Our bodies are temples in which our minds reside. If you take care of the body, you take care of the mind.
This is week two of my 52 week challenge.
If you missed the story and the start of the Journey, check it out here: 52 Week Plan to Completely Turn a Man’s Life Around: The First Leap.
As I dove headlong into this unscripted story, I knew that I would find myself struggling with each and every change I made— Not because I find it difficult to change, but when you battle depression day in and day out for your entire life, after a while you start to know what works and what just makes you feel worse— at least, you start to think you do.
We all secretly desire change, and deep down we welcome it with open arms; yet some of us are often reluctant to accept it at first while others jump right in.
As I begin to pay more attention to my daily routine and the activities in which I spend my time doing, I’m noticing more and more where a change in my life could help.
For instance: I thought my late nights of reading, writing, watching whatever was new on Netflix, or playing a game on my Xbox, were helping me to unwind from the day. I thought those precious last few hours were calming my mind and helping me to de-stress. Yet, after years of doing things the same way, thinking that I had perfected this lifestyle to keep myself sane, I never even questioned whether or not this was still a good practice for me.
While it may have been beneficial at other points in my life, I needed to realize the truth— That I had changed, and with me, my life needed to follow suit.
The first change I wanted to make was to get up early. Mission accomplished, though not without some difficulty. That little conniving voice in my head tried like hell to talk me into staying in bed:
Why wake up when you can pretend like the world doesn’t exist for a few more hours? What are you going to do… just sit around? …You don’t want to wake up when you’re comfortable. Feel that downy softness against your cheek… mmm; besides, you’re still tired, go back to sleep.
Little bastard almost had me, but I told myself that I needed this change. I needed this like a drowning man needs air…
Then I got up.
The hardest part of any change, is convincing yourself to put in the effort to make it happen. The mistake we often make is looking at how long something has worked instead of realizing the truth: that it hasn’t worked and that’s why you’re considering the change in the first place.
I know my body can handle 5-6 hours of sleep, but to ensure I was getting enough to keep my mind positive and my body healthy, I slept for at least 7 hours this first week. Heading to bed at the latest 11 to be up in time.
Remember that there is no set amount of sleep that someone can tell you is perfect for you. Each of us is different and we all need a different amount of sleep to be perfectly rested. After knocking an hour off my sleep this week, and feeling better, I feel as though I could sleep even a little less (Going down to 6 hours from 8).
For some people, 8 hours is perfect. I’ve found now that it’s too much for me. I wake groggy and with the feeling that I’ve slept too much. For months I misunderstood that feeling and thought my lethargy and fatigue was my depression.
I took a few steps back, and then leaped head first into this new life.
CHANGE ONE ACCOMPLISHED!
I now rise every morning at 6AM. I stretch my body, sore and tight from my Huaquan class the night before. I spend an hour enjoying some time to myself, before waking my girlfriend, making us breakfast, and getting ready for work.
Taking this first step has made all the difference. It’s that feeling you get after you sign up for the gym and you finish your first workout; or you go for a run after not running for a while and you run much farther than you thought you could.
It’s a sense of accomplishment, one that I will revel in as I continue down this long road. I leaped onto a path of change, and now I will embrace each twist and turn as I go.
The second change I choose to pursue, is for my body.
Many of us don’t realize how much a healthy body can change the way we feel on a daily basis. The right nutrition and the right amount of exercise and sleep can truly affect the way we feel.
This will be a two part challenge. It’s a health regiment change that anyone can implement in their life that changes eating habits and exercise patterns. This week I will be starting a higher form of exercise.
Now that I have a substantial amount of time each morning before I rush off to work, I can spend some time working on myself. Since I spend roughly 16-18 hours of my day awake, I should be spending at least two of those hours a day working on my body to make it stronger and healthier.
We are fleeting, us humans. Like all creatures on earth, we rise and fall like the sun, only present in each moment once and then gone forever. Why would we not want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible? We have this huge world around us, and most of us wouldn’t last two minutes in it without the conveniences that we have created for ourselves. I want to be physically fit enough to survive out in the wild on my own. I want a 6 minute mile. A 22 minute 5k. I want to be able to do 100 push-ups straight. I want to be healthy enough to feel like I am capable of anything.
The health of our minds is linked directly with the health of our bodies. I have been feeling much better since I started practicing Kung Fu. I have gained a new environment and social interactions. I feel better about myself as I work towards a higher goal. I am more motivated to do the things I love and I feel deserving of the things I enjoy doing.
I’ll report back next week on how these two things have continued to affect my everyday lifestyle. I’ll have a list of pros, and cons (if there are any), as well as yet another change I will make to my life next week.
Thinking of undergoing an overhaul of your own? Want to change your life? Do it. Don’t wait for the “right time,” for there isn’t one. The “right time” is now!
Life is a long journey. One where we step and misstep to find out what we love and where we want to be. I hope these little lessons of mine resonate with you. Share some of the experiences and changes that have made your life better!