Why you should choose habits over inspiration
“As a man thinketh, so is he.”
Your thought life can be a scary place, am I right? We all have our own inner battles that have plagued us since the fall of man. However, mental health, like physical health, can be worked out and improved upon. Feed the mind positive stuff, and guess what starts to happen? The mind begins to think positive thoughts. Stretch the mind by learning a new skill, say playing the guitar, the brain changes and expands it’s already amazing network of synapses. Read a good book that changes your perspective on a plight that has been dragging you down, and now your brain interprets this differently. Spend time around people who encourage you, challenge you, and lift you up instead of those who tear you down. Guess what happens when you exchange those two friend groups?
As you can see, when it comes to our mental health, there’s many habits that can contribute to a strong, positive, and healthy mental state. In today’s world, people have more opportunities than ever to find themselves down in some deep dark corners of our world, where no one should be spending any time, but with the amount of technology that is in our very fingertips, it’s scary to think about what could be influencing one’s mental health.
So, if we can agree that you are free to control what goes into your eyes, ears, and mind, what are some habits that you should incorporate into your life? Think about that for a minute and then read on to check out some of our suggestions:
- Read positive books. The Bible is unparalleled in it’s wisdom and love. This is great to start your day. A good personal development book before bed is a great way to create bookends to your day with great input from books.
- Listen to positive music. It’s incredible the type of language that will find it’s way to your lips if you’re listening to music that is tasteless in its message. This is a tough one because there’s a lot of great music, that has tasteless message, but is great musically.
- Limit screen time, but choose content wisely. With Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and SnapChat, people’s lives have become consumed with comparing themselves with others and looking for validation in the form of likes and comments. This is a very dangerous place, especially for young people to be seeking validation, and wisdom for that matter. However, there are some people doing some wonderfully positive things in this space, so either don’t participate at all, or choose very, very wisely.
- Be very mindful of who you hang around. Bad company corrupts good character. As a parent, this is one of the harder things for me. I have a heart for kiddos and I know some come from households that have very different values than ours. It doesn’t take much time at all to notice a behavior change in a child if they’ve been hanging around someone with very different values than ours. Here’s the think though parents, the same goes for you. Who’ve you been hanging around that maybe you shouldn’t be hanging around as much. This is a very slippery slope and this isn’t to judge anyone else, but it is to equip you to evaluate who you want to be spending your time around, because you will be influenced one way or the other.
“You are what you eat.”
We’ve all heard that popular health phrase before. Is that an oversimplification, absolutely, but does it make a point? Absolutely. In today’s society, people always like to point out the outlier scenario.
“Well my grandpa drank a fifth of whiskey every night, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, and lived on ho ho’s, pizza, and candy bars and he was never overweight and lived until he was 90.”
That’s awesome fella, and kudos to your Grandpa for having an iron liver and likely not sitting on his ass as much as most Americans do nowadays, but look at what’s going on around you. Think a bit more critically than your Grandpa’s 5th of Whiskey and pack of cigs habits and how your own eating and drinking habits could be influencing the quality of your life. I hate to bring up COVID-19, (SERIOUSLY, I HATE TO BRING IT UP) but look how crippling one’s immune system and overall health is when one is overweight, obese, or has underlying health conditions, most of which are lifestyle related diseases. Scarier yet is that heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are still far deadlier. Let us not forget that.
“Yeah but I knew a guy that was super fit and healthy and dropped over dead at 50 from a heart attack.” There you go with your outlier theory again.
So, just like in the first section, take a minute and think about some eating and drinking habits that you could incorporate into your life that could have a profound impact on the quality and length of your life.
Here’s some of our suggestions:
- Build your meals and snacks around a lean protein source. Most people do not get adequate amounts of protein in their diet. There’s too many benefits to getting enough protein to support your immune system function, protein turnover in your body, amino acids to support muscle growth and repair, metabolic enhancement, and hunger suppression to name just a few. Aim for a gram per pound of bodyweight.
- Track your food intake using an app. Most people have little awareness of their food intake and the amount of calories or macronutrients they are taking in. “I eat pretty healthy” is what a lot of people will say, yet they are 30 – 40lbs overweight. They are either eating far too much of the healthy foods, which is a possibility because you can gain weight eating “healthy” foods, or they have no idea what healthy foods are. By using a food tracking app, people start to develop a better food and drink awareness because they are creating their own report card daily and get real-time feedback.
- Drink 100+ ounces of water daily. Like our world, we are primarily made of water and good hydration is necessary for all of our bodies functions. Most people are chronically dehydrated and would be amazed at the health benefits of just being properly hydrated.
- Eat lots of plants. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other phytonutrients that are really healthy for our bodies.
- Supplement intelligently. Know where you fall short and supplement wisely. Getting enough fruits and veggies is difficult for most people, so a good super greens like product helps immensely. A high quality and tasty protein supplement is also very practical and helpful in getting optimal amounts of protein intake. In today’s “pandemic culture” it may also be wise to begin looking into innovative and new ingredients that enhance immune health. These are just a few of the basics that would be relevant to nearly all people.
“Use it or lose it”
If you don’t move through a full range of motion in your joints, they will become stiff and lose their degrees of freedom. If you don’t stimulate the musculoskeletal system with resistance, you will lose precious lean muscle tissue and bone density. If you don’t elevate your heart rate regularly, you find your work capacity decreases and you’re winded after climbing a flight of stairs. If you don’t keep your hips mobile, you’ll likely find yourself with back issues.
Physical education is something worth pursing for a lifetime. It started when we were young, though it’s becoming less and less part of the elementary and secondary education curriculums. While this is absolutely ridiculous, it is what it is, and we can either come up with excuses for being a couch potato, or we can dust the Doritos crumbs off our crotch and find a coach who can teach us the art of getting healthy and fit. Nobody wants to lose their ability to move freely and pain free, so it’s time to create good movement habits to maintain your freedom to move, or gain back what you’ve lost. God made our bodies remarkably adaptable. No matter how far off track you’ve gotten, you can still transform yourself by harnessing good habits. Take another minute and ponder what you could do to create better movement habits.
Here’s our suggestions:
- Exercise 150 minutes per week. Don’t even worry about what these 15o minutes are comprised of in the beginning, just get moving and accumulate those 150 minutes. Brisk walk, jog, lift weights, jump rope, ride bike, row, swim, etc……
- Dedicate 15 minutes per day to soft tissue and mobility work. A lacrosse ball, foam roller, and some voodoo floss can do wonders for helping your body move better before you actually begin exercising or just moving for the day. This make a HUGE DIFFERENCE!
- Just be more active. Take the stairs, don’t park so close, walk the dog, ride the bike to the gym, or any other form of physical activity will increase your NEAT (non exercise thermogenic activity). This is a slight edge benefit and goes a long way over the course of a year in keeping body fat levels lower than they otherwise would be.
- Strength Train. Nothing, and I mean nothing, pays bigger dividends for your body than a dedicated strength training routine.
- Think better
- Eat better
- Move better
Lastly, be honest with yourself. Hiring a coach is a smart thing to do to help you navigate this new life of health, fitness, and happiness!