Depending on how you view life, you can think about getting better or sucking less. Most of the time, I go with the ‘get better’ side of things, and think about how people can improve their life on a daily basis. Sure, there are the big milestones that people want to accomplish, but you’ll never get there if you don’t take care of the little things. These little things add up, and I’m going to spend some posts focusing on the basics that we tend to forget about in this fast-paced, instant gratification society. Let’s start with three things you should be doing every day, shall we? They’ll help you improve the quality of your life, or help it suck less, depending on your mind set. Regardless, you’re going to feel better when you try them out. Who’s this for? It’s for you!
You should learn every day. This could be from a lecture, a book, a documentary, a podcast, articles…you get my point. It could relate to your profession, to your hobbies and passions, or just out of curiosity for knowledge. As an example, I put on Charlie Weingroff’s DVD at 8am this morning to re-watch and relearn some of the material. Last night I spent 3 hours reading old articles from Alwyn Cosgrove and Mike Boyle on T-Nation. (I’m between summer sessions at school right now, so I’ve got the extra time to invest.) During my busier days, I use podcasts when I’m driving to get in some extra exercise related material. Outside of exercise, I’ll use the Stuff You Should Know and Freakonomics podcasts to gather information, and read the New York Times when I get a chance to. (Their app for Android is fabulous!) If you really want to get nerdy, check out the iTunesU library. It’s full of audio that’s recorded lectures from classes, discussions from academic authorities, and the musings of professors around the world. I just downloaded Alice in Wonderland from the University of South Florida, and Oxford University has an 8 lecture series about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s all free, and it’s awesomely nerdy. That’s a good combo, don’t you think?
Your brain thrives on learning. It helps you stay sharp, stress free, and you’ll get smarter every day. You really can’t beat it, and most young people don’t think about it, but there’s a reason why your grandma and grandpa play soduko and crossword puzzles every day. Don’t wait till your their age to focus on your memory; learn every day.
Sweating is good for you. If you have some sort of “I don’t like to sweat” complex, then the problem is in your head, because your body still wants to sweat. Try to do it every day, will ya? If you can make it happen every day, then honestly I don’t care how it happens, just that it is happening. Maybe one day you’re strength training, the next time taking a spin class, the third day you go for a walk with your boyfriend or girlfriend, the 4th day playing beach volleyball. In my case, yesterday was an ‘off’ day from going to the gym for me, but after playing drumset for an hour I was a sweaty mess. I finished it with about 15 minutes of TRX Facepulls and a lunge matrix, because my hips and chest were tight from that seated position. Few people would count playing drums as exercise, and I don’t, but sweating while doing something that I love was certainly beneficial for me.
You don’t need to spend 2 hours a day, 7 days a week in the gym. Just try to move on a regular basis. Preferably you’re moving around more than once a day, but let’s go with ‘sweating’ once a day. It’s not that difficult, but you’ll beat stress, improve your health, and look better as well. As physically beneficial exercise is, I’m considering the psychological benefits that regular exercise offers. You’ll improve self-efficacy, confidence, and you’ll contribute to an I-can-do-anything internal locus on control.
Walk the dog. Deadlift. Play at the beach. Do kettlebell swings. Push your kids on a swing. Bang out some pushups. Play soccer with your younger cousin. Right now’s a good time for body weight rows. Go to the batting cages. Or the driving range. Sprint up a hill. Play tennis. Go to Zum…nah, I won’t go that far. If you want to feel better and improve the quality of your life; sweat every day.
You should love every day. It could be as complex as waking up and smiling at the sun, or as simple as falling in love with someone. The majority of your time should be spent with people you love, doing something that you love. If you wake up every morning and say ‘Now I’m going to work’, then I’m sorry. It shouldn’t feel like work; you should be getting paid to do what you love. I’m fortunate enough that I love going to school, and I get to do what I love on a daily basis. I love educating and helping people figure out what the best choices for them are. I have an amazing girlfriend who just got a job that she loves, and in a little while we’re both going to the gym, which we both love. She also got me the DVD that’s in right now, so the three things on this list are taken care of for us today!
Focus on loving more. It could be loving your family more, or loving yourself more. Without philosophizing too much, I think loving yourself more will help you love those around your more, and is a more worthy pursuit. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of those around you, and when you take care of those around you, do it to the best of your abilities.
I’m not a huge fan of the Beatles, but All You Need is Love is definitely one of my favorite songs. I’ll leave you with it for today, and hope that you can learn more, sweat more, and love more. Take care of the little things and the big things will come your way.