Chances are if you follow my page you care about your health and being a better person, at least a little bit. This particular blog post is for anyone who cares about being 1% better each day, or at least the idea of being “better” than you were yesterday. I am going to lay out several tips that will help lead you on the path to becoming the best version of yourself. Of course each of these tips could be elaborated further into much longer, chapter-like discussions. I am going to keep it simple and to the point for the purpose of this blog.
- Create Positive habits and Eliminate Negative Habits
- Stop or Reduce procrastinating
- Control your environment
- Embody the person you admire most
- Create positive habits and eliminate negative habits
Creating positive habits is best done by making a list of all your current habits. Go through your whole day – including what you do when you wake up, get out of bed, eat for breakfast, etc. Leave the list out in the open and continue to edit the list until you feel it’s covered everything. Then go through and add “+” signs next to good habits, “=” next to neutral habits, and “-” signs next to bad habits or ones that do not aid you in becoming your best-self. Seeing these habits written down will help you in the first step of becoming aware – so you can start making changes.
For example, if a daily habit is to grab a few cookies as an afternoon snack or a handful of candy from the jar at work, try to eliminate the trigger by avoiding going into that room with the jar of candy or get rid of the junk food/cookies in the house. Chances are if the food is not in your line of sight you will be less likely to eat it – therefore breaking the habit. This specific habit will also be discussed further in the “environment” section.
To create positive habits you need to set a clear plan. For example, if you really want to get in the habit of exercising first thing in the morning, set an alarm and put in your calendar (whether a written planner or the calendar in your iPhone) “workout for 30 minutes or 1 hour at [location]”. Then, set your workout clothes out and ready to go for you when you wake up. If you need to take this even further and set the coffee pot to brew, fill up your bottle with water, and put your healthy snack out to grab on your way (if desired) then do these as well! Look at that – a whole stack of healthy habits just by the Initial Habit of working out in the morning. Once you complete this habit a few times a week for 3 or more weeks, it will be set in stone and become routine, usually.
Game Plan:Pick 3 things you want to make a habit and write them down. Figure out how you can make each one a habit – if it’s working out more regularly, start to calendar a WHEN and HOW of that workout. Put it in your iPhone and set an alarm if needed. If you want to cut back on drinking alcohol, replace alcohol at the end of the day with a different beverage such as sparkling water or hot tea. Take action and remember how important it is to you, and do not let yourself down! But remember, setbacks will happen and it does not make you a failure. Try, try again!
2. Stop or reduce procrastinating
Procrastination is the thief of productivity and a time-waste. Procrastination is defined as the act of delaying or postponing something, whereas productivity, in the simplest terms, is defined as the state or quality of producing something. I would say these two are polar opposites and every moment of every day you have a choice to either procrastinate a task or produce. Choosing to produce tasks not only reduces the stressors of daily life, but also leaves you feeling accomplished and more content at the end of the day. When you feel more accomplished and content you are likely happier and more pleasant as a human being.
To reduce procrastination you must first become aware that it’s happening. Self-awareness is truly key in all of these bullet points. How often in your day are you leaving tasks unfinished? For example, putting dishes in the sink and leaving them there. Not making the bed. Leaving the trash can filled with trash to the brim. Leaving dirty clothing all over the floor rather than putting it in the hamper. Leaving laundry in a crumpled pile in a basket rather than sorting it and putting it away. Putting off your workout to the point that it never gets accomplished, which turns into multiple days and then eventually a whole week, weeks, even months.
Now that you are aware of the various things you are procrastinating, arrange them in an order of timeframe – which one takes the longest vs the quickest task. And then number them based on the most important to least important. Most things around the house fall into a “tidying habit” category, and you can work on a few at a time. It takes a couple of minutes to put dishes in the sink and do a walk-through of the house and put things away and “in their place”. For tasks that take longer than a few seconds, such as folding the laundry, if you have to choose between that and your workout, I would prioritize the workout first. Get to the laundry afterwards or that evening before bed, or if you have a few minutes at lunchtime. In my book, workouts always take priority over just about everything else EXCEPT sleep! If I have to choose between 6 hours of sleep and a workout or 7 hours of sleep, I will choose sleep and get the workout in somehow, at a later time.
My mornings, for example, I do not make the bed immediately as many of you might think. Gasp!!! I wake between 420-445 during the week, typically, and prioritize my daily lemon water/ACV/cayenne pepper habit, followed by my 10-15 minutes of stretching/theragun/foam rolling habit, followed by my coffee habit. Then I wash my face and get dressed and ready for the day which usually entails a dog walk and morning clients. Often I do not make the bed until after my morning clients, when I have more time to leisurely act! Same goes for breakfast. Often I do not eat until after training clients. However one thing is for sure – I make the bed every single day even if it’s that afternoon. There’s just something about getting into a made bed at night – it sets me up for great sleep! But in the morning when I am already short on time and already waking up well before dawn, I prioritize my lemon water and stretching session over the few minutes it takes to make the bed. Everyone is different. Stretching and foam rolling while drinking my water sets me up for my day better than making the bed alone.
Procrastinating work projects or school projects never ends well because you are creating more work for yourself in the long run. It is much better to work a little bit each day instead of waiting until the last minute to get the job done – that way you avoid stressing yourself out and also avoid risking the project looking half-assed! The project has to be completed at some point so why keep putting it off? That is my mindset. I choose to think this way. Same goes for procrastinating and skipping workouts – you end up cheating yourself, not making progress and definitely not achieving your goals. One missed workout can turn into many and before you know it you are out of the habit which is what we are trying to avoid doing! The second you find yourself second-guessing completing your workout, eliminate those thoughts and just get it done. “Instead of worrying about getting it done, just get it done” is a quote I love that is applicable to this subject.
Game Plan: Review your list of things you procrastinate daily or weekly and pick 2-3 to work on changing. Write down the benefits of not procrastinating these tasks. Similarly, write down why you think you may be procrastinating certain things. If it’s your workout and it’s because you do not enjoy the workout perhaps you could try switching the workout to a different activity that you do enjoy!
3. Control your environment – make it positive, make things visible
A positive environment could include your home and also the people around you. If you are constantly hanging out with people who are a bad influence, it’s very likely their behaviors will rub off on you. You must make some changes and avoid these people. Sorry, not sorry. You become those with whom you spend the most time! If you want to be healthier and workout more and eat better I would suggest you stop hanging out with people who want to drink all day and eat junk food. Or if you are trying to stop gossiping, quit talking to and hanging out with people who gossip excessively. I have had to do this myself! Find some new friends, or, just be content being by yourself. There is a reason the quote “it’s lonely at the top” exists! People at the Top of their field do not have time to waste with mediocre individuals or mediocre behaviors. People at the Top have established routines that keep them busy working on perfecting their craft in some shape or form. They may have some downtime, but I guarantee they value that time so much that they still spend it either alone or with the closest of friends or family, or even their animals! Negative people are toxic and should be removed from your contact list. Similarly, unfollow any accounts on social media that are bad influences and instead follow people who inspire you to be Great!
A positive environment is one that is tidy, free from clutter, clean, and allows you to blossom! If you want to workout at home, for example, you should have a dedicated space and equipment for your workouts. You should get workout towels and wipes to keep the area clean, and make it visible so you want to workout. Similarly, if you want to do more yoga, you should have an area with a yoga mat at all times so you can hop right on it and practice. Or at least keep the yoga mat visible so that visibility triggers the habit. If you want to stretch more or use the theragun more regularly so that you recover from your workouts you should leave the foam roller and theragun in a visible, designated space so it reminds you “hey – I am here and need to be used!” Same goes for any other tool or vitamin or object you wish to include more in your routine.
Another factor that is environmentally-based is controlling the food in your environment. I touched on this topic earlier. If you know you have a hard time resisting sweets then you should not keep them in the house. Get it out of the house for as long as possible and then you can try re-introducing it at a later date, but in small quantities, and see if you are able to practice some self-control (which is an entirely different topic of discussion!)
Game Plan: Analyze the people you spend your time with as well as every room in your home. See if you can reduce the amount of time you spend with toxic people who do not help you achieve your goal of becoming a better person – the best person you can be. Get a notebook and write down the positive people in your life as well as negative people. Analyze everyone – even family! Who is the most negative? Who gossips 24/7? Who complains and whines and pushes you to do bad things? Similarly, with your home and your space, see if you can tidy up and make the rooms in your home positive environments for your goals to flourish. Whether it’s dedicating spaces to workout or do yoga, putting a book on your pillow or bedside table so you read more at night instead of watch TV, or whether it’s getting rid of the alcohol and junk food in the kitchen and replacing it with healthier alternatives! Pick one or two areas where you can make some changes. Remember – these baby changes will add up to make huge results!
4. Embody the person you admire most
This one may be the most important because it truly puts all of the other bullet points in 1 package. Each day you have choices upon waking. You can either make it a great day and do your best or you can be negative and dwell on everything bad. I think that embodying someone you truly admire is a great way to make the circumstances better because the people we admire most have developed great habits which is what makes them great! You do not have to make a million dollars a year to make yourself presentable in the morning and do your hair and makeup and put on a nice outfit if you are a woman (or a man for that matter). You do not have to be wealthy to practice good hygiene. You do not have to make a million dollars or be a famous person to work as hard as you can in a thirty minute or one-hour workout. Many people who are now famous and likely multi-millionaires often started out with no money. They simply decided they would make the best of their circumstances and work hard to fulfill their potential. It costs $0 to work hard – this is one of my favorite quotes. Also, hard work coupled with believing in yourself makes you unstoppable!
Someone I admire is Jennifer Lopez. I have always loved her music and movies, and looked up to her. She always seems so confident and sure of herself, and that is how I want to be, too! Now she is in her 50s and still looks incredible and is out there making movies and music! Many of you will say “well she has millions of dollars so I could look like that if I had that kind of money too”…do you think Jennifer Lopez eats much junk food, if any? Do you think she cares about what she puts in her body? I am sure she is monitoring her diet very closely as she wants to be able to perform and excel on stage well into her 50s. Jennifer Lopez has stated she does not drink alcohol, and she lifts weights and trains hard multiple times per week. Another person I admire is Tom Brady who similarly, is excelling in the NFL unlike anyone else has – and well into his 40s! At 44 years of age Tom Brady is breaking records and throwing the ball like he is in his 20s. The reason? He is the hardest working person on the planet (or one of them, for sure). He studies his craft and desires to be the best. Desire coupled with hard work and action produced results. Guaranteed. He, too, is beyond careful with his diet and avoids alcohol all football season long so his body is as free from inflammation as possible. These traits are all admirable traits. If you wake up and say “I am going to think like Tom Brady today” and try to at least make choices based on that thinking you can guarantee you will make some good choices! This is why I believe embodying the people we admire is a wonderful trait.
Game Plan: Make a list of anyone who inspires you. It can be as long or short as you’d like. Write it down and make it visible. Now, go through and think about why each person made that list – write down the traits you think they must have. How did they get to where they are today? What path did they take, what choices did they make and do they continue to make on a daily basis? If you can just adopt 3-5 of these traits and choices I bet you will make some positive changes in your life and become a better person. Also, feel free to make this person a fictional character! Wonder Woman and James Bond are still characters with wonderful traits that we could all learn something from even if we do not possess their “powers”.