Inspiration to action – Make a change

IMG_1566It is very easy to be inspired. Taking action is the hard bit. There are lots of blogs, podcasts, Instagram posts and You Tube videos of people doing great things and making changes to their lives.

Every morning I am inspired to do lots of things with my day. One example is my meditation practice. Lots of content I read and listen to says that daily meditation has many positive benefits. I have tried to create a meditation practice for going on a year or so, but haven’t been able to be consistent. I will do 3 days in a row, then I will have to be early at work or something similar and I miss a day, then I miss another day and before I know it a week has gone by without meditating.

One thing that I was inspired to do and took action on was losing weight and getting fit. I used to be pretty lazy exercise wise. The food I ate was carb and meat heavy and there was plenty of socialising at the local watering holes. In this instant I did take some action and I have seen the benefits. Since then lots of friends and family have asked me how I did it and what I changed. Though it was a concise decision, I did not really do one thing. It was combination of things.

On Episode 199 of the Rich Roll podcast, Michael Greger (Doctor, Author and nutritionfacts.org website curator). Rich asked Michael what someone can do who is looking to make a few changes to live a healthier life. He gave a very simple answer that has stayed with me and resonates with the changes that I made. This is also the answer I give to people. His answer was –

  1. Move more
  2. Eat more green things
  3. Drink more water
  4. Get more better quality sleep

I think this is a good little mantra. There are only 4 simple things to remember to help make a change. It is taking this inspiration and applying some actions to it that can be the troublesome part. There are a huge number of things you can do to achieve these 4 things. Below are some ideas to get you started on how you can incorporate them into your life.

  1. Move more 
Take a walk along a beach!
Take a walk along a beach!

One way to move more would be to incorporate more walking into your day.

  • Take a walk at lunchtime.
  • If you take the bus, get off a stop earlier and walk home.
  • Seriously, think about how you get to work. If you are in a city. Can you walk part of the journey to your office? In London, you will be surprised how close tube stops are to each other and how little time it takes to walk between them. Take a look at the walking tube map.
  • Do you need to catch the work shuttle bus, or would the 20 minute walk be of benefit.
  • Have you thought about getting a fitness tracer or a pedometer? My girlfriend did a company challenge to walk 10,000 steps a day that she tracked with a pedometer. We would end up taking impromptu walks at 10pm so she could hit her target and maintain her average.
  1. Eat more green things (can include vegetables of other colours)
Eat your greens!
Eat your greens!

For me this has become a habit. During the week, my girlfriend and I eat vegetarian. Because of this, when I do go to the supermarket, I no longer even think about going to the meat aisle.

  • Have a green smoothie in the morning. This should have a good proportion of vegetables in it. Kale, spinach, celery, carrot (ok, carrots are orange but the point stands).
  • Add extra vegetables to your dishes. Stir in spinach to a dish just before you serve it. Chop up a courgette and add it to your spaghetti bolognaise or chilli.
  • Make vegetable casserole instead of a beef one. Here is a link to an excellent recipe on the BBC Good Food page.
  • Have a side salad with your meal.
  • Make your own coleslaw. This is a great way to eat raw vegetables. See my post on how to make it. It uses minimal amounts of mayonnaise and it is amazing!
  1. Drink more water
The human body is 60% water!
The human body is 60% water!

This really involves just drinking more water.

  • Make a habit of drinking a glass of water in the morning, before or with meals.
  • Carry a bottle of water with you at all times.

There will be more information on how I am getting on with the challenge of drinking more water in an upcoming post.

  1. Get more better quality sleep
Read a book before going to sleep!
Read a book before going to sleep!

There is the modern day conundrum that we are now super busy all the time. Before you know it, its 11:30pm and you have not even started getting ready for bed and then it is past midnight before your head actually hits the pillow. There are many ways you can work on improving your sleep, but below are a few things I have found that help.

  • Set an alarm on your phone to tell you to start getting ready/go to bed.
  • Put your phone down. Do not take it to bed and read emails or look at social media. The phone emits blue light that stimulates your brain to think it should be awake. If you do use your phone as an alarm clock, put your phone on flight mode (the alarm will still go off).
  • Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Keep it clean and tidy and a pleasurable place to retire to bed.
  • Read a book before you go to sleep.
  • Make a list of things you need to do or remember for tomorrow. You can then forget about them and not lay awake worrying about them and trying to remember them.

You do not need to be perfect. If you miss a day or do not do something one day, do not beat yourself up about it. Just note what went wrong, how you can fix it for next time, move on and try again. Small changes done consistently over a period of time can have dramatic results. It will not happen overnight, but taking action is the first step.

Set yourself an achievable target/challenge. You don’t have to do all 4 at once. Just do one this week. Do not wait to start on Monday either. It is completely fine to start on a Thursday!

So take that inspiration (wherever it comes from), put it into action and do it daily – you never know where it may end up taking you!

Let me know how you are getting on with your changes by leaving a comment below.

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