blog posting is another thing, as I’ve a short fiction in mind for some time. So the materials generated from this may form the bulk of that short fiction part of my blog that may be posted after each 10-day period.