Want more energy, more fun and to get more accomplished in your life on a daily basis? Here’s how to tweak your day so that you get the most out of it. You can apply one change or all four. These small lifestyle changes have the ability to shake up your life for the better.
1. Rise 15 minutes earlier than normal every day. You’ve heard this before, I’m sure, but are you doing it? This small change can make a huge difference.
When you rise earlier, you have time to write, clean, do yoga, smell the flowers, fit in some exercise or read. The choices are endless.
Mary Kay Ash said that if you were to get up at 5 a.m. three days a week, you would gain an extra day. She also said that by rising early, you’ve already finished half a day’s work by the time others are getting out of bed.
You may not feel the need to outperform everyone. Take some time to be creative, have a leisurely breakfast or bath, enjoy some peace, quiet and the beauty of the rising sun.
You’ll be in good company as successful people are usually early risers.
What do you need to motivate yourself? Enthusiasm, a goal and some accountability (to yourself or someone else) will help to get you going.
2. Build some fun into your day early on. Take time to read a book, do some photography, play with your pets, practice playing a musical instrument or dance around your living room.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it’s enjoyable. Schedule fun time into your calendar. Generally, I like to read a chapter of a good book after every meal.
You can spend 15 minutes or an hour. In the afternoon, take time for more fun. Meet a friend for tea or take a lovely walk. Don’t put off taking time for fun. When you schedule it every day, you’ll feel noticeably happier by week’s end.
3. Take a nap. You might think taking a quick 15-minute refresher is a good idea. A better idea is to take a full hour nap. Yep — like many Europeans do. They close down their shops, and take a nice, long siesta.
According to a study I read about recently, napping in the afternoon is good for the brain.
Researchers from John Hopkins and two other American universities claim that in their study, those who napped for an hour did considerably better on tests than those taking shorter or extended naps.
Not only did the non-nappers have poorer cognition, they experienced the same decline in mental abilities that a five-year increase in age would be expected to produce.
Another study indicated that napping offers cardiovascular benefits and still another study concluded that after a concentrated period of learning, taking a short nap played an important role in the ability to recall information.
4. Do 100 moves. Okay, 50. Whatever you do, find some way to move.
You might rise out of your seat to a standing position 100 times, take short walks sprinkled throughout the day counting 100 steps. Climb stairs 100 times? Leg lifts, 100 times? 100 squats?
Try doing a combination of moves involving standing, jumping or walking. Set a goal. 100. Or 50. Just be sure to move throughout the day.
Personally, my current 100 moves involve lying first on my right side with legs outstretched. I lift the top leg and hold it about a foot above my other leg and then bring the lower leg up to meet it. Up and down 100 times. Then I switch legs.
By far my favorite routine is to set my egg timer to go off every 15 minutes. When it goes off, I stand up unaided (no hands) and move a little (bend, stretch, do a lunge or two) then reset my clock. The idea is to move.
You may think you’re fit. You may be exercising daily. But if you’re spending extended time sitting, it’s harmful to your health. It can lead to chronic diseases and to being overweight.
I converted my desk to a standing desk (still working to improve it). If you have a desk job or you watch a lot of TV, you can perform daily movement throughout the day by bending, reaching, rising, standing, stretching and lifting.
Instead of 100 somethings, you might want to work in 20 minute increments – sit for 20, stand for 20 and work in some other movements.
The key is to challenge yourself to find a variety of physical activity you can perform throughout the day. Get some blood circulating through your muscles.
Now if you were to implement one or all four of my suggestions on a daily basis, you would shake up your life for the better!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle