To do for others, you first must do for yourself. Dyllon Charron, in his 52 week journey, talks about the merits of taking time for ourselves.
Anyone looking to make a change in their lives, or to make better something they are unhappy with will benefit from following this journey.
As I continue on my way, I will be continuing to make a change in my life each week for the remaining 49 weeks of this journey’s year. Sometimes these changes will be drastic and take everything out of me, other times it could be something simple that impacted me in a way I never thought it would.
Week one I started to get up at 6AM each day. Week two I decided to spend at least two hours of my day working my body to its limits.
Now, I am a fairly healthy individual. In May 2015 when I started Kung Fu, I was six foot four, one hundred seventy pounds, my resting heart rate around seventy seven— I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I was healthy, if not a little thin. I’ve always considered myself below the bar, but that’s because I am my harshest critic.
Several years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I hit the gym with a football buddy of mine three to five times a week for an hour or two. I kept going to the gym until I was 225lbs.
Now that I am at my current weight, I have no idea where I kept all that extra! Between Kung Fus refinement and the extra work I’ve done, I’ve gotten back up to 182lbs.
The key to succeeding at any task is to set a goal. You don’t always need to know in what direction you are first setting out in, but you should know the destination. Knowing where you want to be will help you shape the path you are on— and make no mistake, we are the only ones who get us where we want to be.
Wk1: Benefits to waking up early:
A 2008 study of a Texas University concluded that those students who identified as “early birds” earned a full point higher on their GPAs. (CBS News article here) Can you believe that?! A full point? I could have had a better GPA if I had cared, but somewhere in those year my depression took hold of me and didn’t let go. My GPA crashed and burned and I had to retake a class for the first time in my life because of it. Imagine if I had slept properly and gotten up early. Maybe I would have cared!
A separate study done with 435 adults ages 17-38 and 297 adults ages 59-79, were all asked two questions: how healthy they feel and what their preferred time of day is. The study found that being an early bird meant being happier.
See this article and many others like it for more information on why getting up earlier is a good idea, and why I decided to make it my first step: 5 Benefits Of Waking Up Early!
Wk2: Benefits to working out consistently:
I don’t need to write a list of the reasons we work out, but I will tell you two very important pieces of information that HUGELY impact me and impacted my decision in making this my second challenge.
One, it actively improves your mental state: during, and for an hour to two after you work out, your body produces an increased level of endorphins which help to boost your mood. Go get happy! PICK STUFF UP AND PUT STUFF DOWN.
Two, It also reduces aging! Who knew that working out ACTUALLY made you healthy?! It tightens muscles and skin that, when not used, begins to break down with age.
So again, for a more complete list of reasons why working out is healthy, check out this article: Top 10 Benefits Of Working Out!
Overall though, how do you feel?
Two weeks ago, when I first started this journey, I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up. All I knew for certain was that I wasn’t happy with the lifestyle I currently had and I knew I wanted to change it— but with just how many angles I could attack it from, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to begin.
I ultimately decided on a trial and error method. I would make a change every week and for several weeks see how that change affects me.
For instance: Two weeks in and I feel so very different. I have a surplus of energy all day. My resting heart rate has gone from near 80 a few months ago when I started to Kung Fu, to just 57 now that I have started really working my body to its limits. I am happier; happier than I have been in a very long time, and that happiness stays with me more often than not. I wake up and spend the first part of my day focusing on myself, and my girlfriend, and our cats, and the walls of my home rather than running off immediately to my job. I feel charged. Powerful. Wonderful.
WEEK THREE CHALLENGE
I’ve had two specific challenges so far; one targeted sleep and the other fitness. Now, I’m going to focus on recreation.
My Daily time-meter: It’s good to take a look every once in a while at the time we spend doing our daily activities. I spend two hours driving to work and back each day, eight hours in the office, one to two hours working for GMP, another hour or two just on social media (email, facebook, twitter, pinterest – as these are all outlets from which I both draw and collect), I also eat, shower, spend with my girlfriend, do chores, finances, and try and squeeze in time to work on my writing. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, I do as much of this as possible and fit in my Kung Fu class.
How do I have time for recreational activities?
The answer? We don’t. We pack our lives full of all the things that matter instead of reveling in the things that truly do.
Take some time everyday for yourself. It’s good to start the day focusing on you and what you want. Often times, we are so wrapped up in what we feel we should be doing, and what we feel we have to do, that we won’t take time for ourselves— Time to breathe deep the world. However are we to attain anything worth having without giving ourselves that which we need? It is healthy to sit back and relax. To focus on yourself. To see the way the world affects you and reflect on it.
Week three’s challenge is to focus on myself. I will find a block of time everyday, and do something I love.
Whether it be drink tea and read a book, do Yoga, play video games, write, play piano; whatever I feel like doing.
We cannot truly give to others, until we first give to ourselves.
When it comes to yourself, it’s okay to be a cheap whore: give yourself what you want and don’t be ashamed to have it.
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 (which I doubt there will be any), as well as yet another change I will make next week.
Thinking of undergoing an overhaul of your own? Want to change your life? Do it. Don’t wait for the “right time,” 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!
Photo: Flickr/ Andris