Yeah, it’s crazy to get up at 4:35 am. But it can work. You might be surprised at how much you can get down with just a couple extra hours in the morning.

Dear ‘The Early Bird Catches the Worm,’

The early worm gets eaten.

Sincerely, Sleeping In”

 

My husband posted on Facebook the other day about some successes we’ve had recently. In posting his gratitude, he acknowledged that our rewards justified waking up at 4:35 a.m. most days of the week.

The point on which most people fixated was not the successes but his admission that we wake up so damn early.

You don’t need to wake up early to be successful. Legendary night owls include Leonardo Da Vinci and Bob Dylan.

For us, though, it works to wake up early. Someone asked why, on earth, we do this. So, here you go.

We’re in control of how our days start.

We began this hairy scary schedule when we were both employed by a W-2 and decided we wanted to start a business. Between the commute and the workday, we were always preoccupied from what we really wanted to do. The only way to squeeze more time into the day was to wake up early.

To be sure, we could’ve stayed up later, but by the time we were done with the bullshit of a day’s worth of work for someone else, we simply wanted a bottle of wine, dark chocolate, and Netflix. We don’t crave mimosas until 10 am, so even on weekends waking up at 4:35 gave us five and a half hours’ worth of work.

We’re in sync with New York City.

Both of our careers have been in financial service. We were both traders once and our personal business is personal finance. It’s not a big deal, but for us, we feel like we miss the day if we wake up two or three hours after the stock market does.

Plus, more than half the country is in the eastern time zone and it feels easier to sync up with them.

Idle hands and all.

Waking early means we have more work hours available to us because we have fewer play hours. Knowing that the alarm will go off early tomorrow ensures better decisions early tonight.

We typically eat less junk food and dessert at night. That way, we fall asleep more quickly and we won’t have a glass or two of wine.

On the flip side, we’re not above partying until the wee hours of the morning. When we did, though, we were less productive. Sticking with an early wake-up call helps us avoid the late-night bender.

We have time to take care of ourselves.

Now that our side gig became my main gig and my main man still works for The Man, we don’t wake up at 4:35 am anymore to work. We wake up at 4:30 am to workout.

Working out and staying in shape is important to us. Even just working one full-time job makes working out hard. Add to that more work and our brains can easily talk us out of hitting the gym.

Plus, see above our evening craving for wine, chocolate, and Netflix. Working out towards the end of the day would require a violation of physical law.

We have time to take care of our spirits.

We didn’t fully integrate this practice, too, until I quit my W-2 and we had more bandwidth. Until then, this was a weekend luxury. Now, this is a daily practice before the sun rises in most parts of the United States.

While we’re the most refreshed and rejuvenated, we do our morning ritual of meditation, journaling, and affirmations. Busting these out first thing in the morning ensures that we do them and we feel all the better for it. If we waited until later in the day, we’d skip them.

Now, when we wake up, they’re the very first things we do. So, even while we’re waking, we’re getting ready for our daily practice that keeps us centered and grounded throughout the day.

We avoid the crowds.

Especially when we were both working a W-2, being efficient with our time was a necessity. Only a few crazies are at the gym before 5:30 am. We happily admit we’re two of them.

We’re at the gym when fewer people are, and we bust out a duo superset of weights and cardio all within an hour. We leave before most people arrive. And, my husband still has time to get to work, which is the other benefit.

Rush hour traffic where we live anyway starts about 7 am. If the husband can get on the road by 6:45, he misses most or all the traffic to start his workday early and end his work day earlier.

Our best sleep is the sleep we get before midnight.

Studies show the sleep we get before midnight is more valuable than the sleep we get after midnight.

As we get older, this seems truer. Therefore, we strive to have “heads on pillows” by 9 pm. It doesn’t always happen and whether it does or it doesn’t we can tell the next day.

Everyone else is doing it.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

However, many successful people do it. An amazing boss of mine said to me once, “Find out what successful people do and do that.”

There are many people, such as the Da Vincis and Dylans of the world who rock it late at night. They seem to follow in the sleep cycle of the more creative types.

There’s certainly a strain of creativity in what we do for our side business, but there’s a lot of business, as well as critical and strategic thinking required. For this reason, we’ll follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Obama and Richard Branson.

For us for now, the early schedule works. Very soon the S.O. will quit his J.O.B. (just over broke). After that, we may wake up later, like 5:30 am.

Or, maybe not.

If it’s ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

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Does religion = spirituality? Maybe not. You can be a spiritual person without religion. And maybe even without God.

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According to the PEW research center, fewer Americans are religious. Even if they believe in God or a higher power, many Americans balk at being considered part of a religious group.

On top of that, the number of Americans who don’t believe in God is on the rise.

So, what’s happening to spirituality? And is religiousity really the same thing?

Maybe not. You might be surprised to discover that your own spirituality isn’t dependent on whether or not you follow a religion — or even whether or not you believe in any sort of a God.

Concepts

  • What is spirituality?
  • Is a belief in God or in some type of higher power or energy necessary to be spiritual?
  • Can you create your own spirituality without the need for religion?
  • How to develop a moral compass without a religion telling you what to do.
  • The importance of connecting to other people, no matter your spiritual tradition.
  • Benefits of spirituality.
  • How to use your own brand of spirituality to add meaning and purpose to your life.
  • Tips for developing more spirituality — with or without a belief in a higher power.
  • The goal of continued personal progress and self-improvement.
  • Appreciation for nature and other people.
  • Using your spirituality to help others and better the world.

This week’s DO NOWS focus on your values and using them to develop your own brand of spirituality. We suggest making a life map to get there. You can find examples of life maps from both Harlan and Miranda.

You can also research communities and organizations in your local area to find people who share your values. Finally, come up with three experiences that can help you enhance your spirituality. List them, and work toward them this month.

Our listener question is kind of sensitive, dealing with transitioning out of religion. We offer some thoughts on how to help your parents see your spirituality and love, even if you have decided that their religion is not for you.

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Resources

Americans are less religious
How Americans feel about different groups
Americans don’t trust atheists

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Tired of all the negativity? Time to turn it around. Take steps to adopt a positive mindset.

You’re awesome!

Do you know that?

You’re so awesome that it took 13.8 billion years to create you. You’re awesome because you are star dust. You traveled through the far reaches of space to get here at this time and this place.

The world needs what you and only you can give.

These are truths to think about when you’re in a negative space. When you’re thinking negative thoughts about yourself or your life. We quickly forget about how awesome it is that we’re here on this Earth at this time. Whether part of a master plan or a cosmic accident, it’s amazing that you and I are here.

That doesn’t mean that some days, some weeks, some years are harder than others. Here are five tips to use when you’re in a negative mental place and need to adopt a positive mindset:

Happiness isn’t a destination.

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Happiness isn’t a destination. If you always wait to arrive at happiness, you’ll never get there. I may ruffle feathers with this, but happiness is a choice. If you want to adopt a positive mindset, start there.

Misery loves company. It’s easy to gravitate toward — or be — the Negative Nancy or the Kelvin Killjoy. If you want to bitch about work, about politics, about last night’s game or anything, you’ll find comradery quickly. Negative people feed off negative people, which can lead to a perpetual cycle of negativity.

People proudly, often too proudly, proclaim that they’re quitting Facebook, taking a social media hiatus or completed a mass-unfollowing. They’re shedding negativity in some way, shape or form. They choose to stop feeding off negativity.

When you intentionally choose happiness every day, you’ll be happier.

Even a fake smile helps.

So, you’ve chosen to go against your “tude” and be happy.

What do you do? For starters, fake a smile. Even a fake smile releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin into our bodies. These hormones are known as the “happy chemicals.”

Just when you don’t want to smile is the perfect time to smile. Force a smile for yourself and then smile at someone else. Smiles are contagious, and the world would benefit from a pandemic of smiles. Plus, it will go a long way as you work to adopt a positive mindset.

Connect with awesome people.

We’re social creatures, even possibly social aliens as we are all made of stars. As I said, misery loves company, and some company is perpetually miserable. As Bob Proctor says, you don’t need to cut these people out of your life if they’re important to you. Just spend less time with them less frequently.

Replace your time spent with miserable people with individuals who lift you up. Better yet, as Lisa Nichols says, “Surround yourself with people who make you stand on your tippy toes.” They’ll help you become a better version of yourself.

If you fill your life with more positive people, you’ll feel more positive, and you’ll produce better results. When you harness this power of positivity, you can use it to help your less positive friends and family.

Have positively positive thoughts.

We often think we’re trying to be positive when we’re negative. As Jake Ducey says, when we think positively about getting the things we want, we’re coming from a place of lack. For example, when you say, “I know I can be more positive,” you’re acknowledging that you lack positivity and you’re in search of it. You don’t have it now. So, act as though you already have it.

Oprah said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah made no mention of paying attention to or focusing on what you’re lacking, not even to overcome a scarcity mindset.

We all want to end war, right? As Ducey shared, Mother Theresa used positively thinking positive thoughts best when she said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” Anti-war demonstrations, the War on Drugs, the War on Crime and the War on Poverty are all counter-productive because they all start from a place of negativity.

If we focus on uplifting each other and the world, we’ll get more positive results.

Motivate yourself in the second person.

We all talk to ourselves. The problem is, as Mel Robbins says, “If others heard how we talk to ourselves we’d be put in an institution.” Too often we consciously and unconsciously speak to ourselves, negatively and it’s the unconscious negative talk about which we really should be concerned.

Positive self-talk in the first-person isn’t enough, though. Internal dialogue like, “I’m happy,” “I’m a good person,” “I can do this,” and other positive statements are acceptable. They’re certainly better than the opposite. However, research shows that there’s a better way to talk to yourself and it’s a way many of the most successful people speak to themselves.

Dr. Srini Pillay says that research shows that talking to yourself in the second person produces even better results. We like to compliment ourselves, but we value compliments from others more. Use this strategy in place of receiving the same validation from others.

The good news is that it’s positively possible to change your negative mindset and adopt a positive mindset. It just takes a little bit of faith and trying some unique, even seemingly weird tricks to turn that frown upside down.

Oh, if none of the above helps, go to Toys R Us. One can’t stay negative playing with children’s toys.

Every single blade of grass,
And every flake of snow –
Is just a wee bit different …
There’s no two alike, you know.

From something small, like grains of sand,
To each gigantic star
All were made with this in mind:
To be just what they are!

How foolish then, to imitate –
How useless to pretend!
Since each of us comes from a mind
Whose ideas never end.

There’ll only be just one of me
To show what I can do –
And you should likewise feel very proud,
There’s only one of you.

That is where it all starts
With you, a wonderful
unlimited human being.

“One and Only You” by James T. Moore

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If you’re not making any progress on your reading list, read more using the best apps and technology.

Maybe you’ve been following along with our reading series. Maybe you’ve gone through all the benefits of reading and maybe you’ve even signed up for our reading challenge. But maybe you’re struggling to get those books read because you can’t find the time or you can’t get to the library or buying books isn’t in your budget right now. And maybe it’s making you not want to read.

That’s not cool. Not cool at all.

Fortunately for you, there’s a ton of apps that you can add right to your smartphone or tablet that give you access to all the books you can want, making it easier for you to find and take your books with you. Best of all? Most of them are free!

Here are some of my favorites:

Kindle. If you want the benefits of a Kindle without buying one (or if you’re like me, you want one but don’t want another device to keep track of), all you have to do is download the app to your phone or tablet. It’s free and you get most the perks of owning a Kindle (for instance, you can’t access the Kindle lending library or Amazon store directly from the app. At least I can’t. If you know how to do this, please share your tricks.)

Flipster. This is a free library app for magazines. It’s great if you want to read magazines but don’t want to commit to any subscriptions. You can’t get all the magazines but you can get a lot and there’s a ton of variety. All you need is a library card.

Overdrive. Another free library app but this one is for books. You can access your library’s entire eBook catalog (pro tip: sometimes the wait for an eBook, especially a new or popular book, is shorter) and not only that, you can add books from places like Project Gutenberg (more about that in a minute) and you can read books directly on the app. Again, all you need is a library card. P.S., you can also get audiobooks via Overdrive.

Project Gutenberg. An online database of free eBooks that have expired US copyright protections. That means not only can you read them for free, you can use the material in them as you see fit. A word of caution: double check to make sure the book you’re reading has an expired copyright as there are some with protections.

BookBub. A daily deals site exclusively for eBooks. Books range from obscure to popular, there’s a range of genres, and there are often free books available.

Serial Reader. Not to be confused with the incredible podcast, Serial Reader is an app that helps you read classics in 20 minutes a day. It’s perfect for people who want to dive into classic literature but don’t have a ton of time each day.

Litsy. A hybrid of Instagram and Goodreads, and it’s exclusively devoted to bookish things so if you find yourself scrolling through IG just for book pictures or reviews, or for ideas on what books to read, get on Litsy stat.

NetGalley. THE source for ARCs. They’re free, they’re eBooks, and the only thing you need to do is review the book somewhere. You won’t always get all the books you request but you will get most of them. The best part is finding ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of books by popular authors and getting to read them before all your friends.

iBooks. If you have an iPhone, you don’t even need anything else because you have a bookstore and reading app built into your phone! If you use your library app or Overdrive or any of the other ones listed, you can have the book delivered right to your phone in ePub format for easy iPhone reading.

Google Play Books. Similar to iBooks but I’m not sure if it comes as a default on Androids. If not, you can simply download it and access the millions of books in the Google library.

For those who like audiobooks, there’s Audible. However, it’s not included on the list because not only is there a membership fee, you have to pay for the audiobooks. Same for Kindle Unlimited. You pay a monthly fee ($9.99) but unlike Audible, you can download and read all the books you want without an additional cost.

Now that you have your books literally at your fingertips, it’s up to you to carve out the time to use them. My favorite tip? Every time you feel the urge to open Facebook, open your reading app instead. Before you know it, you’ll be through one book and onto the next!

What apps do you use to keep up with your reading? If you use any of the above, which are your favorites?

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You won’t get everything you want. Not everything will work out. And that’s ok.

At this point in my life, I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve been rejected.

It’s a pretty humbling experience being rejected for the things that you want in your life: love, jobs, opportunities and more.

At a moment in history when it feels like people are pushing back from the notion that they even could be rejected from what they want, I would like to argue that the experience of being rejected is even more important than ever.

Rejection makes you tough.

Rejection gives you balls.

Not the real ones. The metaphorical balls of a person who has to learn how to dig in deeper, consider doing something a different way, or re-imagine how to reach goals that they hope to achieve because they failed the first time.

Do you remember when you experienced your first epic rejection?

For many people, it could be the experience of getting a rejection letter from the college that you had to get into. For me, it was Northwestern in Chicago. I actually was accepted by the other six colleges that I applied to. However, I got a big fat “no” from Northwestern, and it hurt.

Did that rejection end my world? No. I worked with the cards that I was dealt and ended up going to a university in the same conference and receiving an excellent education. I don’t wonder about “what if?” Because that ship has sailed.

Don’t focus on the “what if?”

Many people who experience rejection focus on the “what if?”

They ask themselves “what if I had married that guy/girl?” Well, you didn’t. You experienced something else instead.

Asking yourself “what if I had gone to Colombia instead of Australia?” is pointless. You didn’t.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, I would love to share some of the moments of rejection that I’ve experienced. Time to get real.

  • I auditioned for the Denver Broncos Cheerleading squad two or three times. One of those times I made it to the second or third round (it has been awhile) I didn’t get it.
  • I auditioned for the Denver Nuggets dance squad. I was rocking it out when the girl next to me fell, so I helped her get up. She got up and kept dancing. She moved forward to the next round. I didn’t.
  • I remember wanting to date this one guy who just didn’t seem to be that into me. We hooked up. Ahem. He still didn’t want to date me.
  • I’ve pitched a session or panel to a conference that I attend yearly. I still haven’t had a session picked. Plus, I’ve never won an award from that community and I still continue to attend and smile.

These experiences have taught me to manage these situations with short and long-term solutions. In the short-term, it’s perfectly fine to be devastated about an outcome that hasn’t worked out the way that you expected.

But it doesn’t help to sit around asking yourself “what if?” all the time. You’ll be much better off in the long run if you acknowledge the experiences you have had and dwell less on the rejection.

Grit and resilience through rejection.

Rejection is basically the other side of the reality that not everything will go your way. That’s a really good thing.

Suck it up buttercup, life doesn’t always work the way you want it to.

But that doesn’t mean you give up. It’s important to embrace strategies that will help you cope during those moments when you get kicked in the pants by life.

Keep things in perspective. Most people in the U.S. experience First World Problem rejections. We get rejected for the types of things that are beyond the dreams of most people. At the end of the day, you still have running water, electricity, and clothes on your back.

Understand that this is just one moment in time. Other opportunities to be accepted or rejected will continue to present themselves to you each and every day.

Embrace the experience, even if it’s painful. There is an old saying, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved before.” Rejection basically is an experience that people have when they put themselves out there and open themselves to the reality of a well-lived life.

Rejection opens new paths

I don’t regret falling in love with past loves that didn’t work out.

I am now able to look back at different relationships that didn’t work out and acknowledge my part in the breakdown of each relationship.

I’m also able to reflect on most of those relationships and remember the good and the bad without feeling upset about how those relationships ended. With time I’ve learned that every relationship has a season and that the ones that didn’t work weren’t meant to be.

I think of the jobs that I didn’t get and am amazed by how happy I am now that they didn’t work out.

Rejection has made me a much more empathetic, relatable, and thoughtful person. I’m sure if everything had always worked the way that I wanted it to when rejection finally knocked at my door I would have been devastated and ill-equipped to deal with it.

Finally, if you’re having a hard time dealing with rejection, check out the following celebrity stories: Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and Jim Lee.

Remember, rejection offers a person two different opportunities: to become dejected or create fuel for the “next” thing.

What will you decide to do the next time you’re rejected?

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Outgoing introversion: it’s actually a thing. Here’s what you need to know if you are an introvert, but still a little on the outgoing side.

This article was written by Zina’s husband Sam Leffers. He has experience with the challenges that come when you’re an outgoing introvert.

Do you ever crave social interaction while alone, and alone time while socializing? Do you look forward to parties or events, only to end up leaving early? Do you constantly swing between being a rock star and a party pooper?

Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with you – clinically, at least. You’re just a walking, talking contradiction. You fit the confusing archetype known as the outgoing introvert.

How can an introvert be outgoing?

Telling someone you’re an introvert can be a gamble. You might get lucky and meet someone who understands the distinction. But more often than not you’ll be labeled as shy, quiet, or downright antisocial.

Most people don’t understand introversion. The term has been around for nearly a century, but it’s often confused for social anxiety or misanthropy – something that annoys introverts to no end.

In reality, introversion has nothing to do with a fear of crowds or a distaste for others. It’s entirely about energy consumption and replenishment. An extrovert gains energy from interacting, socializing and being around people, while those same actions can leave an introvert drained. An introvert recharges by spending time alone, where an extrovert just loses steam.

That distinction is pretty cut and dry, but almost nobody fits completely into one camp or the other. Like most psychological traits, it falls on a spectrum. Some people lean almost completely towards one side or the other, while some land directly in the middle.

While introverts may need a little more “me time,” they absolutely can and do enjoy interacting with others. That’s where the struggle of the outgoing introvert begins.

You want to be with people and alone at the same time.

Imagine that right now, this instant, you became lactose intolerant. Maybe you don’t have to. Would you stop enjoying the taste of ice cream? Of course you wouldn’t. Being intolerant to lactose doesn’t change how the rocky road tastes. But you’d be dealing with a world of pain if you ate too much.

It’s the same for an outgoing introvert. They may want nothing more than to hang out at the bar with their friends, but they’ll be dealing with more than just an alcohol hangover the next day.

If they stay in, they’ll spend the whole night wondering how much fun everyone else is having. They constantly have to gauge when they’ve had enough socializing and need to go home. If they stay out past that time, it’ll be worse than when Cinderella broke curfew.

No one believes you’re an introvert.

When you tell the average person to imagine an introvert, they’ll conjure up images of social misfits, shy bookworms, and anxious wallflowers. Believe it or not, an introvert can be a natural leader, the life of the party, or a class clown.

If someone in this position tells a friend or coworker they need some space, they’ll probably be met with one of the following:

“You can’t be an introvert. You’re so friendly!”

“You don’t need to be alone, that’s depressing! Let’s grab a coffee to cheer you up.”

“Are you sure? Jane is an introvert, and you guys are nothing alike.”

This leads to a lot of hiding out in storage closets, searching for secret lunch spots and leaving through the back door at parties.

Such is the life of an outgoing introvert. Other introverts who are less social might scoff at your ability to be comfortable around groups of people while claiming to be an introvert.

You constantly need to enforce boundaries.

If you’re an introvert, you’re probably also a good listener. That makes you a magnet for people who like to gab, gossip and hang out. If you also like to socialize, you’ll probably end up meeting a lot of extroverts who feel drawn to that open-eared charm.

That’s not always a good thing.

It’s great to make new friends, but introverts tend to have a lower threshold for how many relationships they can take on.

Their actions may be confusing and contradictory to some – charming and conversational in person, but reluctant to make plans or deepen a friendship. If you find yourself receiving and turning down a lot of invites, this article might be about you.

You run out of steam quickly.

When an introvert crashes from too much social stimulation, it’s not pretty. An outgoing introvert is constantly riding that wave. They may be cracking jokes and telling stories in the break room one minute, only to end up grumpy and ill-mannered before the lunch break is up.

For them, interaction is like exercise. Most people don’t gradually lose stamina throughout the course of a run – they tend to feel fine right up until they hit a wall and fall apart. If you notice an introvert has hit their wall, you’ll want to exit the area – quickly.

Know yourself and what you can handle.

If you now realize that you’re an outgoing introvert, it’s time to make sure you can handle your social interactions.

Pay attention to what drains you. Be upfront with your loved ones about what you need. It can be confusing for people who don’t understand the situation to know how to react to you.

In fact, you might just be learning how to handle your needs and react to the situation. But, now that you know what’s going on, and that this whole outgoing introversion is a Thing, you can adjust your own expectations and help those around you understand you as well.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Where do you fall on the spectrum? Let us know by joining the conversation in the #Adulting community on Facebook.

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Want better health? You may have to get off your lazy ass. The good news is that you might not have to get off it for very long.

I hate exercise.

I literally have to trick myself into it by being active in ways I don’t associate with exercise.

Unfortunately, it’s not always effective. I can’t make it to the pool each day. I don’t always make time for a bike ride. Getting to the mountains for a hike isn’t always feasible.

In a world where the research says, “Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity,” it can feel like a serious endeavor to live healthy.

Generally, in order to make it work, the experts recommend spreading the workouts over a period of days. Exercise every day (or at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week), and you reap the benefits.

But what if you could stave off early death and a host of problems by exercising only two days a week?

Nice!

Thanks to science, you might be off the hook. At least for some of the time.

Health benefits from exercising one or two days a week

What if you don’t want to try to exercise each day?

Sure, you can break it up into 10 minutes sessions each day to feel better about the whole thing. But what if you don’t even want to do that?

But what if you don’t even want to do that?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it’s possible to get solid health benefits from cramming it all in on the weekend.

Here’s what one of the study’s authors, Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, said about the results:

It is very encouraging news that being physically active on just one or two occasions per week is associated with a lower risk of death, even among people who do some activity but don’t quite meet recommended exercise levels.

That’s right. Even if you don’t get up to that 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) exercise, even just going for it one or two days a week can help reduce some of the health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle.

Adopt the weekend warrior exercise lifestyle.

This takes the concept of minimum exercise to the next level. And it also makes it easier to follow the “trick yourself” method of exercise.

Think about it: I don’t have to try to exercise every day. If I just take half a Saturday, my son and I can ride bikes to the Greenbelt and then go for an exploratory walk. It’s perfect. That’s a nice combo of vigorous and moderate exercise.

And it does the job.

As a bonus, I get to enjoy quality time parenting my child and making good memories.

This is really easy during months when the weather is is pretty good. Yardwork. Picnics in the park. Hiking. Biking. Family basketball games in the driveway. Tennis. A day playing in the municipal pool.

It’s harder for me during winter because I’m not into skiing and snowshoeing. But a Sunday afternoon sledding with my son and his friends or a couple hours building a snow fort does the trick.

Hell, when my cousins come over to play Rock Band, I can get a couple hours of “moderate” activity just by jumping around like an idiot in the family room, pretending I can actually sing.

If you have a free Saturday or Sunday each week (or one other day during the week), you can engage in the minimum exercise you need to not die too early in one fell swoop.

Get some benefits with even more minimum exercise.

Is the prospect of giving up half a weekend day to exercise just as horrifying as exercising 30 minutes a day?

There are indications that the absolute minimum exercise you can do is a 10-minute walk each day. This is especially true if your life is mostly sedentary.

Going for a walk can be a good way to boost your cardiovascular health. If you can manage 10 minutes a day, it’s an upgrade. You won’t see the same results of doing 30 minutes a day (or powering through the weekend), but you can still see positive results that reduce the chance of dying horribly and dying early.

Plus, a side bonus of going for a 10-minute walk each day is that it can help you feel instantly better about life.

Just finding 10 minutes in your day to go for a walk can mean better emotional and mental health, as well as better physical health.

Don’t forget about your eating habits.

Of course, just doing the absolute minimum exercise alone isn’t going to save you from heart disease, diabetes, and any number of ailments.

If you’re serious about your health, you might also need to address your eating habits.

When you don’t up your exercise, you need to change what goes in, if you want to avoid some of the worst of the debilitating illnesses related to your daily habits.

That might mean switching to healthier foods, eating less crap, and generally paying attention to these things. When you make that move, you are more likely to get away with doing as little exercise as possible.

At one point, I managed to lose five pounds just be eating better. No extra exercise needed. Score!

Healthier habits = better quality of life.

In general, better health habits mean a better quality of life. Despite my hatred of exercise for the sake of exercise, I know that physical activity will help me feel better in the long run.

When I make sure to exercise every day (even if it’s only a 10-minute walk or a few minutes of yoga in the morning), limit the junk I eat, and get enough sleep, I feel better.

I make better decisions. I feel more energetic. I’m less grumpy with my son (and other people in my life). I get more done.

So, even if you only do the minimum exercise, make the effort to change things up with your other habits.

Baby steps toward a healthier overall lifestyle can have positive consequences, even if you never become a health nut.

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