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A Simple 3-Week Plan To Better Yourself 1% Every Day (That Will 100% Benefit Your Life)

A Simple 3-Week Plan To Better Yourself 1% Every Day (That Will 100% Benefit Your Life)

Change, especially the positive kind is not an easy task. There are a huge number of factors involved in any given aspect of life, and there are plenty of these aspects as it is. Well, Dave Brailsford, a trainer of the professional British cycling team, Team Sky, reasoned that given the fact that there are tons of little variables, one could improve a tiny bit in each one to make a big overall change. He said that through aggregation of marginal gains it is possible to overshoot the competition after a while. Making tiny 1% changes in things ranging from the comfort of the seats and weight of the tires of your car, to the most comfortable pillows that allowed athletes to get better rest, yielded impressive overall results – it took only 3 years for Sir Bradley Wiggins to become the first ever Brit to win the Tour de France.

By adopting this simple yet highly effective method of aggregation of marginal gains to our own life, we can start making a huge improvement in under a month. The theory is very straightforward – every day for the next 21 days you will make a small and manageable 1% adjustment to a particular aspect of your life, which will result in the development of 21 good habits that you can keep doing for years and years. All the changes are small and easy to make, yet within a few years you will be miles from where you are now in terms of physical and mental health, productivity and overall quality of life.

Day 0 – Make a firm decision right now

We all like to start things at the beginning of the week or the beginning of next month, but you should sit down right now and commit to the program. Make a firm decision to start making these small improvements first thing tomorrow.

Day 1 – Drink a couple of glasses of soda less

Pouring out coke

    Looking at the manufacturer’s official website we find that a can of Coca-Cola has 139 calories, and most sugary sodas are around the same. The can contains less soda than two average-sized glasses. That means that by drinking only a couple of glasses less you are cutting down on over 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar a day, leading to very slow, but steady weight loss if all aspects of your diet remain roughly the same. You can drink more water instead.

    Day 2 – Go outside and walk for 30-40 minutes

    An hour of walking at a normal steady pace will burn between 200 and 300 calories, depending on your weight size – heavier people burn more calories during the same exercise as skinnier people. This means that 30 minutes will burn 100-200 calories. It’s not that difficult to find the time for a short walk, and you can even break it down into 2-3 walking sessions of 10-20 minutes during the day. Combine it with less soda and you get about 250-350 calories less every day without changing much at all.

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    Day 3 – Eat a fresh salad before lunch and dinner

    You don’t have to replace your regular meals with salads, just make sure you eat a medium-sized bowl of fresh salad – plenty of veggies and no toppings except spices and olive oil – before lunch and dinner. Not only do you get plenty of much-needed micronutrients, but the fiber in the vegetables will also make you feel full, so you won’t be able to gorge on unhealthy and highly caloric food as much.

    Day 4 – Read 10-20 pages of a book

    It has been shown time and time again that reading has plenty of psychological and even mental health benefits. Not to mention that it makes you more eloquent and broadens your horizon. Even if you are a slow reader it won’t take you more than about 30-60 minutes to read 10-20 pages. Do this every day and you’ll be going through at least a book or two per month. You can start with some of these.

    Day 5 – Start doing bodyweight workouts

    Home workout

      Getting a good workout in doesn’t require anything but good will and 20-30 minutes of free time. You can do this type of bodyweight workout 2-3 times a week to reap some great health benefits, get a sexier body and boost your confidence.

      Day 6 – Warm up your body and stretch in the morning

      Doing 3-5 minutes of jumping jacks or mountain climbers when you get out of bed is a good way to warm up your joints and it gets the heart pumping. You can follow this with some 10-15 minutes of static stretching. You can do these after your workout on your workout days instead of in the morning. Stretching has numerous health benefits and is fairly easy to do.

      Day 7 – Devote 30 minutes to learning a new skill

      There are probably a bunch of skills that you would love to have right now. Whether it’s work related, general skills that can be applied to a broad range of things like team management or conflict resolution, we could all stand to learn something new. By devoting just 30 minutes a day to learning a new skill you will have learned the basics and gotten fairly decent at it within a few months.

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      Day 8 – Replace one of your regular snacks with fruit and nuts

      We reach for snacks a lot of times during the day, whether it’s because we’re a bit hungry, sad or just bored. The next time you feel like you need a snack reach for a couple of apples, a banana, a pear or a cup of berries, combined with a handful of walnuts or almonds. Nuts have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and can lower the risk of heart disease, while certain berries have great amounts of antioxidants, and various fruit contains plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. It’s a healthy snack and it keeps you feeling full for longer.

      Day 9 – Get some vitamin D and fish oil supplements

      Supplements

        In a perfect world we would have access to all that the body needs, but this is not the case. Most people lack omega 3-fatty acids in their diet – these keep the heart healthy, the skin looking young and your mind sharp – and hardly get enough sun exposure, which limits vitamin D production which is responsible for bone density and keeping normal testosterone levels. These supplements are relatively cheap and will ensure that you stay healthy despite common dietary deficiencies.

        Day 10 – Use moisturizer after you shower, shave or wash your face

        Keeping your skin as soft, smooth and elastic as possible is the key to looking and feeling young even as you get older. A lot of people, particularly men, fail to utilize moisturizers on a regular basis. This means that after washing your skin will dry out and even become flaky, becoming less soft and smooth over time. By using a good moisturizer on a regular basis you will ensure that your skin becomes fresh and soft, and remains that way for a long time.

        Day 11 – Do 10-15 minutes of running/cycling/ jump rope training

        If you’ve stuck to the changes you’ve made, you will already be walking a bit more, warming up and stretching and doing a couple of short workouts a week. However, in order to ensure good cardiovascular health you will need to elevate your heart rate and keep it in an elevated state for a certain amount of time. You don’t have to be exact about it – as long as you do some running, cycling or jump rope training for about 10 minutes 2-3 days a week you will significantly lower the risk of heart disease.

        Day 12 – Brush and floss your teeth after dinner and before bed

        An important yet often overlooked part of overall health is your oral health. Tooth decay can cause a host of problems, extreme pain being one of them, and can cost you a lot to repair if things go out of hand. A lot of food gets stuck in your teeth after big meals, and the bacteria do the most damage if you forget to brush before bed and leave them to eat away at your teeth overnight. With this simple habit you will have a beautiful smile for a long time.

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        Day 13 – Listen to some relaxing music and do breathing exercises for 10 minutes after work

        Listening to music on couch

          Once you come home from work it’s time to shift mental gears from busy and stressed to comfortable and relaxed. Music is an excellent stress reliever and when combined with some good breathing exercises can help you calm down and relax your body and mind fairly quickly. Just 10 minutes of this relaxing therapy a day and you will become much calmer and happier in the upcoming months.

          Day 14 – Do one thing that’s a bit outside of your comfort zone

          The best way to grow and improve is to step just outside your comfort zone. You can’t just do this with everything all at once, but doing one small thing that you don’t feel that comfortable with – speaking to a crowd, singing, etc – every week will make you become more relaxed with it and eventually help you overcome your fear of it. Focus on one thing until you get comfortable and then switch to something else. Start of small – e.g. speaking to five people – and graduate to something big over time – e.g. giving a toast at a celebration.

          Day 15 – Start a conversation with at least one random person during the week

          A lot of situations in our daily lives can be boring and even a bit awkward. By talking to a stranger while waiting in line or siting in a coffee shop you can actually become happier. Connecting with others keeps boredom at bay, lets you share your frustrations and get a few good laughs. Approach one random person a week and spark a conversation – who knows what interesting places it will take you.

          Day 16 – Get a foam roller and massage your muscles for 5 minutes before bed

          Foam rollers are a great way to give yourself a good massage and reach all the tight muscles. A myofascial release, e.g. loosening up those tight knots in the muscle, is achieved, which will reduce muscle soreness, improve mobility and help you feel more relaxed. You can do it a few minutes before a workout or before going to bed to relax and prepare for sleep.

          Day 17 – Watch 15-20 minutes of TED talks every other day

          TED talks give you insight into a variety of different topics, can inspire you, make you think, and as with books, broaden your horizon. Here are some of the most popular ones that you can listen to every other day, or if you get a chance even one per day. Learning about different topics will come in small basic fragments, but will grow over time and even motivate you to do some further research on your own, thus gaining plenty of knowledge over time.

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          Day 18 – Read about body language and work on yours during the day

          Body Language

            Spend an hour or two during the weekend to do some research on body language and then try to improve yours at various times of the day. You want to have the body language of a confident and powerful person, to know which mistakes to avoid and read other people’s intentions to a degree. With time you will be able to exhibit confidence and become more assertive, tell if someone likes you or doesn’t like you by reading small queues and much more. “The Definitive Book of Body Language” by Barbara and Alan Pease is a good read.

            Day 19 – Take your partner somewhere nice at the end of the week or treat yourself to a nice night out

            It is important to keep your relationships strong, and if you don’t have a significant other it is important find yourself someone you can be close and intimate with. By taking one day out of the week, or even just once in two weeks if you’re busy and devoting it to the other person you will earn a lot of goodwill with them. On the other hand if you are single, go out and have some fun. Get a couple of friends to come with you and try to meet some new people – some of that confidence, experience in sparking up conversation with strangers and positive body language might come in handy. This will help you relieve stress and keep your relationship strong or help you overcome the fear of rejection and improve your love life.

            Day 20 – Shut off all the lights and electrical equipment before going to bed

            Lack of sleep is a common problem in the modern world and it can have a lot of negative side-effects. There are a lot of things that can get us distracted like computers and phones, but we also seldom create good sleeping conditions. Your room needs to be dark when you go to sleep – no music, background movies to help you dose of, just a couple of more YouTube videos or lights of any sorts. If you make this a habit, you will slowly begin to have more regular sleep patterns and sleep for the full 7-9 hours that you need to feel well-rested, focused and energetic.

            Day 21 – Take the day off from mundane life and get some quiet time for yourself

            Wolf resting in field

              Once or twice a month choose a day to be your rest day. Distancing yourself from everyday worries and other people and simply doing nothing can do a whole lot of good for you. It can be a weekend at the countryside, a fishing trip, sitting around the house watching an entire season of your favourite show or whatever else lets you get some privacy and relax. A completely relaxed day or two like that every month will go a long way towards improving your mental and physical health, which can be severely degraded by stress.

              Slow and steady wins the race

              If you follow this comprehensive guide and make a tiny lifestyle change every day for the next 21 days, you will end up with a host of very good habits that can help you make a huge overall improvement in terms of health, fitness, productivity, relationships and happiness. It’s all about sticking with these small changes for the long run and steadily improving over time. At one point you’ll look back and be amazed at how big of an impact these 1% improvements have made.

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              Ivan Dimitrijevic

              Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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              Last Updated on December 2, 2019

              How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

              How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

              Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

              I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

              Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

              How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

              Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

              Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

              At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

              Want to know the good news?

              No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

              All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

              1. Develop a Positive Mindset

              If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

              According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

              That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

              Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

              Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

              Absolutely!

              But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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              Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

              Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

              It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

              “I’m not smart enough to…”

              “I don’t have enough experience to…”

              “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

              When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

              If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

              When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

              • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
              • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
              • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

              Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

              Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

              All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

              But this isn’t true!

              If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

              If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

              When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

              Ditch the Dwelling

              Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

              Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

              When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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              But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

              The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

              Easier said than done, right? Try these:

              1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
              2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
              3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
              4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

              The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

              Be Patient about the Process

              No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

              Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

              If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

              To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

              2. Connect with Your Purpose

              One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

              If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

              Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

              Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

              Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

              “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

              One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

              Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

              Find Intrinsic Motivation

              Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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              Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

              But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

              If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

              3. Find Strength in Unity

              The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

              Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

              Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

              If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

              If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

              Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

              The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

              A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

              If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

              Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

              Recruit Some Cheerleaders

              If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

              Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

              As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

              Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

              Form an Accountability Group

              Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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              Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

              Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

              Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

              Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

              4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

              Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

              As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

              We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

              When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

              • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
              • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
              • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
              • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
              • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
              • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

              Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

              Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

              Tying it All Together

              Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

              But here’s the bottom line:

              A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

              No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

              More About Mental Strength

              Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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