At the beginning of any year, it’s easy (in your head) to think, “Ok, this year I am going to be so good (what does that even mean?) and do X (take my vitamins, meditate, go for a short walk, whatever) EVERY DAY.”
Then life gets busy, you forget to begin and suddenly you are flipping the calendar to February. Then the inner dialogue changes to, “Well, it’s too late to have a perfect record for 2018 . . . maybe I’ll try in 2019.”
It’s never too late.
On Tuesday, a co-worker, John and I decided to give up sweets.
You know what we’re talking about – the white, nutrition less stuff: like eating cookies with breakfast (because after the holidays, that became my “thing”), trolling for chocolate after lunch or ending the day with a bowl of ice cream.
We both realized we had developed a really bad sugar addiction between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and it was time to kick it to the curb.
Standing in the hallway, we went old school, looked each other in the eyes, interlocked little fingers and made a pinky swear – no sugar – just for today.
We left it up to each other to define what “sugar” meant. Technically my afternoon granola bar snack has sugar in it but I didn’t count it as a sweet since it has other redeeming qualities. My definition of “sugar” was purely something sweet with empty calories. His definition may have differed and that’s okay.
The point is we promised to avoid sugar for the day. Not the week, month or year. Just one day.
That one day made all the difference.
Once dinner was over, my post-holiday routine had become closing the day with a cup of tea and a sugar cookie. That day, after dinner, I made my tea and wanted a bite of something sweet SO BAD.
Fortunately, I only had to give up sugar for one day. Tomorrow I could eat all the sugar I wanted because I only promised not to eat it today. Just today. I made a pinky swear and everyone knows you can’t break a pinky swear. It’s a thing.
I drank my tea and fantasized about the sugar indulgence I would dive into tomorrow. Maybe an éclair from the bakery downtown? Or a donut? Mmm. So many options.
The next morning, while cooler heads prevailed and I was craving free, I looked John in the eyes again and made another pinky swear.
One day. I can do this for one day. I proved yesterday that I can do one day. If it were one week or one month, I probably would have given up already, but it’s just one more day.
Will I have to look John in the eyes every day, hook pinky fingers and swear off sugar for the rest of my life? Probably not. For me, life is too short to completely give up on things like grandma’s homemade chocolate cream pie or Pam’s made from scratch chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
Once I enter a better mindset about sugar (that’s a nice treat versus I. Must. Have. A. Cookie.), I will slowly allow sugar to re-enter my life – in moderation. Control (or the lack thereof) being the clear distinguishing factor.
New Year or not, it is never too late to let go of a habit that is not doing you any favors and start one that supports your goals. One day can make a difference no matter what the time of year.
The pinky swear has been a very powerful exercise for me. It keeps me accountable for the day.
For now, it is exactly what I need to break the cycle of craving (or more honestly, addiction) I have fallen into and keep me sugar free.
One day at time.