If you’ve ever tried to cut a tomato, you know a dull knife just won’t do the job. You’ve got to keep the tool in shape to get the job done properly. The same goes for your work and life. The food you eat, the exercise you get, and the rest you take are all part of your bigger energy picture. Start being a better person through living a healthier life.
This post is part of a 14 part series on How to Be a Better Person. I’ve also super-duper fancied this group of posts up into an Amazon Kindle book. Check it out: Forget Perfect, Just Be Better: 101 Simple Ways to Grow in Relationships, at Work, in Life, and Through God.
I have to admit, running through a drive-through restaurant on those super-busy days is a real time-saver. But it is a huge hit to my health and “man I don’t want to do anything” factor for the rest of the evening. You might say the convenience makes the rest of my day inconvenient.
You might be surprised to find out the same goes for your home meals, too. Do you typically avoid bigger, fancier, or better meals because they can’t be done in the microwave? When is the last time you had to plan out a meal 2-3 hours in advance? It’s a huge shift in thinking and really gets you to appreciate the input, process, and output.
Do not use your microwave at all for 2 full weeks. Not to boil water, not to heat up your oatmeal, not to reheat your coffee, not to destroy your CD’s – nothing. Unplug it and move it to the garage. Seriously. Avoid the temptation and figure out ways to make it work.
Start caring more about what goes into your meals and start getting more out of them.
2) A Spoon Full of Sugar, Gone
Oh those trips to the Chinese buffet are both wonderful and evil at the same time. One round of the best fried stuff, followed by the really sweet and tasty meaty stuff, then a final round of the yummy sweet stuff. Oh and don’t forget the sushi, egg-drop soup, and a few sugary-biscuits for good measure. Bite after bite after bite…
Once you hit your taste buds with something decadent, you might just consider the rest of the meal or snack downhill from there on out. That’s how eating, and sometimes your whole day, can go. By not putting some extra care into your eating habits, you might accidentally leave that door open for unhealthy eating.
Make that funky-eating bucket a little less full. Eat 1 less unhealthy item today. Ditch that piece of candy, ice cream, spoonful of mayo, and (as much as it hurts me to say it) those delicious slices of bacon.
Put just a little bit less fuel on the junk-yard fire and start your healthy eating journey off right.
3) An (Extra) Apple a Day
My wife and I took our son to Disney Land for his fourth birthday since he’s a leap-year baby and it just seemed like the right thing to do. That’s a 12 hour trip from our house. I had a choice: start with candy, junk food, and sodas or trail mix, nuts, and juice. I’ve tried the junk food route and can make it about an hour before I start falling asleep. I chose the good food route and was fine the entire trip.
Beginning your trip to eating healthy is that much easier when you start it off with the right food. An old programming saying goes something like, “Garbage in, garbage out.” The same goes for healthy eating and healthy starting.
Actively choose to eat 1 additional healthy item each day. Make it a banana, grapefruit, purslane, raw washed spinach, or even a handful of toasted almonds.
Start doing something different and build the good snack habit.
4) 10 Minute Abs-olutely Doable
Ever tried to run a few laps around the neighborhood park or running track? I know I’ve attempted it a few times myself. And there’s one thing that kept me from doing it regularly. Time. I would spend 10 minutes getting ready, 30-40 minutes exercising, and 10 minutes cooling off and coming home. I just couldn’t cut a big enough piece of my daily pie to do it.
Then one day I bought a Gazelle. No, not the animal – though chasing one would probably work up a big sweat. It’s an affordable elliptical machine I can use in my home. In other words, I spend 2 minutes stretching, 25 minutes exercising, and 2 minutes to cool off. Bingo – efficient exercise achieved.
Take the at-home, anytime-is-good, super-easy-to-do approach to exercise to get that habit going. Exercise for at least 10 minutes today. Stuck for ideas? There are tons of 10-minute exercise videos on YouTube. Try this one, this one, or this one to get going.
Get your body moving and give away the time excuse.
5) Early to Bed
I’ve come up with so many different ways to justify hitting the snooze button it’s sad to think about. I know full well that extra 9 minutes will do me no good and will only shift my morning routine out of balance by the same amount of time. But the desire to do it still comes up. Silly.
You know sleep is vital to your energy and recovery. But do you know just how important it is to start the next day off right? If you tint your day with sluggish, reluctant, and permissive habits, how do you think the rest of the day will go?
Get to bed 18 minutes early today. Honestly consider getting double your snooze-time up front instead of in the morning when you don’t have that extra time. It might be a little tougher for the first week. Keep at it and sleep will come with ease soon.
Take care first and start out right later.
6) Yes, Aspirin Does Expire
The joys of finding an old soda in the pantry and I mean a really old one. You know it’s going to be flat, funky, and just all kinds of bad. But you go for it anyway. Totally not worth it, especially considering you know better, but it’s something you’re in the habit of doing. Using what we’ve paid for, that is.
Consider this. If you bought an 18-pack of cookies for $2.99 and they’re 370 calories each, would it be worth it, health-wise, to eat them just because they’re there? Would it be worth it to drink 7 year old cough syrup knowing its ineffective after the expiration date?
Go through your medicine cabinet, bathroom, fridge, pantry, and drawers. Yank all of your expired pills, food, sauces, onion ice cream, and other junk. Dispose of them quickly and properly.
Start thinking about your future health before hanging on to money spent in the past.
7) Unblock the Sun
There’s this recent habit of folks using vitamin supplements to cover all of the bases. Yes, I take a multivitamin for those days I know I’m not going to eat optimally, but there are things I won’t do. For instance, I won’t take Vitamin D.
Your body was made to produce Vitamin D from the get-go. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for your health from everything to boosting immunity to preventing bone-softening rickets. And the best part is all you need is 15 to 20 minutes in full sun to make it yourself. Neat, huh?
Spend 15 minutes in the sun today. You don’t need sunblock for this unless you plan to stay out longer. Take a break, take some deep breaths, and enjoy the outside for a nice little chunk of time. Your body will thank you.
Bring some sunshine into your life and keep your body happy.
8) Dinner’s Tough; Take a Nap
There’s almost nothing like a good cup of coffee to round out a nice meal. It goes right in, fills in those empty spots in your stomach where the food couldn’t reach, and makes you all nice and cozy-warm. It’s a nice boost to energy, too. Bonus!
I’m going to admit that eating can be a lot of work. All that chewing, talking, and moving about. Your body is doing so much and really needs to focus on turning that food into something you can use. Something about a good meal just screams “nap-time!” So which is it? Nap or coffee?
Do both. Grab a quick cup of coffee right after your dinner and then plunk down for a 20 minute nap after dinner. Set the alarm just in case. Play some soothing music or guided meditation audio, if needed. Enjoy that break.
Stop fighting the after-meal dip and start using it for a double-extra boost.
9) Stop the Noise
Do you know what happens when you give a young kid a soda, a handful of chocolates, and let them loose? Small tornadoes of terror. And don’t think adults get off the hook that easy either. Fill us with extra time on our electronic toys, time-waster websites, and big-screens and we’re wired for hours.
When is there time to wind down in your life? You hit the ground running in the morning, fill the day with as many things as you can get done, and cool-off at the end of the day with doo-dads that occupy valuable mind-refreshing-time. You’ve got to rest before you can hit the hay.
Turn your computer, phone, TV, whatever off 2 hours before going to bed. Give your brain time to process the day, review your experiences, and learn from everything that happened.
Soak in the day’s lessons before going to bed and sleep well.
10) Time Well Spent
Ever wonder where the time goes? Just as soon as you get home, there are 817 things waiting for you to do, right? By the time you’ve actually made a nice dent in the chores, you’re staring at 10:00 PM without much time left before having to go to bed. Talk about a major drainer!
Chances are, you don’t have much control over what fills your day. You’ve got to work, take care of your family, and pay the bills. However, you do have control over what you do in your free time. Yes, I know certain things relax you. And what if I told you that other things could be just as relaxing and healthier at the same time?
Start using your free time for more meaningful things. Cut back on your favorite game, website, or television show by at least 30 minutes today. Do something fun and rewarding in its place. Start that hobby you always wanted to, but only in 30 minute chunks.
Small chunks of time, repeated often enough, equal an lifetime of growth.
10 Ways to Become a Better Person Through Being More Healthy
- A Spoon Full of Sugar, Gone
- An (Extra) Apple a Day
- 10 Minute Abs-olutely Doable
- Early to Bed
- Yes, Aspirin Does Expire
- Unblock the Sun
- Dinner’s Tough; Take a Nap
- Stop the Noise
- Time Well Spent
Now get on out there and starting being a better you! :)
Want to get the whole series in a convenient ebook?
Check it out: Forget Perfect, Just Be Better: 101 Simple Ways to Grow in Relationships, at Work, in Life, and Through God