We all promise ourselves every New Year’s Eve that we’re going to change. Get thin, get smart, get more active; we’ve all done it before. Myself included. This year though . . . this year something . . . snapped . . . and I knew it was time to turn the ship around. Not only for my physical health but also my mental, and emotional health as well. It lead to something very rare for me. Dedication and purpose. I was the kind of guy that was always quite content to go with the flow and not really throw my shoulder into it. I wasn’t overweight but I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t mindful of myself or those around me. I was spinning on the wheel of commercialism like a hamster on a sugar high. I was vaguely unhappy but I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what it was I was unhappy about. It was the kind of Existential angst that I think plagues a lot of us.
With all of that weighing on me, I decided I would attempt to do three things this year and really actually try to do them:
- Get in shape.
- Get off the spinning wheel of commercialism.
- Become more mindful.
Little did I guess that I’d come to the end of May and all three goals would converge so well. Reducing the amount of things in your life, increasing the amount of enjoyment and mindfulness of the present moment, and eating better all work hand-in-hand. Who would have guessed it? When you make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of things in your life you become more mindful of those things. This leads to the understanding that those things are blocking the enjoyment of experiences you should be having instead of the acquisition of things. Just to be clear, I’m not saying sell everything you own and live out of a backpack. What I would suggest though is if you become mindful of how much time you spend with things instead of experiences with others, you begin to understand how much those things become a roadblock to your enjoyment of life. Do I care if you buy the new iPhone when it comes out? No, of course not. Do I care if checking your Twitter feed on it blocks your ability to go outside and play with your kids? Yeah, that’s when we need to talk.
So if we’re reducing the amount of things in our lives and becoming mindful of the experiences and events around us, guess where that will lead you?
What you eat.
The real thing that made attempting a Paleo life stick for me was becoming mindful of the things I put in my mouth. I’m a firm believer that if you begin to really delve into what the “typical” North American diets entails and its possible side effects, you don’t really have any choice but to clean up your eating habits. Add that to trying to simplify your life and you’ll probably end up making your own meals out of healthy, whole food. Of course, results will help but if you stick with the simplicity and the mindfulness your habits and physique will follow. I wrote earlier this week I had a big breakthrough at a restaurant when I was actually mindful of what I ordered and opted for healthy options that didn’t alter my enjoyment of the food at all. The steak was what I was really after anyway, better to mow through the broccoli quickly to get to the main course.
Taken together, minimalism/simplicity, mindfulness, and a Paleo diet offer a nice compliment that support the changes in your life. I think they offer a nice convergence that has eased the transition I’ve made in the past 5 months. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 months bring.