By Benjamin Hawes
March 12th, 2016
When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve and it was finally 2017, my plan for the year was to kick ass. There were goals I wanted to achieve, money I wanted to make, and ideas I wanted to develop.
Well, before I knew it, it was the middle of February and I wasn’t exercising, I was sleeping terribly, I was gaining too much weight, spending too much money, and I was not accomplishing what I knew I wanted to accomplish.
My work was suffering. My apartment was the messiest it had ever been. My laundry basket was too full and I was buying new underwear so I didn’t have to do laundry (a cycle nobody should ever start).
My 2017 was off to a very bad start.
I really am not someone who is supposed to be a disaster. I’m supposed to “know what I want” and “have it all together.” Of course, these are pressures I have put on myself, and I’m 100% okay with maintaining them.
But I hated the way this year was going. There was so much happening politically, so many fast-paced changes happening at work, and I also know that in June, I’m turning 25. I need to be in a good headspace before I turn 25.
I decided to do a “30 Day Reset” to get myself back on track so I could reach all of these 2017 goals. Well, folks, it has now been 30 days, and I feel GREAT!
I wanted to write up what I did in these 30 days to help set me back on track so that in case you have also gained what I have been calling “Trump pounds,” or your mind is a mixed up mess, you can also get yourself back together.
My main goal was to get my mind back in its zone, but I decided to focus on four things for my 30 day reset. Exercise, diet, self-care, and my professional work.
Everyone knows I’m on a constant journey toward becoming a ten, and I have always believed in the “look good, feel good” mantra. In February, I found myself to be flabbier than I had been in some time, and I knew this was the first thing I wanted to tackle in this 30-day project.
I have a favorite fitness studio called “Circuit of Change.” They have a class called “Mind Body Bootcamp” that tears me to shreds every time, and also lets me reflect how I am feeling. I have been going for about a year now, but I have never gone more than a few times per month. I knew that a good routine would be key for this reset, and I knew that I loved Circuit of Change, and the teachers there would hold me accountable.
I decided to join their unlimited plan for the month, and I made a goal of visiting the studio 20 times in four weeks (5 times a week). I knew it would be a lot, and I totally expected myself to bail. Well, guess what? Today is the last day of the 30 days, and I visited the class exactly 20 times!
By visiting the same class 20 times in 30 days, I learned a lot about myself, and how I work. At the beginning of the month, I had trouble with a lot of the exercises and keeping up with the class. There were certain things that I hated doing. For example, I hated when the teachers told me to do a plank, and then go down on my elbows, and then get back up. Over and over again. That was so hard. I also had trouble simply getting through the class without stopping for water.
Over the course of the month, my fitness improved so much, I could not believe it. About halfway through the 30 days, I stopped needing to bring in water. When the teacher told me to take my plank to my elbows and then get back on my hands, I could finally do it. I’m now 30 days in, and I have decided to renew for a second month because the results to my body and to my mind are undeniable, and I need more. My body is just better, and I feel better and stronger (and hotter), so I mark this as a success.
By working so hard on my body, and allowing myself to achieve something I wanted to achieve, my mind is in a better place. There’s a lot to be said for consistency, and routine. I am really proud that I finished out the month, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect on myself to that extent. I am really happy that I set this challenge for myself.
As part of the look good, feel good theme of this reset, I decided I needed to get back in the calorie counting game. I made three pretty significant goals for myself (just for the 30 days), and they ended up making more of a difference than anything else.
I decided not to focus on too many things, so I would commit to never going over 1500 net calories in a day (calories I eat minus calories I burn), I would fully cut out Diet Coke, and I would stop going to Chipotle.
The calories were the easy part. Since I was walking to work and taking my one-hour fitness class each day, I could still eat about 2000 calories or more per day anyway.
The “No Diet Coke” rule was hard. I have been hating the amount of Diet Coke I put into my body, but if you know me well, you know that moderation doesn’t work with me. I can’t just have one Diet Coke. I’m having five, or I’m having zero. I know that it’s full of chemicals and that’s really what this is about.
When asked about my Diet Coke addiction, I have always said that it will be the last thing I will “kick.” And what is so cool about cutting it now is that I feel like it really is the last step on my journey to a basic healthy Diet.
At this time last year, I decided to cut out McDonald’s for 30 days. And now, a year later, I have not had Mcdonald’s in one whole year. These are the kinds of changes I have been making, and it’s really exciting that I’m at a point where I feel like I could cut out Diet Coke.
I also made the decision to cut out Chipotle for these 30 days. This isn’t anything against Chipotle itself, but I noticed that I had made a habit out of Chipotle, and it had become sort of a money wasting/laziness thing for me. I stopped going to Chipotle to force myself to cook my own dinners, and it worked! I don’t plan to keep chipotle off my plate forever, but I wanted to prove that I could do it for 30 days.
The most amazing thing happened to me when I cut Diet Coke and Chipotle. My skin has cleared up so much I can’t believe it. I counted, and 1 person said I looked healthier, 2 people said my face looked “fresh,” and a whopping 4 people said that I was “glowing.”
And with results like that, Diet Coke is OUT!
3. Self Care
2017 was supposed to be my year of Balance. What that meant to me was that I wanted to spend the right amount of money, sleep the right number of hours, and do a face mask when I know I needed it.
A huge part of self-care for me has always been the quality of my sleep. I know that on nights I stay up too late, my work suffers, and I’m less happy. When I lose sleep, I’m less cheery, less engaged, and it’s a problem. I made a goal of being in bed by midnight every work night, and I pretty much stuck to that.
Because I was exercising, I was also sleeping better, and there wasn’t one day that I showed up to work too tired to function.
I have also been tracking the quality of my sleep with an app called Pillow. I left it next to me every night and tracked the quality of my sleep. Normally, the quality of my sleep is around 65%, but I hit my all time high at 80% on two separate nights! This was huge for me.
Another part of my self-care plan was organization. How clean is my bedroom? How many dishes are in the sink? Are my floors clean? Is my laundry done? Since I made this a focus, my mind has been in such a better place. Knowing that I’m coming home to a clean apartment has been such a source of peace for me.
I also worked on my self-care Sunday routines. Making sure to throw on a charcoal mask every Sunday night, flossing every day, and making sure my hair is healthy and on point at all times. All of these things made me feel more ready to take on the world. Self-care Sundays are so essential to the success of a 30 day reset.
4. Professional Work
I know that in 2017, I want and need to do some damage in the career section of my life. I love the company I work for, and I really want to continue to learn and develop skills that will help me grow. I also want to continue to develop my general professional profile in the world.
What do I mean by that? I want to be someone that is a professional in more aspects of life than just work. I want to be known as someone who is simply an overall professional. I want to develop my own career, but I also want to help others develop theirs. I want to read professional content online, but I also want to create my own.
I have worked on re-branding my personal website to be more professionally focused, and less focused on the comedic archive that it has historically been. I love that now people can visit the site to see more what I’m about; personally and professionally.
I also started a project that I’m super excited about. Because I have been focused on my own personal growth and career, I decided that I wanted to learn about how other people have learned about their own values, and how they have grown in their own careers. I have identified about 10 people with careers that I admire, and I have been interviewing them and asking the questions that I have always wanted to ask. Stay tuned for more information about that!
The work I have done in my own role at work have also been in a better place, as a result of all of these shifts I have made in my life.
This has been one of the most transformative months of my life, and if you are looking to do a shift, and looking to get more out of your mind and your work, I highly recommend setting up your own 30 day reset, on your own terms.
It has been so valuable to identify problem areas in my life this year, and working really hard to make these changes. I feel sharper and stronger, and ready to take on the rest of the year.
I have loved these thirty days so much that I have decided to turn the 30 into 60. I’m doing it all over! The results I have seen have been so tangible, and I’m buckled in and ready to go.
The world won’t even see 25-year-old Ben coming.
Thanks so much for reading, and please ask any questions you have in the comments!
Have a great week.