As I’ve discussed several times in this website and probably in person to more than one of you, 2012 was the year for me starting my own personal improvement. My main aim in this area for this year was small. I simply wanted to get the foundations right for next year’s big improvements. To date this has been fulfilled with a number of large things and a number of smaller ones, some of which I think are key and some of which maybe not so much. I am still glad I did them though.
Larger things (Conscious and ongoing Items):
- Taking notes in a purpose bought notebook. – This one is, by far, the best thing I have done all year. I read up a lot on how the mind manages deadlines and ‘to-do’ lists. Many people have a to do list in their mind. Go to the shop to get milk, call Mammy, deposit that money into the bank, pay rent. The list can be endless. Now, although some of them might not be that important, and whether you get them done or might not actually matter so if it slips your mind and you forget, no big deal. Right? Wrong. It turns out your brain remembers that there was something that it was supposed to do. It doesn’t know what, but it was something. This isn’t necessary a conscious thing either. We could be completely oblivious to the fact that we forgot to do something but your brain knows! This has been proven to be a cause for things like restlessness when you first get into bed, not being able to relax watching Tv in the evenings and generally bad, but easily unnoticeable issues. Taking notes eliminates this and I’ve found it to be great at making sure I get everything done. It also has strengthened my planning skills because, rather than going and doing things as I think of them, possibly in the most awkward order ever, I can now plan ahead because I remember exactly what I have to do!
- Listening to music. – Might not sound like a big thing to some people but it is a huge thing for me. Growing up I listened to everything. Rock, Metal, Rap, Pop, Dance, You name it. If it was good, I liked it, regardless of the genre. That was broadened even more in college when I got into electro and more ‘going out’ kinds of music. This was a great part of my life and helped to de-stress, relax and create memories that otherwise would not have been possible. The last several years however I have not been listening to as much as I used too. I miss it. So it was an aim of mine to listen to more new music. Expand my aural experience and use it as a relaxation and wind down tool. Stick on some music while cooking or listen to music instead of watching TV. Promotes far more creativity and thought then watching any TV show does (Apart from home and away. That show is awesome). I had aimed to listen to at least one new album a month. I have exceeded that, by far, and plan to continue on this path to aural pleasure for months to come!
- Setting deadlines for the year. This was another major one, and although this year it was small, it is paving the way for me hitting targets year in, year out. I want to read at least two books and get back into more types of books. I want to visit at least one Irish national attraction. I want to go on holidays. Simple things. Some of which are already completed and there are only a small few left to do. Next year I will expand on the list, make it more detailed and longer. I’ve learned from this years list and I know better how to plan it, which I guess, is another thing this was supposed to achieve. I can tick that one-off too now I guess.
Smaller Things (Things I try to incorporate into my life):
Most, if not all, of these aims can be summed up by a Jason Ferruggia post, so I’m going to steal some from there. These, I feel, are key to having a happy, healthy life and have tried my very best to do as many as I can in my everyday life. All is going well so far but there is always room for improvement.
1) Cut out all processed foods.
2) Don’t piss away all your money on bogus, bullshit supplements.
3) Drink a gallon of water per day.
4) Cut out all other beverages. Except for green tea, a limited amount of coffee and some vodka now and then.
5) Practice intermittent fasting on a daily or weekly basis or at least go longer between meals.
6) Get to bed by 10:30 or 11pm every night.
7) Have a routine that helps you wind down each night. Lower the lights, read, etc.
8) Get off of the computer at least two hours before bed. The screen over stimulates your pineal gland and messes with your ability to sleep.
9) Buy the most expensive mattress and sheets you can afford. It’s where you spend a third of your life. (Some day)
10) Train heavy (but in a safe way). I can never say this often enough.
11) Stick with programs for more than a few weeks. Months or years might be more appropriate in some cases. This also bears repeating. Too many people are program jumpers and get nowhere.
12) Put all of your efforts into a few things that actually make a difference, instead of trying a million options that all do next to nothing.
13) Find a way to get focused. Somehow, some way. Most people have zero focus and thus zero control of their lives. Don’t be another multitasking, confused, out of control, getting nowhere fast member of society. We have more than enough of those.
14) Keep a training journal. Record everything. Always try to improve, slowly, over time. Not necessarily workout to workout but over months and years.
15) Train outside more often. Fresh air and natural Vitamin D production are very underrated.
16) Do hill sprints.
17) Pick up and carry or drag heavy shit.
18) Get at least 20 minutes of sunlight per day without sunscreen.
19) Eliminate excess clutter and bullshit from your life. Minimalism…
20) Never allow yourself to get too fat.
21) Never allow your conditioning to slip too much. Always stay in shape.
22) Meditate.(My main aim with the music task above!)
23) Play a sport or perform some type of fun physical activity once in a while, even if just on weekends with friends. Hike, surf, play volleyball, tennis, flag football, swim, whatever…
24) Never hang out or associate with negative people. Cut them out of your life permanently.
25) Reduce stress in your life.
26) Check email far less often than you do right now.
27) Watch less TV than you do right now.
28) Never hate or be jealous of anyone. It takes too much energy; energy that could be used to better your life.
That pretty much sum’s it up! The aim of all this is to become a better, heather, fitter, happy, smarter person! As always would recommend a lot of the above list to anyone, and JF’s posts are always ones to read!
And so, in the words of Will Smith in independence day……