Being at the top of your game, in the zone, on form – whatever you choose to call it, some people believe that it’s only in these fully focused states that we can get things done. And if we are “not feeling 100%” then that long walk, bike ride, training session, or home-cooked meal can wait.
Well, if you wait for the stars to align just right, you’ll look back a few months from now and realise that you haven’t done a single thing on your long list of resolutions.
What if I told you that things won’t just fall into place for you and that it’s your priorities that need rearranging, not your schedule? Taking responsibility for your actions, being the master of your destiny – this is the first step towards self-improvement and self-realization.
The good news is that you’re not alone in this. We’ll go over the six key steps to improve your physical and mental health, but it’s up to you to stick with the plan and bring about a real, meaningful change.
We’ve all heard of at least 2-3 fad diets from our friends or on TV, but the main issue with most of them is that they are a quick fix, not a long-term solution. Most people have a hard time following a prescribed diet, as the scientists in this study
were shocked to find, let alone using restraint after the diet is over.
And most quick diets don’t teach you about healthy dietary guidelines
, calories, nutrition, and most importantly lifestyle and habitual changes. That’s why people lose 5-15kg and then re-gain it all again after a few months.
Sound dietary advice and portion control that is sustainable in the long run, so that it can become a new lifestyle, not a quick means to an end. You need to hold yourself accountable for what you eat, every day if you want to stay healthy and performing well
Creating a clear schedule that will allow you to go through all the following steps. If you can’t prioritise and you have no game plan, you’ll revert to old habits.
The first step is determining the few essential things you can do every day that will cover all the most common hindrances and issues, leaving you free to focus on other things. That’s what economists call the Pareto Principle
– in this case, it means that 80% of your motivation issues and little problems can be fixed by doing 20% of the big tasks you keep postponing.
Put these main tasks at the top of your to-do list, alongside the points we cover in this list, and you’ll have a lot more time and feel more focused.
A well-rested mind is a sharp and motivated mind. However, it’s not just about getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night – it’s about getting quality sleep. To do this, you’ll have to go to bed a bit earlier and surprisingly what you do in the morning, will hugely impact your sleep. Wake at a consistent time every day, ensure you expose yourself to light, 10,000 lux and of course take a serving of RISE
It’s you who decides to hammer caffeine all afternoon and watch a couple of extra episodes of that new show you like, goof around on your phone in bed, drink tons of soda before bed, etc. Decide that you need and must have more sleep, and set a time when you want to get up in the morning.
You might feel a bit groggy the first few days, but as long as you keep going to bed earlier and waking up at approximately the same time, even on weekends, you’ll see the impact this can have.
While stretching doesn’t have the magical performance-enhancing and injury prevention
properties that people would have you believe, it is a great way to ease into a more relaxed state. You need 15-20 minutes a day, and you can do it while watching TV, yet most people never get around to it.
Make a point of doing 30-90 seconds of dynamic stretches every time you get up from your desk or the couch, and go for a full 15-minute static stretching routine in the evening. It will help you relax and prepare the body for sleep, or just get the blood going after an hour of sitting.
Taking care of your body
All the other points on the list are related to this one, but here we’re talking about general health and hygiene. Stop putting off dentist’s appointments, buy a decent moisturiser and the right shampoo for your hair type, shave or trim your beard regularly, hit the shower, get a massage – it all adds up.
It also applies to drinking less alcohol, staying away from serious drugs, reducing stress, and not overworking yourself for months on end. Not only will you feel fresh and positive when you start taking better care of your body, but you’ll also be less grumpy and achy than you have been for a couple of decades.
The official exercise guidelines
for physical health recommend much more training than most people would think. You’ll want to strength train with weights at least two times a week, do intense cardio with an elevated heart rate 2-3 times a week, and walk for about an hour each day.
You can choose whatever activity suits you best, whether it be powerlifting or a basic bodybuilding workout, a sport like kick-boxing or cycling, just as long as you meet the minimum criteria for each type of training.
Having a partner helps keep you accountable, but the biggest thing is just to get yourself in those gym clothes and start the workout. Once you overcome that initial resistance and actually start the training session, it will be easy to bang out a few sets.
People often say that they don’t have the time to train or the money to eat healthier. However, in the end, you are the one who needs to make the time, start shopping smart and cooking your own food, limit distractions, and prioritise important tasks and meaningful things overlying around aimlessly.
Take responsibility for your actions NOW! Not tomorrow, not even today, just right this very moment. Once you have the resolve, you can go through with these tips, and keep reminding yourself of why you’re doing everything so that you stay motivated.