How NOT To Set Goals

We all have goals… Health goals. Financial goals. Personal Goals.

 

When you ask yourself “what exactly is my goal?” it seems easy to answer. Just name how much weight you want to lose, how much money you want to have or what kind of relationship you want to have with your spouse.

 

That’s how most people do it… But are they doing it right?

 

Not really… If it were that easy, we’d all be washing dollar bills over our chiselled abs while sunbathing on a picture-perfect date with our partner.

 

Proper goal setting requires a plan to get things done. It needs to be centred around ACTION as opposed to results. You can want and dream all you want, but until you DO something about it, it will just remain your want or dream.

 

Examples of “result-based goals”:

  • I want to lose 30 pounds
  • Deadlifting double my weight would be cool
  • I want more energy during the day to play with my kids

 

Now there’s nothing wrong with these types of goals. Wanting something is a starting point and it’s always helpful to start with the end in mind so that you know where you want to end up. But wanting is NOT enough.

 

Why?

 

Because, often times, we can’t control results. They’re affected by environmental factors (super busy at work, exam week, kids get sick) and physical factors (you travel a lot, you’re getting older, your injury or illness is holding you back).

 

You can’t control your body’s state, but you can control what you do with it.

 

That’s why “ACTION-based goal” are so crucial. They focus on what you do have control over.

 

Here’s an example: “I want to lose 30 pounds” (RESULTS), “I’m going to focus on eating slowly this week and note how I feel” (ACTION).

 

Now it’s not obvious how “slow eating” relates to losing the 30 pounds, but it helps you pay more attention to what you’re eating and over time will make it easier to make better food choices as well as feel more satisfied for longer. Once that becomes an established habit, you can move on to building other successful health habits like drinking more water, going for walks, working out 3 times a week, etc.

 

This way you also won’t be fixed on the result and attached to “failure”. If you struggle to start a habit, just make it easier for yourself – if you can’t eat slowly for every meal, schedule time during the day to eat one meal slowly having a nice chat with the family or friends.

 

See how that works? All you have to do is change the frame with which you look at your goals and all of a sudden what you have to do becomes clear and you’ll be on your way to establishing positive, sustainable habits for your success.

 

Happy goal-setting!

 

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2 Simple Tips For Reading Food Labels

If you are like most people you pick up a packet of food in the supermarket and turn it over to read the ingredients to see if it is good for you, all the while having no idea what you are reading. Eating healthy can seem complicated at first so let’s try and make it simple.

Putting the right fuel in your body is essential for your day-to-day wellbeing and performance as well as longevity. Poor diet is linked with many chronic health conditions. We encourage our patients to clean up their diet when undergoing structural chiropractic care to maximise their body’s ability to heal, recover, and re-structure. Think of it this way, if a builder uses cheap materials to build your home it probably won’t last long. Each day your body produces millions of new cells PER SECOND, so make sure you get the appropriate raw materials for your body to make the best cells it can.

Tips

  1. My first recommendation when it comes to reading a food label, is NOT to. Why? Because the food you eat shouldn’t need labeling since it has only one ingredient in it. Most of your diet should be made up of plants, lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains. If you buy carrots, there are only carrots in the pack. If you buy potatoes, same deal. As a rule of thumb, the more processing steps involved in getting a product from its source to your plate, the less good it probably does for you and the more potential harm it has.
  2. Okay so every now and then you will need products that do have a label on them. The simplest way to approach this is if you can’t read, pronounce or understand the ingredients list, it’s probably not good for you (this is a general rule, and with rules, there are always exceptions).

These two tips can be very helpful if you are new to eating better and you are trying to clean up your act. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the information out there, start simple and keep educating yourself!

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Learning From Longevity Cultures: Part 3

Part III

In our final part of a 3 part series adapted from a TED talk on longevity cultures, we cover off the final 3 points.

 

Nature:

Spending time in nature also appears to be a commonality when these people groups connect with family and friends. If you live in a city this can be hard to do but take time in the weekend to get out into the bush or the beach. The fresh, unpolluted air is great for your lungs and the slower pace of nature can help de-stress your body.

 

They belong to a faith-based community:

This factor may be a combination of many things, a sense of purpose (point 2), relaxation (point 3) and a sense of belonging and community (point 6). Spirituality is an important and fascinating aspect of what makes us human, it gives billions of humans around the globe their sense of purpose. The Seventh-Day Adventists, in similar fashion to the Jewish culture, celebrate, relax and spend family time for a 24-hour period on the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. They call it a sanctuary in time where absolutely no work is to be done. One intentional day of holiday each week.

 

They drink a little each day:

I found this one somewhat surprising, as the consensus on alcohol is conflicting. Some studies say that no amount of alcohol is good for you where others say that red wine has the healthful benefit of antioxidants and beer has many minerals. I present this point with some caution as some readers (not you of course) might take this and think a bottle of wine each night is healthy. Drinking excessively is certainly not healthy, but a standard drink or less a few nights a week shared with friends and family may be beneficial according to this study. If alcohol doesn’t agree with you then I don’t imagine you are missing out on too much by skipping out on this point.

If living a longer, healthier life is important to you then make a point of trying to shift your habits. The combination of all 9 points is probably the most beneficial but starting with the ones you can easily do will get your journey to health started.

As mentioned in part one, this three-part series has been adapted from a TEDx talk by Dan Buettner, a writer for National Geographic and a longevity coach. If longevity interests you, you can find out more at https://www.bluezones.com/

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The secret of Longevity! | I got this in an email and prompt… | Flickr

 

Learning From Longevity Cultures: Part 2

PART II

Continuing on in our theme of living a healthier and longer life we look at the next 3 common traits of cultures with a high amount of centenarians (people living to 100 or older). Genes dictate about 10% of your longevity and health, the other 90% is lifestyle! This means the power is in your hands to create a healthy and long life. Thankfully none of this is rocket science so it’s easy to start to make changes. Relax: The Seventh-day Adventist community and the Sardinians take regular time to slow down and pray, the Okinawans have a form of Ancestral veneration in which they take time to pay respects to there predecessors.

Taking regular time to reflect and slow down is crucial. Constantly being on the go and rushing fires up or sympathetic nervous system and triggers and inflammatory response. This response is linked with many disease states from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease to joint degeneration. Taking time to quiet the mind and spiritually connect through prayer and meditation is something that people of faith have done for centuries but unfortunately in our day and ageless and fewer people are reaping the benefit of such activities, or rather non-activities.

 

They eat less:

Okinawans have a saying that they say before each meal to remind them to stop eating when they are 80% full, this is because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register the stomach is full. They also eat off smaller plates to reduce the amount of calories per sitting. Digestion is a fairly intensive process for the body to perform, which is why appetite is often low when you get sick as your body needs to focus its energy on the immunity and healing process. It is clear that being significantly overweight isn’t good for longevity but neither is being too underweight so take heed with this piece of advice. Eating enough food to maintain muscle mass but not too much that you put on fat

They eat a plant-based diet.

This point also reduces the amount of calories you consume until you are full and also means each mouth full is more nutritious . Most of these cultures eat a wide variety as well as large amounts of vegetables. The Okinawans consume a large amount of tofu, which has all essential amino acids and is a good source of iron. They still eat small amounts of meat and fish but supplement it with nuts, seeds and beans.

Family and connection.

Sense of belonging and connection is vital. In our modern world we may have more connections but it can be easy to let deep, meaningful connections slide. These cultures spend time with their children and taking care of their aging grandparents. The Seventh day Adventists reportedly schedule up to 24 hours per week to spend with family, friends and God. Make sure you proactively spend time investing into others and with people who support, love and challenge you. Don’t let yourself get caught up with being so busy that you don’t foster meaningful relationships!

 

If you missed the first part of this series go and check it out here and keep an eye out for our third and final instalment, the final three points might surprise you.

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The secret of Longevity! | I got this in an email and prompt… | Flickr

Learning From Longevity Cultures: Part 1

Watching a TEDx Talk by Dan Buettner on longevity inspired me to write this.

The following three blogs are a summary of his talk with a few of my own ideas.

If you want to watch the original talk head over to YouTube and search his name otherwise stay tuned for a summary of his main findings. Scientists believe humans can live about 90-100 or so years and there are communities around the world that have a high rate of people who are living into their tenth decade. The NZ life expectancy is about 81 years which means Kiwi’s are missing out on 10-20 extra years. What would you do with 10 years?

The main thing a lot of people say when talking about living longer is that they don’t want to be in pain or incapacitated. But what if those years were full of life and joy? What else would you be able to achieve and how much more could you make an impact in other peoples lives with an extra decade or two? The majority of people in these long-lived communities, or Blue Zones (Seventh-Day Adventists in California, the residents of Sardinia, Italy, and the inhabitants of the islands of Okinawa, Japan) are not only living longer but are doing so in great health. In this three-part series we will cover the nine common principles you can learn from these cultures so you can add life to your years and years to your life.

They don’t exercise:

no, this doesn’t mean what you might hope it does! A sedentary lifestyle is not good for you. People in these communities set up their lives so they are nudged toward movement. They live in houses with steps and don’t have conveniences like premade food. They spend a lot of time and effort physically preparing food, cutting and collecting wood, fishing or farming their own food, and have more physically involved jobs. Basically their day to day is exercise but if you work a sedentary job exercise is still the next best thing so that you can minimise the impact of sitting all day. On top of regular exercise try to integrate more movement into your day by simply parking further away and walking to work or the shops. Yep, this will mean leaving home earlier, but convenience might be slowly killing you!

They live with Purpose:

In our culture we tend to gear our entire working life toward retirement at which point we become sedentary, giving up mental and physical challenges and along with it, losing a sense of purpose. Sure, your work capacity will decrease as you age but make sure you retire TO something and not FROM it. In Okinawa they don’t have a word for retire, they have a word ikigai, which means, “the reason you get up on the morning.” This could be a hobby, going to night school to learn a language or how to cook, picking up an instrument, joining a club or group, writing a book, being involved in your family’s life, the list goes on.

To be continued…

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.The secret of Longevity! | I got this in an email and prompt… | Flickr