In the fitness world, a lot of information is passed along from professional to professional. Sometimes, we’ll take our knowledge, combine it with our experiences and observations, and extrapolate somewhat unique ideas.
And sometimes, we straight up steal.
Here, I present to you three bits of advice that I’ve taken directly from other people.*
We talk a lot about perspective here. And while the following advice doesn't seem to pertain to health and fitness, it does very much apply to overall perspective (which can directly affect both your decision-making and your stress levels).
*There is no telling how far back the rabbit hole of “...who stole it from...” goes on some of these. But I’ll give credit so far as I am able.
The Left-Hand Challenge
Stolen from: Jason Seib (who stole it from Robert Biswas-Diener
The main idea: for one week, whenever you come across a task that can be done with one hand, do it with your non-dominant hand.
This is a very interesting exercise in my opinion. In the video wherein Jason outlines the challenge, he discusses how making the conscious decision to use your non-dominant hand forces you to focus and be “in the moment” rather than simply letting your mind wander. Much like meditation, the exercise is the focusing on the here and now.
But what good does that do?
Willpower is a finite resource, as we’ve discussed. In order to maximize your day’s willpower, you have two strategies at your disposal: either increase your capacity for it; or stretch it further by finding ways to not have to use it.
Exercises like this one are effective at increasing your capacity for willpower by tuning your brain to making decisions rationally rather than emotionally. Through several small, conscious decisions to make the decidedly more difficult choice, you are practicing taking a step back, analyzing your options, and make a sound decision instead of acting on impulse.
I highly encourage you to both watch the video (it’s only about 4 minutes long) and to give the challenge a try.
The Jar of Awesome
Stolen from: Tim Ferriss (who stole it from an ex-girlfriend)
The main idea: whenever something awesome happens, you write it on a slip of paper and toss it into a designated jar.
I have yet to implement this exercise, but I’m very excited to. It sounds a little cheesy, but the idea is solid.
In a world where constant stress, fear, hate speech, violence, and outrage seem to be holding sway, it’s becoming increasingly more easy to be consumed by negativity. And anyone who’s experienced it knows, negativity doesn’t sit idly by in compartmentalized little box.
Negativity spreads, not just from person to person but throughout seemingly unrelated aspects of your life.
The thing that we all seem to be forgetting nowadays, though, is that so does positivity.
The Jar of Awesome helps us remember those positive things. When it starts to seem like everything just kind of sucks, it’s valuable to have a concrete way to remind yourself that it actually doesn’t.
When you’re feeling down or defeated, simply walk over to your jar, open up a slip of paper, and remember just how cute it is that your cat greets you at the door every day after work.
Having a Solid Morning Routine
Stolen from: Pat Flynn (who, I think, stole it from Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning)
The main idea: a solid morning routine will help you both start the day with some easy wins and save your willpower for later on.
How your day begins can have a huge impact on how the rest of your day goes. Even the old cliche that someone “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” implies that their mood originated at the beginning of the day.
Having a solid routine in the morning—an unchanging, set-in-stone routine—preempts any negative outcomes and starts you off with some easy wins. Making the bed, shaving, getting out the door on time, etc... They all amount to one thing: accomplishment.
And beginning your day already accomplished is a pretty good way to start.
Relating back to the first tip above, removing choice is an easy way to save your willpower for when it’s really needed. When you have no decisions to make, it requires no willpower to take action. “What should I wear?” becomes “this is my outfit for today.” Boom! Done.
(Of course, the decision of what to wear and what to pack for lunch will have to be made, but the point is to make those decisions at a different time so you can start your day the right way.)
What about you? What advice do you have that you’ve unashamedly stolen from someone else? Share below!