“The good life is best construed as a matrix that includes happiness, occasional sadness, a sense of purpose, playfulness, and psychological flexibility, as well autonomy, mastery, and belonging.”
– Robert Biswas-Diener, Author and Positive Psychologist
Gamify Your Workout
Lacking motivation to exercise? How about turning your workout into a game.
Gamification can make exercise more entertaining and engaging. And to date, research suggests it works. One review of 21 different research papers, for example, found it positively impacts health and wellbeing.
There’s no shortage of fitness trackers, online communities, and apps in this space. Some set you up with competitions or challenges, others use social features, some even tie in with real-world incentives or plot-based games.
Here are a few examples:
- Turn your run into an action-adventure with an app like Tracks or Zombies, Run!
- Earn points for maintaining healthy habits with Fitocracy.
- Track your runs and rides with an app like Strava or Nike Run Club. Both have a strong social networking element.
Of course, there’s nothing to say you have to use apps and gadgets. Compete with a friend, set yourself challenges, mark down your workouts in your planner or habit tracker calendar and try not to break your streak… However you do it, just find what works for you!
How do you make your workouts more fun? Let us know!
Beat Procrastination With An Emotional To-Do List
Bear with us: an “emotional” to-do list isn’t one that starts bawling every time you add another item. Rather, it’s a way of beating procrastination by analyzing how you feel about every upcoming task.
This quick and simple trick works because it makes you consciously aware of why you might be putting something off. Procrastination is, after all, an emotion regulation problem.
Here’s how to do it:
For each task on your to-do list, note down how you feel about it. And then think about why. From there, you can find ways to solve any emotion-based knots.
Let’s imagine some examples.
- The task “write project report” makes you feel overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start. Solution: break it down into smaller sub-tasks.
- The task “go for a run” makes you feel unmotivated because it’s cold outside. Solution: change your run for an indoor workout. (Or gamify it with a plot-based app!)
And so on. Tasks that are attached to positive emotions, meanwhile, can pull you through the day by giving you something to look forward to. You can even turn the emotional to-do list around by thinking about how you’ll feel after you’ve completed a task – relieved, accomplished, etc.
Do you think it’s worth giving this idea a shot? Why not try it tomorrow?
Jules Clancy, Cookbook Author & Food Blogger at StoneSoup
This former food scientist turned food blogger says she became a morning person after having children: “My mornings are my me time.” She:
- Gets up at 4.50am, weighs herself and tests her blood sugar (she’s type 2 diabetic)
- Does two sets of 50 kettlebell swings. “[This] gets my heart rate going and wakes me up.”
- Does 20 minutes of transcendental meditation.
- Does some journaling/goal-writing and affirmations, or visualization exercises from Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics.
- Does half an hour of work from 6am – “Usually something creative that requires a fresh mind.”
- Goes walking for 30-60 minutes.
Why it works:
- Some research suggests early risers are more proactive.
- Morning exercise has benefits like getting your metabolism going, boosting energy, and improving quality of sleep.
- There’s ample research on transcendental meditation suggesting it can reduce stress, improve brain function, and more.
- Journaling has a raft of benefits, as does visualization.
- The morning is good for important work because it’s when our minds are sharpest.
Jules’ mention of Psycho-Cybernetics piqued our interest.
Maltz is sometimes called the “father of self-help” thanks to this landmark book, published in 1960. In it, Maltz explores techniques (like visualization) for improving and managing self-image – the idea being that self-image directly affects our ability to achieve our goals.
Have you read the book or tried any visualizations for yourself? We’d love to hear your experience and whether you’d recommend it to the rest of the Panda Planner community. Drop us a line!