24 | 🌴 Picking the low-hanging fruit of self-improvement
There's a million and one things to focus on when trying to become happier and healthier. It's much easier to zoom out and focus on the lowest hanging fruit.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to improve this thing we call life.
The majority of these ways can fit into the following areas:
Diet - calories, getting the right amount of nutrients, hydration
Lifestyle - creative pursuits, hobbies, socialising
Physical - exercise, (enough) rest
Sleep - 7-9 quality hours per night
Avoiding INHIBITORS - (too much) alcohol, stress, lack of sleep
Clearly, there's a lot to focus on, and there's two ways of looking at this.
The more positive view is that there's plenty of areas to change and improve, which is great. Lots of areas = lots of opportunity.
Whereas the other point of view worries about where to actually begin. I'm certainly the latter.
Where to begin?
Joe Delaney (fitness pro) gives a bit of insight on the matter.
Let's say you're currently at 50% of your peak happiness and healthiness in life, and you're looking to reach 100%.
The remaining 50% will be achieved through changes to specific aspects of the above 5 areas - diet, lifestyle, physical, sleep, and by avoiding certain inhibitors.
Pareto's 80/20 rule tells us that the vast majority of this potential 50% will be taken up by just a few key aspects.
Life's short. So it makes sense to pick the lowest hanging fruit first.
In which case, it should be fairly easy to identify 3 things that will make up the vast majority of that potential 50%.
For me, they are:
Increasing amount and quality of sleep - my quality of sleep is usually low as I spend a lot of time awake at night according to my FitBit. This means that to reach 7 hours of good quality sleep, I need to be in bed 'asleep' for 8.5 hours (the awake moments are brief so I don't remember them). Going to bed slightly earlier isn't a huge challenge, and sleep affects every part of life, so this is a no-brainer.
Working on my fitness and shape - I'm working towards improving my strength and getting into better shape, which naturally will increase body confidence, ability and recovery.
Reducing alcohol intake / frequency - as I've written previously, alcohol decreases my quality of sleep, lowers my energy levels, makes me miss things (e.g. getting up early, exercising), costs a lot and contains a lot of excess calories. To me, this is another no-brainer to focus on.
I think this is a great exercise that forces you to look at your life from a different viewpoint.
It's overwhelming to try to make improvements to all aspects of life. Zooming out and focusing on the more obvious ones can be really helpful.
This way, it's easier to identify largest contributors - and potentially those that are relatively simple, too.
Aside from my examples of sleep, body composition and alcohol intake, here's some more examples of low hanging fruit:
Removing negative relationships (and nurturing good ones)
Cutting back on unhealthy habits - smoking, overeating, worrying too much
Improving healthy eating - takeaways, too much processed food
Exercising more - (easy to more effort) daily walks, yoga, running, sports, lifting 3x per week
Gaining hobbies - weekly sports, baking, cinema, creative e.g. writing
Improving financial habits (plenty of useful advice on YouTube and in books, including the excellent Money by Laura Whateley)
Like most of us, I'm no expert, but these seem like great places to start.
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How am I 1% better this week? 📈
I'm back into the gym, and already I feel great. I've been running for a while, but with 2 broken toes, I'm forced to focus on training at the gym instead - and it's a nice change!
(But I can't wait to get running again 🏃🏻♂️)
This Week’s Recommendation 🔝
Airpods Pro 🔉 - I bought these about 2 months ago after using Airpods for a while and they are so much better.
They sound better, they seem to last longer, and noise cancellation can be a godsend. It's worth looking at Amazon Warehouse deals for a bit of money off - usually the case has a small scratch and you can save 10-20%.
This Week I’m: ⬇️
Reading 📚 - You know that feeling when you can't put a book down and it stops you from going to sleep at night? I've read some bangers this year but War Doctor - David Nott might just top the lot
Listening to 🎧 - I've just bought the audio book of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins which looks like an absolute banger. It's about a mother and son fleeing from a Mexican cartel boss to America. Hopefully this will fill the Narcos shaped hole in my life.
Learning 🤔 - how to use social media more effectively (less celebrities and clothes, more life advice and interesting topics)
Visiting 🇪🇸 - Ibiza tomorrow!
Planning 🏋🏻 - The perfect gym routine - covers all bases, but takes 45mins or less. Not quite there yet.
This Week’s Quote 💬
Compete with yourself, not with others. There will always be someone with more.