5 Simple & Smart Goals To Live Your Best Life
Enticing headline, right? I have received these 5 nuggets of advice so many times and have since parlayed the same over and over again to mentees…I figured it was worth memorializing them in a post.
Full-disclosure, there is nothing groundbreaking here. These are loosely prioritized based on what I think is most important. Meaning each builds on the next. I recommend starting at the top.
For example, if you’re not sleeping, then by all means don’t bother turning off your devices. I relate too much with the need to do “something” when you can’t sleep. And the vicious cycle begins…
The good news is that every day is a new day and a new chance to reset.
1. Sleep No Less
There is no shame in sleep. I feel like the idea of sleep has gotten a bad rap in certain professional circles, especially when we read about successful execs who manage 4-5 hours a night. Or when co-workers humble brag about how little they get away with. As if they were productive during the balance.
Let’s face it: nobody wants to work for or with somebody who is tried (and daresay cranky) all the time. So sleep!
Invest in whatever it takes to get it done…memory foam, sleep masks, humidifiers, aromatherapy, melatonin, etc. For more ideas, check out sleeplikethedead.com.
I am also a fan of the Sleep Cycle app which tracks my sleep pattern and wakes me up during “light sleep”. Truth be told, when I can, I avoid using an alarm clock altogether. It’s very liberating.
2. Drink More Water
We know to drink liquids when we’re feeling ill to flush the system. But it’s even more important as a preventative measure. Everything in your body needs water to function. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the brain and heart are over 70% water.
So next time you’re not thinking clearly, grab some clear stuff.
Right after waking up, get in the practice of drinking one glass of room temperature water before anything else. This fires up your metabolism, flushes out toxins, and – for those weight watchers out there – makes you less hungry. Most of the time when we feel hungry, we are actually thirsty.
Finally, a secret that I learned from a Chinese herbalist: if your lips feel dry throughout the day, drink water. It’s one of the first signs of dehydration.
3. Eat Breakfast
Just eat something. Anything. Why? After sleeping (see #1), a morning meal energizes your body and minimizes cravings. Research also shows eating breakfast decreases heart risk.
When I don’t feel like a big breakfast, I’ll at least pull together a piece of toast and jam. Other quick and easy ideas:
- Smoothies – try to buy organic or make your own with your favorite frozen fruit, yogurt, and orange (or lime) juice for acidity. Add bananas for more creaminess.
- Apple slices, peanut butter, and a hard-boiled egg – you’ve seen it Starbucks, so save some pennies and pack it yourself.
- Overnight oats
- 5-ingedient Granola Bars
4. Walk, Walk, Walk
None of us get enough exercise. I’m sure even athletes feel like they could have done more, especially on game day. My best advice here as a fellow procrastinator is to build more movement into your everyday life:
- Park in the back of the parking lot
- Keep a set of walking shoes at work
- Start a walking challenge in the office for early morning jaunts
- If it takes less than an hour to walk where you need to go, walk
- Dog sit for a friend to force you to walk more (then ask yourself: what would it take to take yourself for walks more?)
5. Turn Off Devices an Hour Before You Go To Sleep
You know the research on the effects of blue light. Now it’s time to honor it. Let the bedroom be a device free zone. If that sounds too difficult, try limiting yourself to the Kindle Paperwhite.
Just take it one day at a time. It takes time and small tastes of success to build a new habit.
The best part is these are all things you know how to do. You don’t need to take a class or talk to a mentor (although we are here for you). I am a firm believer that the best self-care is not something that can be sold to you, but the simple choices you can make every day to take care of yourself.
“A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.”