Anyway like most people I've set some intentions for myself in 2017. Last year was full of big moments for me. I ran the Boston Marathon, started back in school and my wife decided to start a political career. My daugther entered high school, marking a new chapter in our lives as parents. 2016 wasn't without it's failures both personally and in the world in general. I found myself ending the year on an unecessarily pessimistic note as I anticipated the changes coming in the world in 2017. I've also found myself in the mood for more inward looking goals, possibly a reaction to what I can't control externally causing me to look inward at what is largely under my control.
Goal 1: To exercise with intention. Running in particular has been a catalyst for life change for me over the past 5 years. However since goal driven running has become my main focus it also presented itself as a source of stress at times. Driven to perform I occasionally treated my body as a battering ram, not a living thing to be respected. I won't lie, I'm still inclined to push myself and I have race goals left in me, but now that I'm sitting resting my foot injury I'm feeling very relaxed about my approach to returning. I'll compete when it suits me (and my body) and enjoy the rest.
Goal 2: Cutting out sugar. Diet change is hard for anyone. Adopting a plant based diet eliminated many of the foods that had me fast tracked to poor health. It has also steered me toward a much more peaceful life. Most sugary foods aren't vegan, though as time passes and the trend toward veganism grows in our culture, processed food companies are following the money. The availability of vegan junk food is exploding. I'm pretty good about avoiding it anyway, but I do indulge. So for January I've decided to adjust my taste buds by avoiding all sugary food entirely. This includes artificial sweeteners, candy, chocolate, sports drinks/bars, juice, sugar in it's many forms and even dried fruit (though I'm keeping whole fresh fruits). When I do make my return to it in February the idea is to really only consume it as a celebration food rather than a weekly convenience. Dried fruit will return though as I like it when I travel or occasionally in my oatmeal. Sugar, especially in the form of baked goods, are the foods I recognize as temptations for me. In 2017 I intend to reframe that relationship.
Goal 3: Find time. OK, time is finite and we are only given so much of it, but I'm in a contemplative mood where I'm evaluating where I spend my time and what can be expunged from my life. I currently work two jobs, exercise regularly, write, read, cook and somehow feel I'm left with not enough time for family and friendships or community service. Internet involvment seems like an easy target so I'll work on that. Months ago I deleted Facebook from my phone and that has helped a lot meaning I have to be sitting at a computer to use it. I'm still processing this idea, but organzing what is a priority for my time is on my mind. Disconnecting (or diminishing) from media in part seems like a good idea.
Wherever you are with your intentions, whether it's a new diet, an exercise routine, or other life goal I hope you are patient with yourself and feel gratitude for every small gain or change. For some people jumping in with both feet is their only approach, while others prefer to dip one toe in at a time. Just roll with it. Ignore the burden of comparing yourself to others. When you figure out how to do that, let me know. Happy 2017.