I challenge you to take control of your life in 2020. I challenge you to go further, work harder, and strive higher than you ever have before. Don’t just want more, be more. Stop wasting time, stop lying to yourself, stop the BS.
If you know you need to change, if you know you need help and direction but don’t know where to begin, let me give you a few suggestions. Most people don’t need dramatic change they just need to make a few adjustments. A few basic steps can pay big dividends. Just like my Marine Corps Bootcamp in 1996 was about more than just exercise. Your New Year’s resolutions need to be about more than just workouts.
Stop talking about it and start doing. Momentum is your ally whenever you begin something new. It’s easier to keep a thing moving than it is to get something moving. If you’re starting a fitness program start easy and small. Instead of “I’m going to run a 5K in 8 weeks.” Begin with I’m going to go for at least a 10 minute walk everyday. Just get up and head out the door and start walking.
Instead of committing to Keto/Paleo/IIFYM/Zone, or whatever diet you’re considering commit to stop eating so much sugar. Sugar is everywhere and in just about anything you buy at the store that’s in a box or wrapped in plastic. Focus on 2 things when you shop for food. First stay on the perimeter of the store. This is usually where they keep the single ingredient or fresh foods. The other thing, look for foods you actually have to cook. If it’s meant to be microwaved then it’s probably full of preservatives and other hidden ingredients. if it can spoil in 3-4 days then it’s probably real food.
Stay out of Costco and only shop for 2-3 days at a time. If you suffer from food addiction then it’s imperative that you keep stockpiles of food out of your house as much as possible. You can’t graze if there’s nothing to graze on. Likewise if the only food you keep in your fridge requires prep and cooking you’re less likely to snack. Plan your meals. It’s easier to eat and buy healthy if you have a plan and meals in mind before you ever go into the store. There are thousands of books available online filled with healthy meals and eating plans. Get one and cook your way through it. If you can’t cook, sign up for a meal delivery service like HelloFresh, Blue Apron, or Home Chef after 6 months, you’ll know how to cook.
Turn off the TV and pick up a real book. Our digital lives are rotting our brains and making us dumber. We are becoming mentally lazy. We want knowledge and wisdom without learning. You need to read more and exercise your intelligence and also your vocabulary. We all like to laugh and poke fun at the stupidity we see on Instagram, guess what, we’re just as stupid for watching it. All these devices that make our modern lives possible were built by intelligent book reading people, it’s a fact. Added to this all these screens, our phones, our laptops, our TV’s, are flooding our eyes with blue light that’s disrupting our natural sleep patterns. We evolved to wake and sleep with the rising and setting of the sun. All this False daylight is screwing up our sleep and hormones.
Get a higher quality of sleep. This is related to the paragraph above. Your bedroom is for sleeping and sex. Try to keep any electronic device or screen out of it. Keep it dark and as quiet as possible. If you can’t sleep and want to read get up and do it in your living room. Laying in bed for hours every night reading or playing with your phone is only training your body to NOT sleep in bed. It’s not about the time you spend in bed but the amount of deep restorative sleep you’re getting. A normal sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes to 3 hours. You need 2-3 of these a night. If you’re not dreaming, you’re not sleeping good. There are telltale signs of poor sleep. Getting up in the middle of the night to pee or waking up with a dry mouth are indications of poor sleep.
Drink more water, less caffeine, and no more soft drinks. Most of us are mildly dehydrated and sugary beverages are not helping. Even diet drinks are still filled with chemicals that actually increase appetite. Not to mention the acid in them is eroding your teeth. Then there’s the caffeine. I am a coffee/caffeine junkie. Here’s the problem, I drink so much of it that it no longer gives me a buzz. I have tweaked my adrenal system up so bad that when I take any kind of pre-workout supplement I actually get drowsy because my system is so out of whack. Caffeine is a drug, a powerful stimulant. Most of us are addicted. It’s something that concerns me and I feel I need to address in my own life. If you’re very active or live in warm climates, 100-128 ounces or water should be your goal. Generally you should need to pee about once every hour, and you’re urine should be slightly tinged with yellow. Caution it is actually possible to OD on water. Too much and your sodium and potassium levels get diluted to a dangerous level. Start with a half gallon a day or 64 ounces and build from there. If water is all you’re drinking (it should be!) then your thirst is a great tool for determining water need.
It’s all on you. If I could only share one piece of advice for 2020, it’s this; you are responsible for helping yourself. I can give you great advice. You can pay a coach to help you. You can buy pre-made meals. You can read self-help books. You can follow motivating personalities. None of this will matter if you are not willing to do the work. Change is a process. It’s a daily struggle. A lot of daily struggles that accumulate over months or even years in order to achieve a goal. If you do nothing else in 2020, but accept that your life is your responsibility then you’re ahead of the majority of the population.