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7 Simple Changes To Get Workout Habits to Stick

7 Simple Changes To Get Workout Habits to Stick

How many times have you fallen off the workout wagon? “Tomorrow” you say. “Tomorrow I will get back on track. What’s one day?” And before you know it, it becomes a week. Whoops. How did this happen?

Here are some simple and super effective changes to keep you on track!

1. Put your workout on your calendar.

Are you going to workout five days this week? Maybe on Monday it works best in the morning, but Thursday the only time you will have is after work. Which days absolutely have to be your skip days? Put it down as an actual time slot.

Schedule your workout days for the week so you can visually see it and be reminded yourself of what is coming.

2. Work out the time of day that works best for you.

Many experts stress that working out right away in the morning is best. But what if that just doesn’t work for you?

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Well, how about you do what does work for you instead? The key is to be flexible. Just because you scheduled it for 7:00 am, and that didn’t happen, doesn’t mean you write the entire day off.

Try for the next open block you have. Even if you only to get in half of your normal workout, it’s better than skipping it completely.

3. Put your workout clothes on right now.

Planning on a workout later? Put your workout clothes on right now. Run your errands, do housework, get the kids to school in your workout clothes.

It sends a signal to your brain the entire time. “A workout is coming. Get ready, stay alert. Your workout is yet to come. You have a plan!”

4. Make a deal with yourself.

Do you still really just do not want to workout? Here is the deal. You workout for ten minutes, and after that if you want to quit you can.

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Guess what? Even when I am down and out and dragging myself to begin a workout, I still have never quit after the ten minutes. You will want to finish!

5. Make a plan. Track the plan.

Which day are you going to do weights, which days will you work out your legs, back and arms? What day is for cardio and for how long? Which exercises exactly will you practise?

You must make a plan or you by default have a plan: to fail. Then track on your calendar what you actually did. List each exercise, how much you lifted, how far you ran or walked, and add a tiny bit more weight or reps after you get stronger.

Energy comes from accomplishments. You can look back over the days and see how much success you’ve had.

6. Get to the real WHY.

Why do you even want to workout? If it’s just to look great in a bikini that motivation will eventually lose its buzz.

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The superficial reasons because of which we often start a workout routine often aren’t strong enough to carry us through the tough days. I struggled to stick to a workout routine year round until I watched my dad face open heart surgery in his fifties. Right then and there I decided I would do everything within my power to not have my boys ever face that pain.

So dig deep. Do the exercise of the Whys. It works like this:

  • Why do I want to workout? To look good in my clothes.
  • Why do I want to look good in my clothes? So I can feel confident.
  • Why do I want to feel confident? So I can show my daughter how important it is to believe in yourself.
  • Why do I want to show my daughter this? So she can be the strongest, happiest, healthiest self possible and have me as her role model showing her the way.

See the difference? Now grab onto your personal deep WHY when you don’t feel like working out, not the bikini dream.

7. Fast forward your life.

I do some volunteer work for hospice where I get the amazing opportunity to spend time with people facing life’s most difficult challenges.

Every time I leave I think “Thank God I can walk out of here. Thank God I can move and run. I can lift things, and all my body parts still work. I can walk outside, and feel the sun on my face.”

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There will come a day for each of us on which this is no longer true. It is a privilege to be able to workout and honor our bodies, not a chore. Change your perspective, change your life.

Physical ability is a gift not given to everyone today, but it was given to you. Don’t waste it with negativity by refusing the gift. Go feel your body working, and be grateful for the fact that today you still can.

Just imagine the great feeling in your heart, and the smile on your face when you look back at your calendar and see how much you’ve accomplished! Now go get ‘em!

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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