11/11 has come to stand for a number of things over the years. For some, it’s a celebration of singlehood, for others it’s an arbitrary date agreed upon to buy stuff.
Well, I’d like to propose something more meaningful about 11/11. I was playing with my calendar when I realised its potential: If you decide on 11/11 to make a change, you have 50 days from then to make or break a habit.
That’s 50 days under your belt of having broken old habits or made new ones!
While there’s no agreement on how long it actually takes to form a habit — this study suggests it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a habit — 11/11 affords us the opportunity to reset and make a real change so we can face the new year better equipped and encouraged.
Did you have certain New Year resolutions that didn’t go so well this year?
It’s not too late, 11/11’s a good chance to dust them off and get some momentum going once more — this time with the advantage of some insights and pitfalls I encountered in my own rocky little journey this year.
Intermittent fasting: My up-and-down weight-loss journey
Back in December 2021, I made the goal of losing weight in 2022. I was fast approaching 100kg and I didn’t feel good physically, so I wanted to get active and fit again.
I made a SMART goal to lose 1kg each month. To that end I began intermittent fasting, cycling and jogging. Progress was good, even despite my best efforts to thwart that on my Melbourne holiday where I ate like a fiend.
In fact, I reached a low of around 86kg sometime in August — way ahead of schedule.
But I soon faced setbacks. I pulled a hamstring and fell sick around August and began to lapse into my old ways.
I was sleeping later, not cycling as much and falling prey to my greatest weakness — Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips.
From 86kg, I began to put on weight until last month when a few more bouts of flu and illness took me back close to 90. Yikes.
Now I’m hovering around 87/88. The goal of getting to 85 is still in reach, and I’m fired up on this last stretch of the year!
4 Cs I learnt along the way
If you want progress, consistency cannot be overstated. I made such great headway early on partly due to the fact I was an absolute zealot about not snacking outside of my eating window.
Disciplined eating and disciplined exercise worked in tandem to help me get into shape a lot quicker. So making rules and keeping to them is key.
In that, I got a glimpse of what verses like 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 mean. If we can first practise this in our walk with God, we’ll have no trouble at all keeping to the resolutions we make in life.
Now, let’s talk about problems. In hindsight, I really should have been more wary about complacency creeping in once I made such great progress early on.
Whether it’s weight loss or learning a new skill, we cannot rest on our laurels.
We have to keep going, and we spur ourselves on by setting new goals whenever we reach a milestone. Otherwise, we’re stagnating and it will only be a matter of time before we regress.
Remember Proverbs 13:4. Whatever the resolution, diligence keeps momentum going and wards off complacency!
Another problem is the setbacks we will invariably face at some point in our journey.
In my case, they were an ankle sprain during a football game, a severe hamstring tear (while stretching ironically) and bouts of illness that threw my fitness plans into disarray.
Three things are needed here. The first is to have compassion on ourselves and not to get too angry at the setbacks we encounter. After all, destinations worth reaching often require difficult paths to get there and our journeys may well be lined with a complication or two. Be kind to yourself (as much as you can without enabling yourself to slip up or abandon the plan).
The second is to make adjustments so you can still keep to the plan. Looking back, even though I could not exercise, I could have made slight adjustments to my daily intake of calories to ensure my weight-loss journey would continue sustainably.
Finally, remember to look to Jesus. We are human and are bound to fail while on this side of eternity. Ask the Lord for strength and grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) to carry on in this journey called life!
Community is so important. Having the right people to celebrate our successes and help us up when we falter or fall is a key factor that keeps any plan or resolution from dissipating.
Throughout 2022, I’ve had the privilege of driving two community groups: basically safe places where guys can come together in accountability specifically on the issue of sexual purity. We sound off when we’re in trouble, we check in on one another randomly, we pray for one another, we set goals and celebrate triumphs together.
This life is difficult enough. Swimming upstream, whether it’s against one’s inclination to eat more than one should or choosing to honour God with one’s eyes, is incredibly difficult on your own. That’s why we need one another (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
More than singlehood and shopping, 11/11’s a great time to build
Anyhoo, that was my journey and what I learnt from it. All of us have a great chance in this last stretch of the year to build good habits and break bad ones.
While it’s been up and down for me in 2022, I’m seeing these last 50 days as a runway that will propel me to reach my continuous goal of stewarding my physical body and taking care of it.
But that’s for me, what resolutions or goals has God put on your heart? Share it with us in the comments of this article, and don’t forget to bring a friend along for the ride.
So here’s to 11/11, and us making the very most of the rest of the year!
- What progress have you made in any area of your life this year? Celebrate that!
- What is one thing you want to do before the year ends?
- Which of these Cs can you work on?