We’re getting on that time of year when we begin thinking about self-improvement for 2017, and with good reason.
It’s the things that we do every day that have the most impact on our lives. By making little life tweaks, we can dramatically improve our health and our state of mind. You know that, or you wouldn’t be trying to improve your life by changing your habits.
Conversely, little life tweaks can dramatically screw us up, too.
Here are 5 things you may be doing to improve your life that make your life worse:
1) Sleeping less hours a night
I know you have a ton of things that you do everyday, and when you get home, it feels like you’re treating yourself if you stay up just one extra hour to watch Netflix.
Trying to treat yourself to an extra hour of wakefulness, or trying to increase your productivity by shaving off an hour or two actually dramatically decreases your health, your productivity, and your state of mind.
Here’s where someone pulls out some case study where Thomas Edison or some other high achiever existed on 3-4 hour “power” naps. Did you know that Thomas Edison was arguably an unbearable a—hole? So was that other over-achiever whoever (s)he was, who made all kinds of money and fame but died early and unhappy.
Do you want to be an unbearable a—hole? Get your 7 ½ – 8 hours of sleep a night.
2) Skipping your workout
So you took my advice and now you don’t have time to work out because you got that extra hour of sleep…
Nope. You don’t get out of it that easily.
Working out is an investment. You invest your time, at least 4 times a week, doing a combination of weight bearing and aerobic exercise, and you will find that the health and energy benefits actually increase your productivity and effectiveness. You trade time for efficiency. Now you have more time to do the things you love to do because you’re more effective – and healthy, to boot!
3) Skipping stretching
You’re at the gym! Or your biking! Or you’re jogging! Good for you! The hardest part about working out is actually getting there.
So pat yourself on the back for your arrival.
But, oh no! You only have a half hour to spend! So, you think you better skip the stretching, or better yet, you’ll “do-it-later,” because you can stretch anytime.
First of all, you probably won’t stretch later. Second, stretching is more important than the workout by a factor of 1%. On the scale of importance, stretching is 51%; working out is 49%.
Your muscles, tendons, and nervous system need oxygen to perform properly. When you work out without conditioning your joints and muscles, you risk injury, and your workout is much less effective.
Do dynamic stretches in the beginning, and static stretches at the end. Or, make these your priority, and make sure you make time for both stretching and working out next time.
4) Taking Vitamins
What? Of course, you should take vitamins, you say! You pop that pill you got from Costco or the drug store every morning! Everyone knows you should take your vitamins.
Well, yes and no…
When it comes to nutrition, quality is everything. The all-purpose, biggest-bang-for-your-buck brand of vitamin may actually strip your system of nutrients it already has, or gods forbid, hurting your cardiovascular system. Is your pee a crazy shade of neon yellow after you take your vitamin? Does your skin and breath smell like chalk?
At best, hopefully, you’re pooping your pill out without it doing anything for you. Look at this xray below. This is a chiropractic patient who was taking Centrum every day for years.
Our bodies are all different. What may work for one person may be harmful to another. It’s just more complicated than taking a big-box vitamin pill.
Talk with me or someone else with advanced training in nutrition and functional medicine about what’s right for you. Or, if you’re a DIY kind of person, at least stick to organic, whole-food supplements, like greens and reds drinks, and separate when you take them. For instance, greens in the morning, reds at dinnertime.
You’re lucky. You know me, and I have access to the best quality supplements you can get right here.
5) Not stopping until the job is done
I’m guilty of this too. “I’m not moving until this is done.”
So you sit in that chair for 8-12 hours cranking out the work, only stopping for a bathroom break when your bowels and bladder won’t take it anymore. Or, you tackle your housecleaning or yardwork like a fanatic, from dawn until dusk, without stopping, stretching, and taking a walk to take in the day.
You’re wrecking your body and your mind.
We all need breaks. Our brains work best when we “clear the cache” and get some quality movement time going. Even if you have to set an egg timer (look how old I am) or your phone alarm to go off every 15-20 minutes, get up, stretch, move around. And every 2 hours or so, move on to something else for 2 hours.
And for goodness sake, get out the door and take in some life, will you?
It’s a crazy paced world we live in…but we’ve made it this crazy.
Take those little things you do every day to improve your life and switch them out for quality time and products. I promise you, you’ll be shocked at how much better your life will get!