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Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body In Winter

Why You Should Start Working On Your Summer Body In Winter

Summer is still months away, which means many of you haven’t begun thinking about your summer body yet. But if you’re the kind of person who realizes every April that you have mere weeks before beach season hits, and then hit the gym in a desperate flurry of cardio and weightlifting to drop those love handles before you break out the bikini, then it may be time to consider a new tactic.

A short, month-long burst of exercise and portion control will not transform your body, and if you have loftier goals than losing an easy five to ten pounds, then you’re going to need much more time to get the results you want. Fitness is developed through lifestyle changes, not short challenges or temporary diets and fitness regimes. If you want to get that rocking summer body, you need to get started several months in advance. You need to start in winter.

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Cold weather helps you lose weight faster

The colder weather may encourage bundling up instead of swimsuit season, but it turns out cold weather encourages your body’s fat burning ability to kick into gear. The chilly temperatures force your body to expend more energy to preserve your body’s internal temperature, which means your body is burning through more calories just to stay warm in the winter.

Your body has white and brown fat tissue. The two have different purposes; white tissue is stored energy, and it’s the fat you accumulate from consuming excessive calories. Brown fat tissue, on the other hand, functions more like muscle and actively burns white tissue. It’s found more prominently in babies than adults, but as an adult you still have some brown fat in your body. The cold weather encourages brown fat to kick into gear and start burning white fat tissue.

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Temperatures don’t have to be very low to activate brown tissue. Even a brisk 66 degrees can produce significant fat-burning activity, which means exercising outside in the winter, even for the friendlier climates, can help your fat-burning goals more than hot weather.

Exercise can beat the winter blues

Colder weather is likely to bring about the winter blues. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a common diagnosis around this time, a depressive episode caused by gloomy days and a lack of sunlight. However, exercise has mood-boosting properties that can ward off the negative vibe that winter may bring you. Exercise releases endorphins that help give you a short-term mood boost, but it also helps stabilize your mood long-term, making it a natural antidepressant that’s beneficial to your mental and physical health.

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Rather than letting winter get the best of you, start a regular fitness regime that can help you sort through emotional stress and struggles in the coldest time of the year. It will also help your immune system and cravings for food, making it helpful to keep you healthy and keep your portions and meals controlled and balanced.

Weight loss is a long-term commitment

The most important reason to get started on your summer body in winter is because quick weight loss is notoriously temporary. Just like your bikini wax or that fancy laser hair removal you got, you will have to continue to maintain your body in the months ahead. A regular, gentle introduction to a fitness regime and new diet can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, generally accepted as the most reasonable and realistic amount of weight you can lose without resorting to unhealthy habits or dropping weight that will come right back as soon as you slack off.

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Most people regain the weight they lose, regardless of how they lose it, but those who adopted a gradual lifestyle change versus a sudden dive into a fitness program are more likely to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off long-term.

Rather than a pre-summer hustle, get your fitness goals ready now, before the cold weather transitions into spring. The head start will give you a better chance at success and help you rock that bathing suit with confidence in July.

Featured photo credit: Jakob Montrasio via flickr.com

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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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