5 Proven Ways To Improve Your Life That You Can Start Doing Now
Whether you think your life is perfect or you’re struggling to get by, there is always room for improvement.
Tips on keeping your house in order, taking better care of your body, reinvigorating your brain and lightening your spirit should always be welcome.
Be open-minded to change. Some of these tips might surprise you, especially when you see that they work.
Here are the 5 ways to improve your life:
1 – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo has written the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” to share her organizational techniques with the world. Reading this book and following her process to the very end can be revolutionary. The book has reached #1 on Amazon’s Zen Philosophy category and is also a New York Times best seller.
Readers are guided through her KonMari method for getting rid of the meaningless objects that are cluttering our lives and then properly storing the belongings that we choose to keep. It might be the book for you if you have ever felt boxed in, surrounded by piles of belongings and wondered whether you own your possessions or if they own you?
The KonMari Method flies in the face of conventional wisdom, such as the common advice that we should clean up one room at a time. The central idea Kondo developed is that it is best to get the purging of belongings done first, in one fell swoop. Kondo believes that tidying up one room at a time will leave you tidying up forever. The general idea is to have one major effort in which you tackle your entire living space at once.
The whole system begins with the massive de-cluttering event. The main theme is to look at each item in your home and decide if it brings you joy. What are you feeling as you are looking at an item and holding it? If it doesn’t bring you happiness, it has to go, plain and simple. It’s a thought process that is very simple but brings profound results.
The KonMari method teaches people to look at your possessions with a critical eye. Does the item bring you joy? Are you happy when you see it? If it is not bringing you joy, it must go.
In the first phase of the program, Kondo has some helpful guidelines. She says to get rid of as many books as possible as there are very few that you will read again. With papers, her general rule of thumb is just to get rid of them.
She has a revolutionary view on what to do with the gifts we receive cluttering up our homes over the years. She says that the gift has served its’ purpose. The reason for the gift was an expression of love from the giver who spent money on it and the time to pick it out. Take the gift in your hands and be grateful that you got to enjoy it. Don’t feel guilty that you are getting rid of it, feel joy for the time you had it.
Readers are asked to do some pretty zany things, such as speaking to an item – like thanking a coat for keeping you warm. It is a novel mind exercise that trains you to think about objects differently. We have an emotional connection with our possessions. When we thank something for helping us before we give it away, we are getting closure on that relationship.
In a review, a reader tells this story: “I’m a painter and I landed a contract with a resort to do the art work. I spent thousands on paints and canvases. The whole project took months and I was really excited about getting my artwork onto those hotel walls. When I took the paintings in, the manager said she had changed her mind and I could tell she didn’t like them. I was devastated. I stored the art in my garage, thinking the pain would go away in a couple months and I could bring them out and enjoy them then. But the pain never went away and, every time I went into the garage, I felt so much shame. The negativity from the event was taking up more space than the paintings. After reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I realized that it was ok to get the paintings out of my life for good. I gave them away and now that whole incident is water under the bridge.
A person who has lost a lot of weight might ask himself if his old “fat clothes” are worth keeping, just in case he puts the weight back on. There is negativity surrounding the clothes and it signals that he doesn’t trust himself to keep the weight off. Following the KonMari logic, it is best to get rid of them.
There are some really good tips in the book on how to keep things tidy after everything has been organized and cleaned, such as:
- Store shower products outside of the shower so there isn’t a soapy residue on the shelves and surfaces surrounding the bathtub.
- Decorate the back of your closet with the things you love but don’t want others to see.
- Put all possessions back in their places after you’ve used them. This prevents you from buying more items, as you will be able to see that you already have enough things.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo is a revolutionary book full of unorthodox methods and tips to help you de-clutter your surroundings so that you can live a more free and happy life. Borrow it from the library, she wouldn’t want the print copy cluttering up your house.
2 – Cutting out the sugar
There is one truly evil food that humans consume that harms us more than all others – refined sugars. The biggest culprit is high-fructose corn syrup which is totally unnatural and is added to more of our processed food products than most people are aware of.
Today we are experiencing levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease like never before. We are consuming so much sugar in everything we eat and 2/3rd of us are overweight or obese. Companies are still ramming as much sugar as they can get away with into our processed foods and drinks. They know from human and animal studies that sugar can be as addictive to us as cocaine.
Sugar and fructose are added to so many products now that it’s nearly impossible to get rid sugar out of our food intake completely. Without sugar you couldn’t eat ketchup, salad dressing, butter, cured meat, or nearly every other pre-packaged food – the list goes on.
It is way challenging find our products without sugar in it. The big culprits though, are easiest to identify. Avoid sugary beverages like sodas, fruit juices, and our favorite flavored coffees.
A study was done by Dr. Robert Lustig of the University of San Francisco, on sugar in children’s diets. For the study, kids were taken off sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. The calories from sugar that were taken off were replaced with starch, so the kids were eating the same number of calories as they were consuming before the diet. The goal of the diet was not for the kids to lose weight. Researchers wanted to see how other health markers would improve without sugar.
The study showed that the kids were much healthier after only 9 days of not eating sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. They reduced the fat on their livers and went from being insulin resistant to being insulin sensitive and their triglyceride and LDL levels also went down.
The study was not about eating healthy and losing weight. The study was about keeping weight and calories the same. By cutting out sugars by 90% the children’s markers of health improved in a very short period of time.
Here are some tips to make it easy for you:
- Start with beverages first, like your morning glass of orange juice or coffee with whipped cream drizzled with chocolate, then cut out sodas.
- Next cut out candy, ice cream, cakes and other sweet treats.
- If you want to go further, cut out processed foods that you find in the middle isles of the grocery store. Shop around the edges of the grocery store where you find meat and produce and other fresh foods.
- Look for unsweetened dairy products.
- Bread and grains can be reduced as well because they typically contain refined sugar. Stick to whole grain bread and pasta.
- Buy nuts for treats, they are packed with the healthy fats.
Reducing sugars and high fructose corn syrup in your diet is easy once you get the hang of it. Simply find healthier foods as a replacement. Remember that there are other delicious foods available. You will still get to eat grass-fed steak, grass-fed dairy, sandwiches, vegetables covered in butter, toast, hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables and so many other wonderful foods. Focus on educating yourself on how to eat as healthily as possible.
3 – Exercise less to lose weight
Although it is recommended, you don’t have to be in the gym. You don’t have to punish yourself to the point of exhaustion when you exercise.
Be easy on yourself; if a fitness regimen seems intense, you might find excuses to quit.
If you are about 50 years old and over 200 pounds, certainly joining a cross-fit program is not enjoyable and it may cause you injuries if you are not careful. Why not try some other activities that you enjoy like basketball or tennins and feel younger again? You have much better chances of losing weight if you don’t pick something that makes you overly uncomfortable.
Try walking and swimming – don’t underestimate these as both activities affordable and they deliver results. Simply walk at a pace that brings a light perspiration to your skin and increases your breathing and heart rates. Don’t make yourself uncomfortable or you won’t want to do it regularly. Start by walking for a few minutes and then walk a little longer whenever you can. The ultimate goal is 30 minutes to 1 hour of walking per day. Track your walking with a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day.
Swimming is also great for weight loss. There are researches available saying that swimming is a mood-boosting exercise.
Another reason to cool it with the workouts is that vigorous exercise can make you ravenous. You could have an amazing sweat session at the gym and come home so hungry that you’ll gobble down anything in your cupboards. Remember that an hour-long work out will typically burn around 500 to 600 calories. It is easy consume 600 calories of ice cream within 10 minutes of arriving home and all progress has gone out the window.
People often report gaining weight after taking up extremely intense exercise. The old saying goes that you can’t outrun a bad diet. Also, losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. For the best results focus on eating healthy to lose weight, then add in some exercise that you truly enjoy.
4 – The Serenity Prayer
Many cultures around the world have their own version of the Serenity Prayer, but there is no need to follow a religion in order for it to change your life. An atheist might say, “If I can change something, I change it. If I can’t change it, I don’t worry about it. It’s out of my hands,” but there is beauty in how Reinhold Niebuhr said it in 1801.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
There is a Mother Goose rhyme, written by W. W. Bartley that might help children understand the beauty of changing what you can and forgetting about what you can’t.
For every ailment under that sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.
Busy people today might want to keep it even more simple, saying,
Do your best and forget the rest.
Just let it go. Whether you are worried about your parents, your boss, your kids, money, or your retirement, there is often nothing that can be done about many situations in life. Focus your energy on the things that you can do.
Friedrich Schiller expressed the same idea when he said,
Blessed is he, who has learned to bear what he cannot change, and give up with dignity, what he cannot save.
Solomon ibn Gabirol said,
At the head of all understanding – is realizing what is and what cannot be, and the consoling of what is not in our power to change.
5- Rebuild your brain
For a long time, it was believed that adults do not grow new brain cells. Our brain generates around 700 new brains cells, called neurons, each day. By the time we reach 50 years old our brains will have completely changed from when we were born.
High rates of neurogenesis make us more emotionally resilient, improve our memory, better at problem solving skills, and giving us less chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
Improving the rate of neuron development is to have a healthier lifestyle. This include eating healthier food, cutting out stress, getting enough sleep and learning news things. Neurogenesis increases 5 times if you live a healthy lifestyle
Improving your life does not have to be difficult. Start taking care of yourself first then you can proceed with other things like learning new skills or or going on to vacations that you keep on putting off. Your overall health impacts your whole being -your mood, your motivation, everything. Be well.