Would you like to know four things you can do in 37 second to improve your life?
First, look at this picture of the waning Moon and take a deep breath. That’s seven seconds.
Next, take another deep breath and resolve that you are going to finally start feeding your body the nutrition it needs to survive. Truly accept what you already know, that food is medicine and what you eat is the foundation of your health and well being. It might take a little while to identify all the changes you want to make, but you can affirm the importance of it and start walking the right path in the span of a single breath. That’s ten seconds more.
Third, you can commit to ridding yourself of toxic relationships. Are there people in your life who always provoke drama, make you feel guilty or like you should have done more, or fail to honor commitments and show up on time? Resolve to evaluate your relationship based on how they actually make you feel. Spend more time and energy where they feel good and less where they feel bad. Guilt is not a reason to do anything.
Fourth take another deep breath. Hold it one moment, and on the exhale give up smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. There are so many people out there talking about how hard it is to beat addiction. That it can take years of effort to give up addictions, and that you have to go to long twelve step programs and stay in them the rest of your life. That’s simply not true. You can just not smoke or drink anymore, starting…. RIGHT NOW.
So that was 37 seconds, which is what I read in this article from The Art of Blogging is the amount of time an average reader spends scanning a blog post. When I started to read this very insightful article, I resisted. I thought, I don’t want to write articles for people that only have 37 seconds of attention! That’s the attention span of a gnat! But then I realized that I often spend 37 seconds or less on a post, unless it catches my attention. When it does catch my attention, I read the whole thing. So maybe that happened to you.
So these are three topics that can really make a difference fast, and if you have read this far, maybe it’s because you want to read more. Back in about 1997 I found myself tipping the scale at my lifetime maximum weight of 213 pounds. I was comfortable in size 38 pants. I followed the advice popular at the time, which was “don’t count calories, count grams of fat.” The rage was low or zero fat, so you could eat as much sugar as you wanted. I actually went on the “Slim Fast” diet, which were chocolate drinks in a can with some supplements. The number one ingredient on the can (I confirmed) is sugar. And so I starved myself slowly losing weight.
My father was also losing weight at the time, and he introduced me to a book called Protein Power. This was 1998. I read it cover to cover, and it was full of hard science about the impact of sugars and processed starches on our metabolic system. Basically, the Slim Fast type of diet provoked a massive insulin response, and insulin causes your body to turn sugar into fat and then store the fat in your fat cells. To lose weight under this regimen, you literally have to starve yourself one calorie at a time. And so was born the American obesity epidemic.
I followed the advice for a diet of limited carbohydrates and lots of protein, and the weight just fell off me effortlessly. By 2000 I weighed 172 pounds. Now, 22 years later, I weight 168. I have studied diet and nutrition on my own for the twenty years in between, and the best way I can think of it comes from the Paleo diet movement. This is so easy to follow because you basically only eat things that look like food looks in the wild. You can eat whatever you find in the produce section and around the edges of the grocery store. Pretty much anything with no ingredients… whole foods are their only ingredient. Fish is just fish. Broccoli is just broccoli. If you follow this diet, then you body will naturally return to a healthy state, and then your own appetite will tell you when and how much to eat.
Imagine that! Your own appetite will tell you what to eat. It seems so strange because we are so controlled now days by terrible cravings that come from addictions to food additives and processes that our body simply never learned how to handle. Starches like crackers or breads break down into pure glucose in seconds. These kinds of foods simply were not available to our ancestors. So really all you have to do is make a mental shift, an upgrade in your consciousness, and all the sudden your body will start working for you and you will start feeling better now.
Second is toxic relationships. I have a friend who was always going to therapy with his girlfriend. They were always working on their relationship. Because relationships take work right? Well sure they take some work. I’m very happily married and have been for 9 years (I was previously married for 21 years), and sure we take very good care of our relationship, and this positive effort could be called work. But let’s be really clear. For it to be a good relationship, it has to be at least 80% good. That means 80% of your interactions are naturally positive and joyful, and 20% give opportunities for “work” and improvement. But if you are always trying to “work” on things with a boss, or a lover, or a friend or a relative, and you are never really happy with that relationship, then PUNT!
A good test is notice how you feel when they phone rings, or when someone texts your or calls out to you, or when you see them. Does your skin crawl? Do you wish you could dodge the call but answer it anyway because you feel guilty? Your life is made up of the moments of life all strung together. Don’t waste them in relationships that make you feel bad inside. They might tell you that you deserve to feel bad because you don’t behave as you should. Well maybe you don’t behave as THEY want you to behave. But if you want to be happy, hang out with your kind of monkeys. Hang out with people who you actually enjoy being with, not those who make you feel bad.
This is especially true in romantic relationships, which we often hold onto even when they don’t serve. If such a relationship makes you feel angst and dream of freedom, then recognize this truth and hit the road. I can refer those of you from a younger generation to a very helpful manual contained in a song called “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”. Slip out the back Jack!
And next, cigarettes and alcohol. I know nobody wants to talk about alcohol because it’s the only mind altering drug approved by our society. It is because it actually just dulls your consciousness and lets you cope with the pain of living a messed up life. Alcohol numbs the pain of existence, and makes things that are not fun, seem like fun. Try it. Go to a bar in Milwaukee and don’t drink. I tried this after I quit drinking. Sitting at a smoke filled bar in the afternoon while you don’t drink really sucks. Drinking is not the answer. Go do something actually fun.
And further, if you want to alter your consciousness, which is a basic human right that has been practiced for thousands of years, there are so many better ways to do it than alcohol. There are consciousness expanding plant medicines that work a lot better, and they don’t wreck your life.
Same story with nicotine. It’s actually very very easy to quit smoking. I did it this way. One day I spat up a glob of black mucus and thought oh my god, my lungs. I resolved not to smoke anymore. That was January of 2011, and I haven’t had nicotine since. The cravings peak at about five or six days. If you can make it over that hump, then simply resolve never to smoke anymore. Beware of lapses at 7 minutes, 7 hours, 7 days, 7 weeks, 7 months and 7 years.
And back up to the top. Enjoy the moon. Go outside and look at Jupiter in the evening and see Venus when it starts to rise in the morning sky now that it has transited the sun. We get such a spectacle every night if we just look at it. The firmament is the universal treasure.
I hope you enjoyed if you made it this far.