Step 4 of improving yourself involves enjoying what you do.
Some things in our lives are hard to control. Let's not try sugar coat things, people's jobs are a great example of something that not everyone has control over. Sure, there will be those that will tell you to just up and quit your job if you don't like it, but more often than not, there are major repercussions that follow an attempted career change. This is even more prevalent if you have a family that relies on you and your income.
Sure, there are things in our lives that we have little to no control over, but there are many things that everyone does have control over but simply choose to be miserable. I want you to do your best and take control of two of the most important things involved in your life - and enjoy every minute of it!
First is diet.
I will admit that growing up, my family was a very "basic" in terms of what we ate. Our idea of vegetables consisted of corn, potatoes, and sometimes peas. As I got older, and made it out into the world on my own, my wife (then girlfriend) helped and inspired me to try new foods.
I now consider myself a vegetable fanatic. There is still a pretty big list of items that I have never tried before, but the list of things that I now eat is far greater than what it used to be.
This took some time to get used to. Since I wasn't too accustomed to eating certain fruits and vegetables, I would try things here and there, and eventually my grocery list began to change to include far more fresh produce. Now, my wife and I joke about how much of our fridge, beyond just the vegetable crisper, is taken up by fresh fruits and veggies.
The mental approach I took towards eating new and healthy foods is a multi-step approach. First, I would read about the benefits of a certain food. Once I learned how tremendously beneficial something is for my mind and body, I would then learn ways to use it in my meals as basic as possible (free from sauces, as raw as possible to maintain its benefits). Then I pick some up at the grocery store and give it a shot. If it is something that I really cannot bring myself to eat consistently, then I re-evaluate new ways to eat it, ways that I will at least somewhat enjoy!
Sure, there are items of food that you absolutely can't bring yourself to eat, but maybe that is because you haven't found the best way to prepare it.
Also, what has helped me is keeping the mindset that although food and dining should be a pleasurable experience, it really only has one sole purpose and that is to fuel your body. Professional racecar drivers do not use your standard, regular unleaded, they go for premium fuel. I know that if I wish to continue to stay as active as I like to be, then I need to find the best possible fuel to put in my body, which means I absolutely need to find ways that I can enjoy eating said foods.
Secondly, exercise should also be enjoyable!
I can't believe how often I hear folks moan and complain about a workout they "have to do". Who says you have to do anything? I am assuming that if you are reading this blog, you at least have some freedoms and free time to choose what you wish to do at your leisure.
I always shake my head when I hear people complain about their workout, as if somebody, somewhere is cracking the whip on them forcing them into manual, slave labor.
If you are "exercising", but hate doing it, then change what you are doing! Do you have going to the gym? Go for a run outside. Can't run because it's winter? Go for a nice, long, challenging hike. Don't like running? Go for do some lane swimming or buy a bike.
There are SO many options available to people, yet somehow, folks everywhere make up their mind that "exercise" has to be this monotonous, torturous event.
There are days when I hate the thought of doing a specific workout as well. So instead of just skipping it altogether, I change things up and do something I enjoy doing instead.
I feel the problem with most people is that they know they should exercise and eat healthy, but feel that it just isn't 'fun', or requires too much effort. You may even feel relatively healthy at this point in time, so it is hard to see the number of benefits that will be paid back to you as you age gracefully if you lead a lifestyle that is active and healthy.
One thing that I remind myself on a day to day basis is that finding ways to enjoy healthy foods and finding exercises/activities that keep me interested is the best way to stick with something long-term. If you hate what you do or hate what you eat, there is not a chance in hell you are going to stick with it. You have the freedom, opportunity, and resources available to you right now at this very moment to find something that you will enjoy. If you don't have the resources available, then go make it happen!
Quote of the day:
"I was never afraid of failure, for I would sooner fail than not be among the best."
~ John Keats