I love New Year’s goals (I don’t like calling them resolutions). I truly enjoy planning out my goals for the year and figuring out a plan to achieve them. I try to find goals that will challenge me. For 2022 my goals were:
- No sugar for a year. Let me clarify because fruit has sugar in it, and I ate a lot of fruit. I did not eat any candy, cookies, chocolate, baked goods, cakes, donuts, etc. for the entire year.
- Workout every single day. I had to work out a minimum of 30 mins a day every day.
- Improve my emotional intelligence for both professional and personal reasons.
I am proud to say I accomplished all three of these goals.
All year when asked if I wanted something that had sugar in it, and I said “no I am not eating sugar this year” you can imagine the responses I received. My short answer was “I wanted to see if I could go a year without eating it, so I am not eating it.” It was interesting to see people get offended that I was not going to “just have a bit” or give in to the guilt trip of “but it’s so and so Birthday.”
There are many reasons I decided to eliminate simple sugars from my diet.
- I have read a lot of articles about sugar that states it’s more addicting them drugs or alcohol, if anything is addicting, I don’t want it to control my decision or days so I decided to prove to myself that I was not addicted to sugar.
- Sugar causes inflammation in our body, this means when you eat sugar (and other foods) it can inflame your body causing your immune system to weaken and can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Reducing your sugar intake even if you don’t eliminate it can reduce your risks of many diseases.
- When you eat sugar your blood sugar spikes which gives you energy in the moment but then when you come down from that spike it causes you to have low energy and feel sluggish, this is not a feeling I want to feel. I want to be full of energy all the time. I have really noticed a huge difference in my energy, at 41 years old I have more energy than I have ever had, and I believe it is 100% due to the food I put in my body.
- Now that I am in my 40s I am all about anti-aging and what can I do to slow down the aging process. Sugar has been proven to breaks down collagen and elastin – the proteins that give your skin shape, structure, and firmness. This means sugar can cause your skin to wrinkle and become saggy. Not eating sugar is a lot cheaper and healthier than buying all the expensive products for my skin.
- Sugar can accelerate cognitive decline; this means diets high in sugar can lead to impaired memory and have been linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. I want to keep my brain as sharp as possible for as long as possible.
When I look at the reasons why I eliminated sugar, I would tell anyone that even if you don’t eliminate it at least reduce it. To be honest once I made the decision it wasn’t that difficult to stick to it because I felt so much better every day. If you could have more energy, not feel sluggish, reduce diseases (diabetes, cancer, heart disease), reduce wrinkles and aging, and preserve your memory wouldn’t you do it?
I can’t say I will never have sugar again, but I can say it is not part of my diet and I don’t feel the need to “eat a treat” for special occasions anymore, I enjoyed every birthday, holiday, and gathering just the same. To me the food or the “treat” doesn’t make the memories the people do.
Have you eliminated or added anything to you your day for a whole year? What was it? How did you feel? And would you do it again?
When it came to working out every day, the goal was 30 consecutive mins a day it could be more, but it couldn’t be less. Since I completed 75 hard twice most days, I worked out for 45 mins twice a day so more than my minimum. This one was tougher than not eating sugar because life does not stop so I can work out. This year like every year had lots of ups and downs. I lost too many people this year and while going through the grieving process there were many days I didn't want to work out but then I would remind myself that working out is therapy for me. Throughout the year I had Covid, E. Coli, and a respiratory infection but I truly believe that moving your body helps you heal so that what I did. I also had to plan workouts around vacations, soccer tournaments, and long workdays, but again this is life and there will always be reasons to not do something. But I always tell myself “Don’t break a promise you made to yourself” and I promised myself 365 days of workouts. This is one habit I will continue into 2023, never miss a day!
Improving my emotional intelligence. This one involved a lot of reading and listening. I found multiple books about emotional intelligence, as a person and as a leader. I found pod casts to listen to and videos to watch. I am also very blessed to have an executive coach that I meet with once a month that helps me through situations and growth. I am happy to say, I took a reassessment of my EI and it had improved in all areas. The two areas that are the highest for me are independence and problem solving, which if you know me makes perfect sense
As 2023 begins I am still working through what goals I will set for myself. I hope you are doing the same.