An apt assessment on my overall experience of my 17 Challenges In ’17 project wouldn’t be “so far, so good”. Perhaps I’m being a little hard on myself but I know that I can and should do better. That’s the whole purpose of these challenges and it’s now time to report on results of Challenge #2 and to kick-off Challenge #3.
If you’re a new reader or not sure what I’m referring to, here’s a brief refresher. Rather than defining resolutions, goals, or intentions for 2017, I developed 17 challenges through which I hope to break a few bad habits as well as instill some better ones. Each challenge is for three weeks and then I move onto the next one. Below is the list and schedule of the challenges as they stand today. There’ve been no changes from the schedule that appeared in the last post. The challenge that just ended was “250 steps every hour from 9am to 9pm” and the one that started last Sunday is “7 hours of sleep each night”.
Inspiration is another purpose for these challenges and it was in the midst of Challenge 2 that I stumbled upon the blog post that inspired my three looks in last week’s Leopard Pants And A Little Black Jacket: Up Down All-Around. Long hours at work had been zapping my mental fortitude and I wound up wearing an outfit that wasn’t one of my best efforts.
Challenge #2 – 250 Steps Every Hour From 9am To 9pm
It’s likely that you’ve heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking”. Several recently published research studies report that sitting for more than six hours a day is potentially harmful to your health, even if you exercise regularly (check this article I read on Power Of Positivity). Recognizing the connection between sedentary behavior and increased health issues, last year Fitbit rolled out a feature that allows the wearer of one of their fitness trackers to monitor their hourly activity and stationary time. The goal is to take at least 250 steps each hour during a time period that you define and the tracker will vibrate at 10 minutes to the hour as a reminder if this goal has not been met for that hour.
Periodic movement throughout the day like 250 steps each hour, which is about two to three minutes of walking, is believed to be associated with a 33 percent lower mortality rate when done on a regular basis. Like the tin man who got too rusted to move, the stiffness you feel after sitting for a long period of time is a warning sign of the negative effects of prolonged inactivity. Besides the muscle and joint stiffness, there is a decrease in the rate of blood and oxygen flow to the brain which can inhibit the ability to think clearly. At my age, I’m just as concerned about my mental health as I am about my physical health.
What’s the connection between this challenge and inspiration? Bear with me as I take you on a little style journey. On my day of frump that I referred to, I was wearing the outfit below. Again, it’s not bad but it’s not great either and when stress is playing havoc with your brain, the combination can be enough to rock your world (and not in the good way).
That was the reason that I felt rather embarrassed when two women I know at work stepped into the elevator I was already on to ride up to our respective floors. My outfit of black pull-on pants, loose fitting white blouse, and floral cardigan paled in comparison to their smartly tailored and neutral-toned ensembles. It was all in my own head as they probably hadn’t really paid much attention to what I was wearing but that feeling of embarrassment did act as a bit of a wake-up call for me. I was determined to not let what I was wearing get me down and that determination got me to get in 11 of 12 hours of 250 steps that day. It was later in the day, as I scanned through some emails, that I saw the post that inspired this leopard pants outfit which is what I wore the next day.
With the mental wheels spinning, this renewed energy led to another look for the leopard pants and black jacket combo, and those three then became my feature in that last Up Down All-Around post. At the same time, the deadline for submitting photos for an upcoming installment in the How I Wear My series (hosted on The Rich Life In Wine Country and Everything Just So) was nearing and with the selected theme of “blue” for February, I was inspired to put together this next look which I wore to work the day after I wore the leopard pants (casual Friday and all). I ask you, is teal a bluish green or a greenish blue?
These three sets of photos were all taken in my “closet” with my new lighting set-up that I will give more details on soon. Just another example of how inspiration can lead to great results.
Challenge #2 Results
Are you wondering how I did with this challenge? The results aren’t stellar but it’s a work in progress. During the three weeks of the challenge, I logged an average of 8.3 hours out of 12 where I meet the goal of 250 steps. Compared to the previous three week average of 7.2, I’m “moving” in the right direction but I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve realized, though, that if I’m going to place a priority on something then I must follow through with action, whether it be timely or in some cases, immediate. All too often I will notice the Fitbit reminder and if I don’t just get up and move, I’m likely to find that another 15 or more minutes have passed and I’ve missed getting the 250 steps for the previous hour.
This realization has caused me to ponder other aspects of my life where I’ve been so focused on something that I’ve missed out on another because I didn’t want to be interrupted. Or how easy it is to put off an important task with the excuse “I’m too busy”. Drawing from Newton’s Law and the definition of inertia, which is the natural tendency of objects to resist changes unless acted upon by other forces, I’m working on changing my natural tendencies and seeking forces or inspiration that will change them.
Challenge #3 – 7 Hours Of Sleep Every Night
Equally important as regular movement for physical and mental health is getting enough sleep. Much like the studies that relate better health to consistent activity, research shows that sleeping in on weekends to get caught up on the lack of sleep during the week does not negate all of the harm already suffered. At a younger age, the body has a greater ability to bounce back after bouts of sleep deprivation but as we age, the body becomes less resilient and requires a more regular dosing of sleep to maintain good health.
For myself, I know that I feel best when well rested and that is achieved with a minimum of 7 hours. The reality is that I don’t always clock that much sleep even though it’s mostly under my control to do so. I no longer have young children who will wake me in the middle of the night, I don’t have noisy neighbors with dogs that bark at all hours, nor do I have insomnia or other health problems that impede sleep. Most often, the reason I don’t get a full 7 hours of sleep is because I didn’t turn off the TV and get myself into bed early enough in consideration of time when I need to get up in the morning. Another example of not putting enough importance on a priority and allowing what I’m doing at the moment to affect my behavior.
More on this subject and the results of this current challenge will be covered in the next 17 Challenges in ’17 post. Until then, I hope that you’re succeeding with the goals/intentions/resolutions you made for 2017 and I’d love it if shared about them.
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