Starting the year so far I’ve been contemplating what I need to work on, I keep coming back to basics. The really simple things, that make the biggest difference in life.
This is one of the biggest areas that I myself (and I’m sure many other people) overlook when I look to change something. I look at things and think I need to get them done as fast as possible, so I think “I’m going to do x cold turkey” and if I “fail” at what I set out to do, I give up.
More recently though, I’ve been realizing that making small changes are far better than making no changes at all. The past week, I’ve changed my habit of getting an original Rockstar to start my day. I’ve been going for the Recovery versions (the Lemonade or the Orange flavors specifically). This morning when I showed up for my FCHD 1010 (Family, Consumer, Human Development) class we were going over nutrition. There were some interesting numbers that the teach gave us.
For instance 1 lb. of fat is 3,500 calories. A plate of restaurant cheese fries are about 3000 calories, and if you think you’ll just burn them off with exercise it’ll take about 30 miles of walking to burn the calories from the cheese fries.
To correlate that with my Rockstar habit, I generally drink a 16 oz can. 8 oz has 140 calories, the majority of which are from sugar (at least it’s only sucrose instead of high fructose corn syrup). So that one can is worth 280 calories, the recovery variety have 10 calories in 8 oz. So that comes out to 20 calories per can (ehhh derppp Brandon, we can count).
But just by changing that I’ve gotten rid of 260 calories per day. If I don’t change anything else, 1820 calories in a week. After two weeks that’s a pound worth of calories I’ve cut from my diet. Over the course of a year that’s 24 pounds worth of fat that won’t have accumulated in my system. Which means I may potentially loose half the weight I’m shooting to loose this year.
That’s by just changing one habit!
This example also specifically illustrates the step-down principle.
It’s a simple idea but as I illustrated previously, it can make a big difference really quickly. It’s a perfect example of incremental change as well.
Taking my Rockstar example, I stepped down from a 280 calorie drink to a 20 calorie drink. The next step is to step down to only water. I don’t know how long it will be until I do that (or if I’ll do it), but I’ve still stepped down. As an inverse, I’ve also been stepping up my water intake.
One simple way I’ve done that is to make the first thing I have in the morning a glass of water.
I go into the bathroom and take care of whatever needs to be taken care of, then make sure I wash my hands and drink a glass of water before I leave the bathroom.
Another example of inverse might be to step up your exercise.
From about age 21 to about age 27 I was pretty active, then I got some burnout with Martial Arts and slowed down up until recently. Something else I’ve been doing is making sure I go to classes regularly, usually twice a week. Now that I’ve been getting more regular with attending classes again, I just started going to the gym again. I’ve started with some basic weights, focusing on areas that will help my Martial Arts ability (specifically lats, triceps, and pectorals). I’ve also started doing some cardio for about 5-10 minutes on a bike.
At the moment I’m just planning on spending an hour a week at the gym. I imagine in a couple weeks I’ll probably start going twice a week.
Practice Practice Practice!
Reading through the Book of Five Rings, Musashi talks constantly about how “the way” is in training.
Any good martial artist will always spend time going over basics as part of their regimen. The reason is simply because all of the sophisticated methods that are employed are built on those basics.
They’re building blocks toward bigger things.
Those building blocks are constantly smoothed and refined to create an extremely tight fitting and strong structure to build a more sophisticated structure on top of.
Even if things are basic, mistakes are made all the time. Does that mean that they’re given up on?
Just keep working at them and they’ll improve.