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How to Instantly Fall in Love With Moving and Start Shaking off the Extra Pounds

How to Instantly Fall in Love With Moving and Start Shaking off the Extra Pounds

Americans move a lot less than citizens of other countries. Average daily step counts vary quite a bit around the world: the U.S. ranks 30th, with an average daily step count of 4,774, while Hong Kong comes first, at 6,880 steps per day.[1] Outside of counting steps, there are other measures by which we fall behind in terms of physical fitness and exercise. Even though our step count (4,774) is similar to Mexico’s (4,692), the US’s obesity rate is higher: 3 8% (US) compared to 32.4% (Mexico).[2]

These figures are sobering. Many of us struggle with our weight and activity levels, largely because we are an especially work-obsessed nation. And yet it’s important to our physical and mental health, to our relationships with others, and our overall sense of well-being to be active.

We all know this, but how do we actually put our intentions into actions? It might be easier than you think.

Measure, measure, measure.

All you have to do, really, is measure your activity. Be totally honest with yourself, without judgment.

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Measure how much you move. How often are you active? How many times do you work out every week? For how long? What type of workout? How strenuous is the activity?

Count how many steps you take. Some of us drive to work, while other of us might walk well over a mile each way to get there. These steps count for a lot. If you don’t get a chance to move a lot at your job, or during your commute, find reasons to move – during a lunch break, while making a phone call, or just when you need a moment to think.

Finally, measure how much you stand, sit, and move around. Becoming aware of your sedentary activities and your active moving will give you a better picture of how active you are overall.

When you have a better picture of your overall activity levels, improvement will come, slowly but surely. You will find yourself unconsciously trying to up your step counts or number of workouts. This, in turn, will boost your health. Moving helps us stay active, decrease obesity, boost heart health, increases our energy levels.[3]

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Motivation and Goals

Measurement helps gives you the motivation you need! But as you become aware of that tendency toward wanting to improve yourself and increase your physical activity, you might find these four tips helpful.

1. It doesn’t matter how you measure it: just do it.

Some people use fitness tracking watches (see the many models of Fitbit, Garmin, etc.) to get tons of data automatically on their phone apps; others prefer the low-tech (and low-cost) solution of just logging it in a physical book. It honestly doesn’t matter which way you choose to go.

It’s sort of like playing games, you either want to make some numbers higher or lower; think, for example, about board games like Agricola or the many mobile games that require you to use “coins” to purchase certain tools or power-ups. You choose which things to prioritize (increasing your number of steps or spending less time sitting), and then work toward better fitness in that domain.

2. Talk about it with your friends or accountability partners.

It’s nice to know how you are doing, whether you’re doing great or need a little extra push. But either way, it’s more fun to work toward goals when you can compare with peers and add a little competition (or warm encouragement) to make it fun!

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This is the philosophy behind programs like Strava that connect workout logs with social media. You can pursue different targets – or the same ones, if you have similar goals – and make a point to talk about your progress with friends for accountability.

3. Create and stick to clear goals.

10,000 steps (equates to roughly five miles) per day is a good target for overall activity. If you are an able-bodied person who can walk without trouble, try to make this your goal. When you have this target, you’ll try to meet it. It’s helpful encouragement to keep you moving more!

Or if you have a gym membership, go to a yoga studio, or swim at your school’s gym, set a tangible and clear goal. Log it when you complete it, and make a note of it when you don’t. The goal is transparency and honesty with yourself; with this kind of visible marker of your progress or lack thereof, you have a much higher chance of success!

4. Be kind to yourself and revise when necessary.

Even though it’s key to set tangible goals, it’s equally important to be aware of your limitations. If you have very little experience with exercise, or if you’re injured or feeling unusual pangs or aches, take it easy. It is quite possible to overexert and injure yourself. As you work toward goals, do it mindfully. Check in with yourself often.

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There are also small ways to get more active, and these are good ways to implement more physical activity without any risk at all. Instead of going thru drive-in for food, walk there. Instead of taking the elevator all the time, take the stairs. Instead of sitting all day long in office, stand a while or walk around some time.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not enough, but it’s important. Make sure to augment your little fixes with both aerobic workouts and strength-training activities. And every time you do, log it, measure it, and adjust your goals!

Featured photo credit: Photo by dan carlson on Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jolie Choi

Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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