2017 is set to be a great year! There are some things that I need to absolutely focus on! There are some things I need to do better and there are some things I could do with doing a little less! Now though is a good time for me to embarking on a mission of self improvement. Things are settled. We’re in our new house and have been for two years and have managed to get done the things that needed doing and this will hopefully free up some time, some enthusiasm and some psychological capacity to achieve more. Here are the things I’m going to do and I’d urge you to do!
Get outside more: I used to run and cycle a lot. I enjoy a good walk. Over the last couple of years I’ve started going to more gym classes so, while this is not a bad thing, it’s meant less outside time. And I love outside time! What are the benefits of being outside..
- You will experience a great sense of well-being. Breathing in fresh air, embracing the space around you, feeling the cold upon your cheek. Even at this time of year getting wrapped up and going out for a walk will give you a boast.
- And you’ll burn some calories! And let’s be honest we’ve probably all had too many of them in the last week or so! For those a little fitter get your running shoes on, on get your bike out and go out and get breathless and feel that cool refreshing air in your lungs. Outdoor workouts are better than indoor ones. For example, running…. Outdoors you are contending with different terrains or you are running against the wind… all better for you than the treadmill!
- Green exercise – or exercise in a natural environment – has been shown to boost self esteem and mood and you’ll get a well needed, at this time of year, boost in vitamin D which is reported to be good for your immune system – Now that’s got to be good!
Get lost in the moment: This one is simple. Just experience what is currently happening to you. The water on your skin in the shower, the air passing into and out of your lungs, the taste of the food in your mouth, the song on the radio….. Do any of these things, or any others, to the exclusion of other thoughts and distractions. The benefits of simply taking some time out to be mindful of a particular thing will reap benefits. Before you know where you are at you might find yourself wanting to try meditation! You never know!
Get myself (more!) organised: Being organised gives you a great sense of control and fuels your well being. As I’m fond of saying – if you don’t control it then it will control you. Try applying the two minute rule or grab a copy of David Allen’s book ‘Getting Things Done’. I’m going to blog about this more (as well as the other things in this list very soon) so ‘stay tuned’ for that. I can tell you, hand on heart, at work and at home my life is so much better for getting myself organised. I can do it better though, especially at home, to make sure I make the most productive use of the time I have. For me time is the most precious commodity we have and we waste it at our peril.
Drink more water: This one should be easy to do surely! How hard can it be to go to the tap and fill a glass up and just drink it! I know!! So why don’t I do it! I even have my phone remind me to drink water every few hours and still I don’t drink enough! Water is refreshing, calorie free, and it’s absolutely crucial for you body to function effectively. So come on! Flush those kidneys and feel great. More on this soon. But for now try this
Drink (a little) less coffee and alcohol: I don’t know how this one is going to go for me! I love coffee! And I do like the odd tipple on an evening. I read somewhere drinking coffee borrows time from later in the day…. You will crash later and be less productive. And drinking alcohol borrows time from tomorrow as it will affect your sleep and therefore your feeling of well being the next day.
Read for 15 minutes a day: Knowledge is life improving, how could it not be! Reading for 15 minutes a day at an average speed of a page a minute will get you through a 300 page book in 20 days. That will get you through at least 15 books a year. Not a bad start to enhancing your knowledge! And I bet if you get the habit you’ll read more! Add the next thing on the list in and you’ll be amassing information at a fair rate of knots!
Get into (more) audio books: I said earlier that, for me, time is the most precious of commodities and I want to put as much of it as I can to good use. It takes me 40 minutes to drive to work and the same to get back home. That’s an hour and a half a day. Sometimes I listen to music – that’s a good thing. Sometimes I listen to the news on Radio 4….. but now mostly I listen to audio books and they are great! I get mine through Audible. I pay £7.99 a month and this gets me one credit that I can use to buy any book. They download to my iphone and play through the car stereo seamlessly! The books are anything from 4 to 7 hours long and one lasts me through most of the month when interspersed with other things…. And that’s another 12 books in a year… done! Sorted!
Set small achievable goals: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Several books I’ve read talk about setting achievable goals and some of the models I talk about in some lectures show that breaking down big tasks into smaller steps achieve progression better than big steps. Problems or projects seem daunting when you just think of the end goal. But if you think of the many small steps and tackle them one at a time you stand more chance of achieving success! My goal for this year is weight loss – more about the steps I’m taking later. I’m currently reading Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise where he talks about setting himself the target of doing one sit up a day… that was all! Just one! And he explores where that got him! Worth a read!
Sit quietly from time to time: This is a bit like ‘getting lost in a moment’ but slightly different. Getting lost in a moment can be about getting engrossed in an activity. But sometimes we need to just sit quietly. It could be, but doesn’t need to be, meditation. It could be sitting quietly while clearing your mind, but, for me, more than this, sitting quietly can be a time for you to think things though in a calm, focussed way. In the rushing about of modern life our responses are, dare I say, reactionary rather than well thought through often. I’m going to sit and experience time just passing in a quiet state from time to time, maybe first thing on a morning…. Now that’s good use of time!
Once a month – mix it up: Don’t get into a rut. Do all the things above and keep mixing it up. Been out running a lot this month? Then next month go out walking! Been spending quiet time on a morning? Then, for the next month do it on your lunch break… you get the idea. From an exercise point of view your body gets used to what you ask it to do so mixing it up challenges it to ‘re-think’. As for your mind, giving yourself space at different times, or ‘being in the moment’ of different experiences will help you understand yourself and what works for you and what will, hopefully, lead you to a greater sense of well-being, and a greater sense of inner-peace.
I’m going to try all of these things and I’ll let you know how I get on.
Let me know what you get up to!