Written by: Coach James
“Life’s this game of inches. So is football… The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game. Every minute, every second.” – Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino), Any Given Sunday
Happy New Year! Every January 1st, millions of people set drastic resolutions, and although we don’t like to talk about it, it’s likely that many have already given up on them within the first week. We wanted to create a list of small, actionable items that will help you take control of your life and make 2020 be your best year ever! Start small and before you know it, you won’t be a whole new person, you’ll be the best you that you can be.
- Don’t Hit the Snooze Button – If the very first thing you do in the morning is put something off, how do you expect the rest of your day to be all it can be? Set your alarm for when you’d actually like to get out of bed!
- Write Down Three Things You’re Grateful For – These can be people, things, experiences, etc. Taking time to reflect on good things in your life can shift your focus to be more positive over time.
- Spend 5 Minutes in Stillness – Maybe you’re not ready for full-blown meditation, but taking a few minutes for yourself is crucial. This allows you to prepare for or review the day, or just breathe and relax.
- Take a Cold Shower – I know, we all live here in AZ because we hate the cold, but I’m just asking for 20-30 seconds at the end of your shower. In the morning, a cold blast can help lift the fog of sleepiness and make you more alert. In the evening, it can lower your core temperature, which in turn helps you sleep better.
- Drink your Coffee Black – Many of us need a caffeine boost to make it through our day, but most energy drinks are full of chemicals & most coffee drinks are full of empty calories. If you’re looking for an extra boost, grass-fed butter or MCT oil can help slow down absorption of caffeine and is shown to improve mental clarity.
- Chat with Someone You Care About – Make sure important people in your life feel important. Make a phone call. Write a letter. Go on a date. Strong relationships are the #1 indicator of long lifespan and quality of life.
- Listen to an Audiobook or Podcast – Traffic sucks. So does a lot of the garbage you hear on morning talk radio. Use your commute to improve your lift by learning something new or sharpening your mind.
- Make a To-Do List – Not only does it help to organize the important tasks on your calendar, it gives a sense of accomplishment and builds momentum as you cross things off your list.
- Sweat – Get ready for the shameless plug. Adding a fitness routine like CrossFit to your life will undoubtedly move you towards a healthier future. Work hard but choose something you enjoy and are likely to stick with.
- Lift Weights – Lifting weights is the single best thing you can do for your fitness. It can help build strength and mobility, prevent osteoporosis, keep young folks performing well and old folks out of the nursing home. It can build your self-esteem and guard against depression. Is there anything weights can’t do?
- Surround Yourself with a Community – It helps to have a tribe of people that care about you and have similar goals and interests. Not only does it hold you accountable, it also gives you an opportunity to learn from others.
- Spend Less Time on Social Media – I’m not saying delete it, that’s just impractical. But most people who tell us they don’t have an hour to work out or 30 extra minutes to sleep also have 3-4 hours of social media usage a day. Want to see something scary? Go to Settings à Battery à Last 10 Days à Show Activity to see how much time you have spent on each app. It will blow your mind.
- Eat a Vegetable – No, corn doesn’t count. Often, people jump to a trendy or restrictive diet they’re not likely to stick with. Focus on addition, rather than subtraction, and watch yourself spontaneously make better choices. Adding a vegetable to your meals is a great start.
- Chew Your Food – Better yet, put your fork down after every bite. This can help you savor and enjoy your meal and has even been shown to spontaneously reduce calorie intake and limit overeating. Win-win!
- Get Outside – Being in the sun helps to normalize your circadian rhythm which causes you to sleep better, and produces vitamin D, regulating hormones and mood. Start by going for a walk or eating lunch outdoors.
- Smile at a Stranger – Too often, we walk past people like they aren’t even there. It might seem strange at first, but after you get a few positive responses, it’ll start to get a lot easier. Better yet, say hello!
- Move More Throughout the Day – If you have an activity tracker, this one is easy. Look at the average steps you’ve been getting over the last month and add 10%. If you don’t have a wearable device, your iPhone or Android tracks this as well. Movement helps increase blood flow, improve brain function, and burns calories. If you need a boost at the end of the day, go for a walk around the block with a family member or your dog.
- Read for 5 Minutes Before Bed – Preferably on paper. Like a book. Maybe a fiction book. Give yourself a little mental check-out while still staying engaged to something that will spark your curiosity or imagination.
- Go to Bed 15min Earlier – Baby steps. Telling most people they need 8hrs/night will often elicit a laugh or an eye roll. But sleep amount & quality are both extremely important to performance and mental clarity.
- No Screens in the Bedroom – At least 30min before bed, turn off all the distractions. The light from your phones, tablets, and TV’s tricks your body into thinking that it’s time to be awake and disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Consider a fan or a white noise machine if you need to break the silence.
No one can expect 100% adherence to these ideas, but making a conscious effort to be a little better than yesterday is an excellent way to improve the quality of your life and those around you. Those inches add up, and although each little piece doesn’t seem that massive, the inertia built from these habits can completely change your life for the better.