It’s been an exciting and eventful year for us so far, full of many positive changes.
I’ve managed to lose about 25 pounds over the last several months, and am writing and creating YouTube videos more regularly than last year. While there have been some stressful aspects during this time, much of it has been mitigated by the habits Amy and I have implemented this year.
Overall, I’ve been feeling more productive, creative, and much healthier than I have in quite awhile.
I took some time to reflect on what the most impactful changes have been for us, and it really boiled down to five fundamental habits that I’ve started doing almost every day. While none of these are extraordinary on their own, they have added up to create quite a substantial impact.
Here are the 5 habits that changed my life in the last 120 days
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1 / Eat Salad For Breakfast
This is something that I never would have even imagined six months ago—but a recent trip to Los Angeles sparked the change. After a workout at the Culver Steps, my friend Phil and I went to a restaurant in the area where we received what, at the time, seemed like a peculiar recommendation.
The server suggested we try the breakfast salad: mixed greens with over-easy eggs, tomatoes, avocado, and prosciutto on top. Being a breakfast traditionalist—enjoying the likes of waffles, pancakes, and cereal—this was not the most exciting idea to me. But, we decided to try it nevertheless.
The dish was absolutely amazing and when I brought the idea back to Amy, she loved it as well. Ever since, we’ve been making a big salad for breakfast with avocado, eggs, and tomatoes and we absolutely love it. A huge bowl of mixed greens is only 25-50 calories or so, and it really fills me up for the day. This has been an essential change that’s increased our veggie intake and helped us to feel less hungry throughout the day.
2 / Reduce Sugar Intake Substantially
This is a habit that I’ve done in the past with great success and have seen similar results this year. The biggest impact is when I reduce my sugar intake, I’m not hungry all the time, which makes it easier to avoid overeating in general. Every time I eliminate high sugar and high carb items from my diet I immediately lose weight, feel better, and sleep better.
The first week is absolutely the hardest, as my body always freaks out and wonders why it’s not getting its regular sugar-high. But after that, it feels completely natural and my energy evens out substantially throughout the day. I’ve yet to find a downside to doing this other than, well, not eating cookies and donuts as much as before.
It’s totally worth it though, and reducing sugar doesn’t mean that I don’t have the occasional treat from time to time.
3 / Drink Tons Of Water
Boring, I know, but so essential.
This one is in just about every health book, video or article, but after taking my water intake more seriously, I completely understand why. I have a big 32 ounce water bottle that I start off the day by filling up and drinking completely. After that, I make sure to drink at least one more full bottle at a minimum; sometimes I drink three or four of them totaling 128 oz per day.
Not only does it help me feel more satiated overall, but it also provides a relatively consistent reminder for me to get up from my computer during the day. Both to refill my water bottle and obviously, to go to the bathroom.
4 / Exercise 6x A Week
While this may seem pretty intense, my goal is to simply go to the gym six days a week.
Some days, I just walk on the treadmill. Other days, if I’m feeling pumped to exercise, I’ll lift and run for an hour or more. Just showing up at the gym six times a week is the key habit that’s helped accomplish great results. Amy and I go together, which makes it easier to keep up the habit as well.
Not only has this habit bettered my physical wellness, I’ve noticed substantial benefits when it comes to stress management and mental wellness, also. When I was going through a particularly stressful time, running on the treadmill was like therapy for me. Just like anything, running and going to the gym sucked at first but after a month or two it got easier and much more enjoyable.
Out of all the habits that changed my life this year, this one helped to integrate and enhance the others. Working out regularly encouraged me to eat better, drink more water and make healthier choices overall.
5 / Write Down And Catalogue Every Idea
This is what has enhanced my creativity and helped me stay on track with creating videos and new blog posts consistently. While an incredibly simple idea, it’s been very, very effective.
I carry my favorite notebook with me just about everywhere and jot down ideas as they come to me. I’ve forgotten enough “good” ideas at this point that I don’t want to lose anymore. The major benefit here is that once you start capturing your ideas, you can start comparing them, combining them, and sensing themes.
Instead of coming up with new ideas, it’s much easier to look though and expand on an existing idea. It’s a great resource to have so that when I sit down to come up with a blog post or video, I’m not starting from scratch.
While these habits are small changes on a day to day basis, the resulting impacts have added up substantially. My weight loss has been slow but steady. My productivity and output has slowly increased, and more systems are being built to help maintain and continually increase the momentum.
I’d encourage you to try one or two of these things and remember to start small. It’s really the repetition of these habits that changed my life, not how difficult or how many of them. While you don’t need to do everything at once, the important thing is to keep on going for as long as possible. It’s a journey, not a destination, as the old adage goes.