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5 Tips to Improve Your Health

5 Tips to Improve Your Health

We want to live a long life, stay healthy and be able to take good care of ourselves and those we hold dear. We cannot change some pre-existing risk factors, but we can all make choices that support our health and greatly reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, many cancers, and Type II diabetes.

Five steps to a healthier you:

1. Avoid smoking

Tobacco consumption and exposure to second-hand smoke are important causes of premature death from heart and lung disease, myocardial infarction and cancer.

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If you smoke, you can put a stop to it. It’s never too late to do so, however long you’ve been smoking or how many times you’ve tried to quit smoking. When you stop smoking, the risk of heart disease decreases rapidly. After a few years, your risk is almost as low as if you had never smoked. Ask your doctor about methods to quit smoking.

If you do not smoke, do not start. Everyone should avoid exposing themselves to second-hand smoke, which may have the same health risks as smoking. It is particularly important for children and people with asthma and respiratory problems to live in a smoke-free environment.

2. Eat well to be healthy

A good diet helps you stay in shape, feel good and control your weight. A good diet also protects against disease, stroke, cancer and other serious diseases.

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Here are some tips from Canada’s Food Guide:

  • Eat small portions of lean meat, fish or poultry and remove visible fat.
  • Plan your meals from vegetables, fruits, and cereals, e.g., rice, pasta, bread, and cereals. Choose whole grain foods, e.g., whole wheat bread, brown rice, and cereals. Eat also some portions of green and yellow vegetables, fruit, and vegetables every day.
  • Choose milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese with low-fat (1% or 2% butter fat or skimmed products).
  • Reduce the amount of fats like butter, oil, and margarine. Prepare your foods using less fat as possible.
  • Limit salt, alcohol, and caffeine. Prepared foods contain large amounts of salt. Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks a day raises blood pressure, which is a serious risk of heart disease and stroke. Your alcohol consumption should be limited to a maximum of two drinks per day, and coffee to four cups. Women trying to become pregnant or are lactating should avoid drinking alcohol. Consume moderate amounts of beverages containing caffeine, including coffee, tea, and colas.

3. Incorporate physical activity into your life

Want to protect your health, achieve or maintain a healthy weight, have more energy, and less stress? You can achieve this through regular physical activity. Exercise helps your heart, lungs, and blood vessels function better while reducing your cholesterol and blood pressure. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Walk through your neighborhood on your way to a shopping spree. Get up from your chair every hour to stretch your muscles and do a few squats.

Do exercise you enjoy. You can start by doing a good walk. Swimming, skating, cycling, and dancing are stimulating activities.

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Anything that increases your heart rate can be considered exercise. Start slowly and combine activities that enhance strength, flexibility, and endurance. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day as often as possible during the week.

4. Know your blood pressure

Are you in great shape? Unfortunately, you may suffer from hypertension without knowing it because there are no obvious symptoms. Men and women of all ages in all sectors may be affected. Stressed people may have normal blood pressure, and calm people may be suffering from hypertension. The only way to verify this is to get your blood pressure checked by a health professional.

Hypertension is a serious health disorder that can cause heart disease and a heart attack. Hypertension can be corrected, however. If your blood pressure is high, please follow the recommendations of your doctor.

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Here are some general tips that will also help your blood pressure:

  • Periodically check your blood pressure
  • Quit smoking
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol or cease to consume
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat less salt

5. Relax and enjoy life

Sometimes, we go too hard on ourselves. Learn to relax and have fun, take the time to do fun activities and enjoy the company of friends and family members. Manage your time more efficiently and learn to maximize it to the fullest; simple exercises, meditation and deep breathing can help calm the mind.

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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