Sunday, January 24, 2016

{Year of Change} January Edition - Decluttering & De-sugaring

For so many years, I have repeated "wants" for my life.

I want to be thinner.
I want to be in shape.
I want to be healthier.
I want to eat better.
I want to live more simply.
I want to get rid of excess.

I want, I want, I want.  And from all of those "wants," I accomplished nothing.  Year after year, I just "wanted" things, without taking any actual steps to becoming the person I wanted to be.  

The past year has been enormous for me in regards to helping me realize that I can do so much more than I previously thought.  I met Neal in April of 2015, and he has been the most inspiring and supportive partner imaginable.  Without pressuring or expecting, he has motivated me to do things I couldn't have dreamed of doing before.  His motivation simply comes in the form of believing in me, and wanting me to accomplish the things I say I want to do.  In our nine months together, I have hiked an almost 6,000 foot mountain, driven hundreds of miles across the country, and started lifting weights heavier than my entire body weight.  I am so different than I was nine months ago, but have never felt more myself.  Instead of just wanting things, I've been really going after them - and actually getting them.

Neal and me on top of Angel's Landing, elevation 5,790 feet. 

With all that being said, I felt this year was the perfect time to tackle some of the other persistent wants that have plagued my thoughts for decades.  Each month this year, I'll be working on accomplishing my goals in a series of challenges.  These challenges won't necessarily end at the end of the month, but will help me get motivated and make serious lifestyle changes.

For January, I had two goals.  One was to get rid of excess, and the other was to cut out eating so many sweets.

My parents always laugh at me because to them, I seem like a minimalist.  I'm definitely not, but I do love to clean things out and get rid of things I'm not using.  I despise clutter and try to keep my home in order.  Since having Ethan I've relaxed a bit, since honestly with a toddler things aren't always going to stay the cleanest.  I still work hard to clean every day and do a big clean of the entire house every week.  With all of that in mind, I still feel that I could get rid of more.  I hate the idea of having things just lying around, not being used, taking up space.  Last year, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, and it was a huge inspiration.  The idea of only being surrounded by things you truly love and that spark joy in your heart spoke to me.  Since then, I've been trying to get rid of more and more, so that all that is left are the basic items that make me smile.  My wardrobe has been downsized to about 1/3 of what it previously was.  Over 50 garbage bags worth of "stuff" was donated to Goodwill. (You read that right, FIFTY).  And yet, I still feel I could do better.  So I decided to try the 2016 in 2016 challenge, where I aim to get rid of 2016 things this year.  In all honesty, I'm not sure I'll be able to do it.  Not because of a lack of trying, but because I'm just not sure I have that much stuff to get rid of, especially in light of my big clean out last year.  This month alone, I have gotten rid of about 150 items, so we'll see.  I'll keep you updated!

A sampling of the crap I got rid of so far.  That diaper box is full of stuff, and since taking this pic, I've added about 30 or so items to the pile.

On to the next challenge. Neal and I both have our vices - his is beer and mine is sugar.  The second challenge we embarked on was to cut both out in January.  I don't really drink (it's a very rare occurrence, like maybe once or twice a year), and Neal could care less about sweets.  We're in it together, though, so Neal gave up sweets and I gave up drinking, too.  I have to say this one went better than expected!  I didn't miss candy and desserts nearly as much as I thought I would.  The idea of giving up sweets seemed so overwhelming to me, but guess what - now I don't even crave them one bit.  I will always have a wicked sweet tooth, but from now on I think I'll leave desserts to special occasions only.  That way my body will look and feel better, and those desserts will taste that much better when I do indulge.  I have no plans to eat any sweets the next few months, either.  This is one habit I'm keeping! (Oh, and Neal has loved giving up beer. He said he's been sleeping better and feeling better than he has in a long time. He's keeping this lifestyle change, too!)

Cake, it was good while it lasted. I will not miss you, or the fat you added to my body!

I'm very hopeful that this year will bring about a new version of myself, the truest version yet.  I can't wait to look back on this post a year from now and see the changes!