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A friend of mine.

A friend of mine.
Mrs. Murphy

    A good friend of mine passed away Tuesday. Mrs. Murphy would come up my driveway from her home across the street for the last seven years to have a snack, see what I was up to, or just to spend a few moments with me. Her health had taken a dive six months ago when her brother, William, had passed away. She had become so frail I’d gotten into the habit of keeping one eye on our driveway for her approach and running after her and opening a fresh can if I missed her.

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    But this post isn’t about cats. It’s about death. And what you – yes, you – need to learn about death. Consider this the ultimate lifehack.

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    Here’s the basics: as you get older in life, death pays you more visits. At least in the developed world, death – real death, not entertaining death on television – may not stop by your life until you’re in your thirties. Then the pace picks up. A grandmother. A friend from high school, perhaps a brother or sister, a parent. When you hit mid-life, you realize in your guts you’ll be seeing a lot more of death in the future than you have in the past.

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    Sure, you should and will fight the good fight every time death stops by – and that is good, and right and the right thing to do. But we all know how that fight turns out.

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    My point in writing this post isn’t to depress the hell out of you, and it’s sure as hell not to say you should welcome or surrender or accept death. It’s a quiet suggestion you think about what death has to teach you about life. Your life. You see, every time death comes knocking, you realize with a jolt just how important, how absolutely totally important, the people you love and what you build in your life are.

    The point of Getting Things Done isn’t getting more things done – that’s run the rat race faster and faster thinking. The point is so you can share being alive with the people (human and non-human) you love and with the rest of us by what you build. GTD and all the lifehacks you read online are good and useful things – but their only big and small ways to help you have enough time and a low enough stress level so you can do the really important things in your life:

    • Like tell your wife, husband, sweetheart how much you love them.
    • Like if you don’t have someone to love in your life making the effort to change that.
    • Like finding some way – even a tiny, nano little way – to make this a less fracked up world and the human race a smidgen more worthy of being called human.
    • Like spending a few moments out of your day visiting with Mrs. Murphy.

    Bob Walsh sells MasterList Professional, a Windows task management application and writes, codes,
    podcasts and blogs about different aspects of the digital lifestyle at ToDoOrElse, MyMicroISV and Clear Blogging. His second book, Clear Blogging, is now available at Amazon and elsewhere.

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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