What are you health priorities?

Over the last couple of weeks, I realised how important it is to set priorities for your work. Every evening I write down my 3 MITs (thanks to Leo Babauta for that concept), my 3 “Most Important Tasks” that I want to do the next day. So far this is working quite well. Before that, I wasn’t really good at choosing the right work to do.

I went with the flow, which, luckily, most of the time ended up to be the right thing to do.

Since using this technique I know what to do and I know what to do first since it’s usually best to do the important stuff first.

Another great benefit, at least for me, is its simplicity. I love when things are simple and I hate to overcomplicate things. I tried task management tools and software, but until now I haven’t found one that’s a good match. They’re all making things too complicated, at least for me.

Working on those 3 MITs on a daily basis gives me enough room to pursue other things of my interest, but I can also do additional work when it is needed.

Now since I’m a “health” guy, I thought about transferring this system to health as well. Would that work?

When it comes to health I also like the same principle: simplicity. Health should be as simple as possible. A detailed exercise program is worth nothing if it’s not executed because it “appears” to be too complicated.

In my opinion, simplifying your health is one of the most important things you can do, because it not only increases the probability of you getting started but also the probability of you taking consistent action. The key ingredients, when it comes to health.

At first, I thought this was great. Every evening besides your work tasks, you think about what your most important tasks for your health are, your Health Priorities (HP’s). It probably takes you 5 minutes, but it could have tremendous effects on your health, especially in the long run.

For starters, this sounds quite good. Set specific Health Priorities in the prior evening.

But then I realised that many people will choose Health Priorities that can’t be done in the morning. For example these 3:

  1. Drink a glass of water after waking up (because you know you don’t drink enough during the day).
  2. Go for a 10-minute walk during my lunch break (because you sit too much and aren’t getting enough fresh air.
  3. Turn off all electronics 15 minutes before going to bed (because you know you’ll sleep too little and electronics will keep you awake.)

The problem with these, as mentioned, is that you’re not going to do all of them first thing in the morning, especially when one of them has something to do with your sleep.

The question that came up was  “Is it necessary to do them first thing in the morning?”

No, it isn’t. You could but you don’t have to. Since those are your health priorities you can do whatever YOU want.

I was also thinking about putting all small health priorities in the morning, but there were several problems with that as well.

Most people simply don’t have the time in the morning to do all of their HP’s right then. Although getting up earlier and adding them to your morning could have a positive effect, I wanted the invasiveness of this concept to be as little as possible.

In case you belong to those people that could do all HP’s in their morning, here’s an example set up:

  1. Drink a glass of water after waking up.
  2. Do 10 push ups and 10 squats.
  3. Meditate for 5-10 minutes.

I tried this myself and it had a positive impact on my day. Research even confirms that exercising in the morning improves your mood over the next 12 hours.

For people who don’t have the time in the morning yet, or simply want to ease into this process, I came up with a specific system, which I’m testing myself at the moment. It goes like this:

  1. Have a quick win in the morning
  2. Have a boost at noon. 
  3. Relax in the evening.

1. Quick win in the morning.

I already touched this a bit, when I mentioned the exercise mood boost above. Doing one of your HP’s in the morning will give you a boost and a quick win. There’s a great video about how making your bed first thing in the morning sets you up for a successful day because it’s already a task you’ve finished.

The same things happen with this Health Priority. Think about it. 10 minutes after waking up, you already know that you’ve done something for your health today, wouldn’t that be great?

Whether it’s 10 pushups, drinking a glass of water or taking a cold shower. All of them take less than 10 minutes and you’ll not only have a quick win but literally a boost in your mood.

2. Have a boost at noon.

Speaking of boosts. Sometimes I could really need a boost during noon. For me, that’s a great time to include a walk or a little exercise. Having a healthy lunch, i.e. a delicious salad, that won’t make me tired, is also an excellent choice.

Having this boost at lunch, as your second Health Priority will give you the energy you need to make the rest of the day great. Imagine getting out of the office at noon and taking a 10-minute walk in the fresh air. Wouldn’t that be great?

That’s why I think the second Health Priority should be placed at noon, to give you this boost.

3. Relax in the evening. 

Your third and final Health Priority is placed in the evening. Whether it’s getting to bed a little earlier or doing a 10-minute meditation it should be something that relaxes you. Something that helps you to calm down and get rid of the stress and thoughts of the day.

Journaling might be a great thing to do as well. Pick something related to relaxation or sleep, since you don’t want to get energised or bloated after eating a big meal or doing a high intense workout.

Placing this last Health Priority in the evening also decreases the time until your next HP in the morning, which increases the probability of sticking to them consistently.

I guess this 3 step system could really help many people to live healthier and stick to their healthy habits. It’s simple and provides small steps that are not too difficult to include in your day.

Remember: It’s not a competition. Choose your own Health Priorities and maybe orientate yourself on the guidelines I presented. Choose the tasks that fits your lifestyle the best.

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