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#90DivineDays

I’d say 2020 has been a hot mess of a year, but that would be a gross understatement. 

On the bright side, 2020 is nearly over. I think there is a hope that things will return to normal at the start of 2021. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Despite the year being a disaster, I’m determined to keep moving forward. 

Last year, Brianna introduced me to the Hollis Company’s concept of Last 90 Days. I’m not the best about commitment to my New Year’s Resolutions, but I have a knack for end-of-year goals. I tend to lose weight around Thanksgiving and Christmas than at any other time of year! So, despite never really getting “into” Rachel Hollis, I fell in love with the idea of finishing the year out strong.

In the last 100 days of 2019, I went from despising exercise to working out most days and learning to love it. I lost about 20 pounds switching from PointsPlus to SmartPoints (MyWW Green). Despite a few set-backs (like getting the flu twice in those 100 days), it was, by far, the most productive few months of my life.

This year Brianna’s community is making Last 90 Days our own with #90DivineDays. As a group, we decided to spend the next few months focusing on cultivating habits in four different areas: Food, Fitness, Spiritual Growth, and Personal Development/Self-Care. 

The idea is to add one new habit each month for each of the four categories. By January, we’ll have 12 new habits to bring into 2021. Some people are habit stacking by adding one new habit a week. Others, myself included, are adding on all four at once.

Food:

This month, I will stay within my calorie range and drink a Fab 4ish Smoothie for breakfast every day. It’s a pretty simple goal. Usually, staying within a calorie or points target shouldn’t count here since I’ve been doing that for most of 2020. However, my goals are a little different right now.

I have taken the rest of 2020 off from weight loss. I stepped on the scale on September 21, 2020, and will not weigh myself again until January 4, 2021, at the absolute earliest.  I’m spending the next 15 weeks trying to stay in a calorie range that should result, not in me losing weight, but maintaining it. (Though, I won’t be mad if I lose weight).

I’ve never tracked for maintenance before. Eating over 2,000 calories a day is easy. However, it’s never been my target when tracking. It’s been a learning experience: figuring out how to enjoy foods I once restricted when eating a calorie deficit without taking this newfound freedom and losing control. I’m also realizing that having permission to eat more doesn’t mean I need to take advantage of every calorie.

The smoothie goal is secondary, but I figured it would be an excellent way to keep me grounded. The Fab 4 is a term coined by nutritionist Kelly LeVeque in her book, Body Love. Without going into too much detail, it involves incorporating four things into your meals: fat, protein, fiber, and greens. One of the easiest ways to do this is by blending these into a smoothie. My smoothies generally have a base of unsweetened protein powder, acacia fiber, collagen peptides, leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce), nut butter (usually almond), and a secondary vegetable (cauliflower rice, beets, zucchini). Occasionally, I’ll add things like pumpkin spice mix, cinnamon, or cocoa powder.

My goal is a Fab 4ish smoothie, not a Fab 4 smoothie because I am giving myself a bit of grace in one area: sugar. I prefer unsweetened, plain protein powder because I can’t handle 0 calorie sweeteners well, so I rely on fruit for flavor. I try to keep my portions moderate, but I probably use fruit more than recommended. If I don’t put fruit in my smoothie, I’ll use date-sweetened RX nut butter, honey, or maple syrup.

Fitness

I work out Monday through Saturday. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do a cardio workout. I do a mix of both cardio and strength training on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 

Now I’m still figuring this one out. I love the Walk at Home digital library, but unlike Beachbody on Demand, it doesn’t come with scheduled workout programs. I often struggle to decide which video to do when I’m not strength training. I added a little structure to my strength training routine by alternating between Walk it Off in 30 Days and Tone Every Zone walks.

Walk it Off in 30 Days consists of two 30 minute workouts: Burn 30, a 30-minute cardio walk, and Firm 30, a short walk to warm-up followed by dedicated full-body weight lifting.

Tone Every Zone consists of three 20-minute workouts. There’s a 20-minute fast walk and both upper and lower body circuits. The two circuit workouts, at 20 minutes each, alternate walks with lifting.

I switch things up when I do these workouts by doing the segments in a different order. I’m also starting to swap out the cardio sessions for other walks. Instead of Burn 30, I’ll do any walk that’s at two miles or 30 minutes. I will exchange the 20-minute fast walk from Tone Every Zone for any 20-minute or one-mile walk. 

On non-strength days, I aim for a minimum of three miles. This ends up being anywhere from 36 to 60 minutes, depending on the mile’s pace. If there’s no mileage listed anywhere, I assume three miles is roughly 45 minutes. I’ll go for a four or five-mile walk if I want, but I’m under no obligation to go more than three miles for now.

Spiritual Growth 

This one was hard. When it comes to my faith, I’ve been struggling.

I can’t even blame 2020, social distancing, and churches closing for this struggle. For years, I’ve felt like I’m just going through the motions when it comes to my faith.

Even my goals feel that way. I started reasonably small, with scripture writing and devotionals.

Every morning, I write out a verse from whatever “scripture writing” challenge I’m following. (Right now, I’m doing a 31 day one focusing on goal setting). After I copy out the verse, I use the rest of the page in my journal to write any commentary that comes to mind.

Initially, I read four different daily devotionals, but I wasn’t absorbing any of the information. So, I decided to narrow it down to only two for now. If that’s still too much, I’ll drop one more and focus on 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs. As an Obliger, I like that a couple of us are reading it together.

Perhaps, in the coming months, I’ll find a more structured Bible study to add to my routine. 

Personal Development/Self-Care 

My personal development goals are the foundation for everything I’m doing. Therefore, they’re the most important ones. If these slip, everything else is likely to follow suit.

I’ve made keeping my physical space organized a priority. While it’s not entirely spotless 100% of the time, I have stopped letting piles of clothing, dishes, and trash accumulate. I make my bed every morning, tidy up before bed, and do a more thorough cleaning weekly.

In the afternoons, I try to take some time to unplug from social media and enjoy myself. This “Quiet Time” is usually around an hour, but I don’t have any timers set. I’ll read, listen to music or an audiobook, knit, play Bananagrams or Solitare, soak in the tub, work on my diamond painting, or pet my cat. The only “rule” is that I need to stay off my phone and computer.

The final, and probably most important, thing I’m focusing on is my morning routine.

I wake up between 4:30 and 5 AM, depending on where I am in my sleep cycle. Then, I make my bed, get dressed in workout clothes, and make a cup of coffee.

Once I sit down with my coffee, I do my morning journaling, scripture writing, and devotional readings. Then, around 6 AM, I work out, followed by a bedroom “shower” (I can’t always get into the shower before getting changed out of my sweaty clothes), and curling up in bed with a book.

Except for using it to control my bedroom lights or as an emergency hotspot for my workout videos when the internet is down, my phone stays off until at least 8 AM.

I’m still refining my morning routine. These last few mornings, I have been slow-moving. My first thought was to set an earlier alarm to give me more time to wake up, but the real issue is sleep deprivation. I usually go to bed between 9:30 and 10 PM, but it’s not without some difficulty. It seems unrealistic to go to bed earlier, so I might need to accept a later wake-up time. Unfortunately, I may have to switch things in my routine to make up for the time lost. 

Flexing my goals as I figure out what works and what doesn’t work for me is a new concept. I’ve always acted like whatever rules I’ve set for myself are written in stone. However, I’m learning that some of the habits I’m working on instilling may not be sustainable. Rather than force myself to do them as written, I’m giving myself the grace I need to modify them as needed. This could be having a non-smoothie Fab 4 breakfast, taking a shorter walk once a week, reading fewer devotionals, or setting my alarm later. I think my biggest fear is that I’ll become too lenient with myself.

Fortunately, I am confident that if I start to veer down that path, I’ll have a much-needed dose of tough love to knock a little sense into me.

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