Over the past few weeks the blogosphere has been filled with wrap up posts for 2015 and new year, new goals posts for 2016. I’ve been reading them with mild to moderate interest and debating whether to do one here. But how do you sum up a year? How do you distill twelve whole months into a blog post that will actually interest your readers? I’d completely given up on the idea until I realized that there is one tiny piece of 2015 that I do want to share right now as we set out in 2016.
And that one thing is a superfood shake that I drank nearly every day for the second half of the year.
(Full disclosure: yes, it’s a product. Yes, I get a commission if you buy it. No, that’s not the only reason I’m sharing this right now. I want to share how one small change can make a huge difference.)
The first six months of 2015 were rough. I struggled with my physical health, my mental health, my dog’s health, and more.
In July, I knew something had to change or I was going to lose it. When a friend approached me that month and asked me to try out one of her fitness challenge groups, I thought, why not? What have I got to lose? I needed a new group of positive people to surround myself with, even if from a distance, and something to do that would help me lift out of my funk. This same friend had asked me back in December and I’d said no. I couldn’t help but wonder how things might have been different if I said yes. So I did.
I worked out enough that people actually commented that they noticed, which I loved. I started drinking a chocolate shake for breakfast every morning and for the first time since I moved out of my parents house I had a breakfast routine that I actually enjoyed and kept me full until mid-morning when I have always needed a snack. I felt the negativity of the early part of the year beginning to melt away. I felt like I could face the issues of the first half of the year in a better way. I smiled more.
All that loveliness lasted about two weeks.
Things started falling apart across the board in my life and the lives of people I love. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get my head screwed on straight. I cried every single day. And bad shit just kept happening.
But one small thing had already changed.
I quit on working out. I quit on anything fun. I hid from my friends. But I kept drinking the shakes. Somewhere in those couple happy weeks they’d turned into a comfort food. Not only were they good for me, but they also made me feel good emotionally. Very few (if any) foods do that for me.
I’m an emotional eater. When things suck, I like to crawl into bed, binge watch Netflix, and eat like I have a permanent case of PMS. And I did do that. But I also drank the shakes.
I ate too many fries. I drank way too much alcohol. I baked too many sweets. I didn’t go to enough therapy until late in the year. But I kept drinking the shakes.
It was easy and comforting. I get them on an auto-ship subscription so they show up at my door once a month. I can just stick ice, water, and the mix in a blender and go for it. My blender is dishwasher safe. Easy. It was one of the few easy things.
Drinking those shakes kept what was a definitely bad enough year from becoming oh so much worse. Anytime in the four years prior to my new breakfast habit, all of these things would have sent me into an intense Crohn’s flare. At least that’s what past evidence suggests. And while I did have a small flare up of symptoms in October, it calmed down so fast I pretty much don’t count it. The only reasons I can think of are luck or this one single healthy thing I was doing each day.
And this healthy thing kept me in touch with positive people. My Facebook newsfeed was filled with posts from people in the challenge and similar challenges. I saw motivational images that I desperately wanted to believe in. I saw the successes of others and I wanted to have those successes. I saw the struggles of others and I hoped they would quickly overcome them. All of this kept me just a little bit grounded when I was totally ready to go off the deep end and stay there.
Basically, this one small, positive change kept me from completely fucking up my life. I did enough damage on my own as I reacted to all that which was beyond my control. How or why I kept faith in this one small thing all this time I don’t know, maybe it’s just a quickly formed habit. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I did.
And that’s how I’m sure of this one thing right now: small changes, even just one, make a huge difference.
I made many big changes at the end of this year too. And I was able to make them because I finally got my mental health back in order and because my physical health did not suffer beyond what I did experience with my injury in the fall. More big changes are coming in 2016. And I’m going to stick with this small new habit to help me ride the waves of whatever this year brings.
What one small thing has changed your life in a big way? What one small thing do you want to change because you know in your heart it will make a big difference?