Seven days ago, I committed to making a 1% improvement each day.
It's going amazing. I can't recommend it enough.
I've got at least 20 in mind that will take work to do, but the wonderful thing about these kind of gains is their persistence. Getting a handle on something once -- and getting gains permanently -- is remarkably awesome.
I mean, remarkably awesome.
I took measures to get back into the gym, design and improve my training regime, improve my sleep through some smart purchases (eyemask, earplugs, hat, comfort foam on the bed), regulated my caffeine consumption (quit coffee/tea/liquid caffeine, take caffeine pills from the pharmacy on schedule and track it), put up a goals board with post-it notes in the bedroom (it's fantastic), and I'm really just getting started.
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who called at random, and he gave me a number more to implement -- details related to outsourcing, getting a blender and blending up vegetables, managing the calendar better, and a few more.
I'll run out of gas at some point. It's the kind of exercise that burns itself out after a while, once all the visible low-hanging fruit is taken.
But there's a lot of low-hanging fruit, if you really committed to it. I can't think of anything that's shown so much promise and real gain in so little time before. More sleep, more energy, better fitness, better goal-setting, better planning and action. Most of the changes are structural, so semi-permanent even without maintenance.
Highly, highly, highly recommended.
Low hanging kaizen fruit would be a great entry in the Sebastian Marshall wiki. Why isn't there one?
When you get toward the end of the low-hanging fruit, you might want to do a List of 100 exercise. I've not had the focus to complete one the times I've sat down to do it, though your post has got me inspired to give it another go.
A reader asked me to share some about my nutrition. Here we go -
I don't consume at all: *Alcohol *Recreational drugs *Tobacco in any form *Mammals *Sweets
I think cutting bad stuff out goes a long way towards doing things correctly.
I quit drinking in 2006... basically, I reckon the downsides from liquor aren't worth the upsides. Now about this, I get asked sometimes, "Is it awkward to go to a bar?" For the first six months it was. Now, it's not. I get a club soda and have no problems.
Likewise, I quit pretty much all recreational drugs at the same time in '06, depending on how you define it. I've gone back and forth with caffeine over the years - originally I quit caffeine in '06, but I saw some good research on metabolic advantages from caffeine. I do take vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and fish oil. Beyond that, I'll take anti-inflammatories like acetametaphin or ibuproifen (the active ingrediants in Tylenol and Advil) if I've got inflammation from training or I'm ill. I'd be open at some point to trying nootrophics under the guidance of a physician, but I've been picking up low hanging health fruit first. Human Growth Hormone also looks promising, and I'd consider synthetic testosterone if I needed it to keep my testosterone levels up later. But all these are for health/longevity purposes, not for pleasure, with the possible exception of caffeine. I go back and forth on caffeine, maybe I'll quit it someday. For now, it's not an issue for me.
Along with exercise and nutrition, sleep is one of the primary determinants of your happiness and wellbeing. If you don't get good sleep, you will not only be tired, but also pessimistic, unmotivated, lazy or even depressed.
Research has shown that self control is a limited resource that is greatly diminished when you're exhausted. If you don't get good sleep, you are less likely to be productive and stick to your good habits (such as exercise). You are also more likely to do things that you know are bad for you (such as eating sweets).
Good REM sleep plays a critical role in the development of long term memories. If you're trying to learn anything at all, you better make sure you get enough high quality sleep.
Proper sleep is also essential for maintaining a robust immune system. If you want to be happy, healthy, smart and productive, you have must make sure you get good sleep.
Do you think that your physical health and emotional wellbeing can be considered in isolation? Think again. They both come from the same body, and they both require that you sleep well.