Clean 2014

I like to give myself major, overarching goals for each year (#4 from my 10 Principles is to set goals, both near and far – this covers the ‘far’ part based upon which you set your ‘near’ goals).  My first time doing it, my goals were around the makeup of my body (lowering my weight and body fat). The second time, I focused on what my body can do (running a certain number of races of a certain distance within the year).  I used both of those big goals to build a series of steps to get there.  For instance, my second year goal was to run five 5Ks in a year. I setup my training and found races to get me there. I actually didn’t technically do it since I did one 5K, one 5.6K, one 10K and a half marathon which was good for 21.1K.  I more than did the distance (41.7 vs 25), but just didn’t do it as I had said I would, which I’m more than ok with.  I also did a century ride as I picked up road cycling, and climbed the three tallest peaks in New England in three days.

So the question is what to do next year.  I could set another goal of completing some specific thing, like doing a marathon (on my mind, but I think it’ll be 2015, though I have an ultra-marathon relay race and a half marathon planned already).  Rather than continuing the same type of goal as last year, I decided I’d challenge myself differently, and want to invite all of you to join me.

I challenge myself to live cleanly.

I already eat pretty healthily, but I want to take it up a notch, and take a stand publicly.  I’ve found that going public about things makes it much easier to see you to your goals.

So what do I mean by ‘clean’. For me, specifically, it means no coffee, no soda, no processed foods.

I’ve found myself dependent on coffee, and completely lethargic and grumpy (to put it nicely) when I don’t have it. That is not ok at all. I’d love to go the next step and say, “no caffeine,” but I don’t want to cut out green tea or other things that have caffeine as they have other benefits.  Coffee is definitely the main way I get it, and I don’t get relief from feeling run over by a bus if I have other kinds of caffeine, so it’s definitely most important to cut out coffee.  No dependence here!

I also find that I feel much worse (physically and emotionally) when I put junk into my body.  Junk doesn’t mean treats, but processed foods that are more manufactured than made.  Foods that aren’t so much food than a series of chemicals brought together and put in a container by machines. I don’t eat much of it, but I do eat it at times, and I never feel good after.

The last thing is no soda.  I actually tried to do this in 2013, but started cutting myself slack on airplanes, and then when driving long distances and then when eating out at a restaurant.  I don’t need it, and it isn’t good for me, so enough.  No excuses, no exceptions.

As an aside, I would have added “no alcohol” but I’ve been doing that already.  I was never a big drinker, and decided it was pointless to have a couple of glasses of wine a year (what I had gotten down to), so I might as well just keep it out of my body. I wasn’t having enough to get the benefits people talk about from wine, and doing so would concern me about the other things I’d be asking my body to deal with (sugar, toxins, etc).

I am actually going to start this now rather than waiting until 2014 to start. I don’t need to put off the health and mental benefits for another couple of months.  Today is the fourth day I’ve been ‘clean’ by this definition, and I’m definitely coming out of the dark with the coffee dependency, which is great.

So, will you take up the “clean14” challenge?  What will your challenge be to yourself?  Will you start now, or wait until 1/1/2014? Take a long look at your life and how you fuel it, and find places where you can and will do better for your happiness, your health, and the example you set for your friends and family. Join the “clean14” challenge on Facebook and use the hashtag “#clean2014” on Twitter to share your challenge and how you’re doing.  It’s a great way to enlighten.your.body.

About bryan falchuk

bryan falchuk is the founder of, a certified personal trainer, behavior change specialist and the best-selling author of "Do a Day". bryan coaches people on their whole health - the physical, mental and emotional combination of wellness that we need to thrive and change our lives.

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