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You Should Always be Setting Goals - Part 2

You Should Always be Setting Goals - Part 2

Jun 25, 2024

Eric Evans

You Should Always be Setting Goals

Part 2

In last week’s newsletter we outlined a few goals that have nothing to do with the scale or how many pull-ups you can do but are worth their weight in gold. Did you pencil any in? How did it go?

Let’s continue the list with a few more.

Increase quality sleep time

Sleep is big – it has a profound effect on every aspect of your health…literally. There are countless reasons we don’t get enough quality sleep. So where do you start? The simplest place to start (if you have one) is a sleep tracker (aka a wearable). Almost every fitness tracker has sleep tracking features built into it. I am a big fan of wearables – they continue to get better at monitoring so many aspects of a day in the life. Sleep features are nice because you don’t have to tell it to track the data when you are dozing off; they do them automatically. I wear an Oura ring and a Polar Ignite 3 to bed. People that know me always say, “of course you do!”

If you have a wearable, start paying attention to your sleep data. It’ll give you a much more detailed picture of how good your sleep is. Whether you do or don’t have wearable, the one thing you can do is to start improving your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is habits, behaviors, and environmental factors that help you get the best night of sleep possible.

Spend time alone

Sometimes spending time alone is the best way to decompress from a busy professional (and social) life. Maybe you feel burnt out from constantly socializing, working with people and tending to the needs of those you live with. If this is the case, spending more time alone may be a healthy break. Setting aside time for yourself gives you the opportunity to engage in activities that interest you. And if you'd rather use that time to relax, even a few hours of alone time every week can provide you the much-needed window to practice self-care.

Spending time alone is beneficial for your well-being in more ways than one. According to a Michigan State University study, taking time for yourself can also:

  • Improve your creativity
  • Help you become more self-sufficient
  • Encourage self-reflection
  • Give you a sense of freedom

Learn How to Better Manage Stress

Stress in life is inevitable, and like sleep...effects everything! Yoga and meditation are great stress-relievers, and so is just about any type of exercise known to man. We have little to no control over the majority of stressors in our lives, but we do have a say in how we manage stress and let it affect our day-to-day life. Too much stress is unhealthy, as it releases the hormone cortisol in our bodies that can negatively affect blood pressure and metabolism, among other things. Try to regularly engage in mindfulness activities so you can better recognize the signs of stress in the body.

One of the keys to managing stress is sleep and down time. Physical activity helps reduce cortisol levels. Mix in some daily training AND spend a few minutes at the end of the day meditating and you’ll be stacking stress management 101 tips on another level. That’s a few small daily investments that amount to great (some might even consider) live-saving benefits.

Find a better work-life balance

Saying "no" to extra responsibilities at the office may help you find a better work-life balance. Whether it's an overloaded email inbox or long hours, work can be a source of stress. But setting the intention to create a better work-life balance in the new year may help you calm some of that anxiety.

This is easier said than done, though, which is why attempts to build a work-life balance are often abandoned. Denying yourself the time to decompress and enjoy life outside of your career can contribute to fatigue, stress, poor health and even conditions like substance use disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Here are some tips to help you find a better balance:

  • Don't over-schedule yourself.
  • Prioritize your responsibilities and tasks, and then say "no" to asks that aren't in line with those goals.
  • Disconnect at the end of the workday — don't check your email or take calls from colleagues.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for what you need, whether that's time off, flexibility with your work hours or help on a project.

Improve your posture

Improving your posture will improve your health and fitness in a number of ways. It’ll reduce neck and back pain and could also help with headaches (80% of headaches start at the neck). Circulation will be increased, and oxygen intake will increase by about 30%. You’ll have better digestion, more energy and be in a better mood (it improves your self-esteem and confidence). It’ll also improve your appearance – you’ll look taller, slimmer and more confident. That’s a lot of benefit by just working on better posture.

Strengthening your core can help improve your posture and decrease back pain. Maintaining good posture is crucial when you exercise to help ensure good form. It's also important in everyday life — in fact, bad posture is one of the top causes of chronic aching backs. Here are some things you can do, right there in your office to help improve your posture:

  • Switch sitting positions often.
  • Take brief walks around your office.
  • Do a gentle stretch once an hour to help relieve muscle tension
  • Don’t cross your legs; keep your feet flat on the floor with your ankles in front of your knees.
  • Keep your computer monitor at eye level.
  • Pull your shoulders back and your back flat against your chair.
If you can work on all the things on this list starting tomorrow, great. At least start with 1 or 2…it could be the jumpstart you need to make some healthy improvements to your health and fitness! In the meantime, make it a great week.