It’s that annoying time of year when most people start talking about New Year’s resolutions. Some people are super enthusiastic about it and other people couldn’t give a shit. I sit firmly in the first camp because I love setting goals and making plans but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of chai. Even if you think New Year’s resolutions are bullshit, you have to admit there’s something so lovely and clean about the first day of a new year. There’s so much possibility. It’s also a chance for people to reinvent themselves. I recently read this article on Man Repeller where they got women to wear the oldest piece of clothing they owned. One of the women featured in the article says she bought this particular top many years ago because ‘it made her feel like the version of herself she wanted to be.’
I absolutely love that concept. The version of yourself you want to be. It’s something teenagers do effortlessly. They constantly re-invent themselves and find different versions of the people they want to be. This hunger for self-actualisation seems to dissipate in most people once they hit their 20s and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps it’s the burden of adult life that makes our self-exploration take a back seat. When you’re trying to pay bills and climb your career ladder there’s not usually much room left for figuring out if you’re a Yogi or a Crossfit kind of person or if your fashion style is boho or classic.
I go through phases of wanting/trying to be different versions of myself. There are some things that won’t change. I’ll always be very organised, very sarcastic and very tempted by wine but there’s plenty of room for other versions of myself in that.
Since starting Straight & Curly with Kelly almost three years ago, I’ve done some serious self-experimentation. That’s literally the point of the podcast – we try out life hacks and report back on them. I’ve always been a fan self-improvement but I’ve realised recently that whenever I try a new life hack or try to ditch bad habits, my motivation comes from the potential version of myself that I’d like to be. It’s like New Carly sending me a brain-message from the future.
Rather than just telling people to quit doing things that are bad for them (because that’s super effective right?) I thought it would be a good idea to frame these lifestyle detoxes as pathways to a more desirable version of yourself. Here are some lifestyle detoxes I highly recommend trying in 2019.
1. No alcohol for a month
Alcohol is my biggest vice but to be honest, for an Australian, I’m pretty low key with my drinking. I rarely drink during the week but I’ll have about 2 to 4 glasses of wine most Friday and Saturday nights. Which isn’t great, but I don’t eat carbs and I work out 5 days a week and god help me I need SOMETHING! Having said all that, if I happen to have an alcohol free weekend, it’s pretty amazing. I don’t really get hangovers but if I have 4 glasses of wine, I’m not going to be super sparky the next day and that’s a bit crap because I’m usually super sparky. If you’ve never gone a full month without alcohol, put it on your to-do list this year. It’s unbelievably cleansing. I sleep much better without any alcohol in my system and my skin always looks fresh and dewy after an alcohol detox. You also get a lot more done on weekends when you aren’t feeling seedy.
The version of me who wants to do this: Not Feeling A Wee Bit Seedy Every Second Weekend Carly
2. No coffee for a month
Coffee is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it’s been known to lower the risk of heart disease in regular coffee drinkers. However, if you’re feeling really dependant on your cup of coffee every morning and you can’t get anything done unless you’re heavily caffeinated, it might be time to lay of it for a while. I pretty much only drink coffee on the weekends now and only for pleasure as caffeine seems to mess with my sleep during the week.
The version of me who wants to do this: Brilliant At Sleeping and Not A Total Bitch In The Morning Carly
3. No processed or packaged food for a month
This is a fabulous one to try for anyone who wants to improve their health and save the planet at the same time. There’s a great eating plan called The Whole 30 which isn’t technically packaged and processed food free but it’s pretty bloody close. And by ‘packaged’ I mean frozen meals, chocolate bars and fizzy drinks. You can totally buy a bag of nuts or a carton of eggs. It’s a great challenge to try to spend a full month only eating food that’s fresh from the ground and not processed. I do this most of the time anyway (I practically live on veggies and eggs) but sometimes I’ll try to be super serious about it and go for a full month without buying packaged stuff like cheese and mayonnaise. It’s a wonderful challenge if you want to improve your health and your environmental footprint.
The version of me who wants to do this: Acai Buddha Bowl Green Smoothie Carly
4. No screens for 48 hours
Do you find that you spend most of your time seeking out stimulation? Do you get up in the morning, put your headphones on and listen to music while you get ready? Could you drive your car for 20 minutes in total silence and not have something on the radio? I couldn’t, I need constant stimulation. I’ve always got music or a TV show or a podcast on in the background no matter what I’m doing. I can’t be alone with my own thoughts and that’s not a great place to be. I discovered it’s not as scary as I thought to be away from screens when Mr Smaggle and I started camping a few years ago. It’s actually quite incredible. The days are so long, I have more time than I know what to do with and I can read whole books in one weekend. It’s brilliant. If you can’t remember the last time you went a full weekend without touching a screen, book in a weekend to do it in early 2019. You won’t regret it.
The version of me who wants to do this: Perfectly Capable of Being Alone With Her Thoughts Carly
5. No complaining for a week
I’m not a huge fan of meditation and mindfulness, they just don’t mesh well with me for some reason but this means that I miss out on the good juju benefits of these practices. I’m generally a positive person but a few months ago I found that most of my interactions had slipped into negative territory and I didn’t like it. So I started to keep a tally of the conversations I had and whether they were negative or positive. I did this for a week but even after the first day, I started skewing my conversations to make them more positive, which is exactly the point of the whole activity. If you want to give this a try there are more details here.
The version of me who wants to do this: Ray of Sunshine Carly
Also, did you know I co-wrote a book last year? Diet and Lifestyle Detoxes. If you want to get your hands on a copy, you can buy it here.
It’s a no bullshit, straight up conversation about diets and lifestyle detoxes. Should you give up coffee? Should you take a weekend away from your phone? Does Weight Watchers actually work? What the hell is F45? All these questions are answered (extremely honestly) in this book. It’s a great little stocking stuffer for the self-improvement junkie in your life or a lovely gift to yourself if you want to set some hardcore New Year goals.