Enjoy Life Today

5 Powerful Ways To Kickstart Your Day

Early MorningYour early morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. What does yours look like?

Do you drag your­self out of bed, stum­ble to the bath­room, get dressed in a fog then search for your phone and keys before leav­ing for work? Or are you up ear­ly, ensur­ing that you’re well pre­pared to kick­start your day? I’ve cer­tain­ly done both over the years (and every­thing in between) & learned valu­able lessons in the process.

Here’s what I found real­ly works when you need to kick­start your day:

1. Remove/limit internet access (the night before)

This is one habit that I’ve found tough to estab­lish and the one that deter­mines suc­cess or fail­ure for me regard­ing my morn­ing rou­tine.

As human beings, we thrive on news, gos­sip & are dri­ven to stay con­nect­ed.

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My 30 Day Vegan Diet Experiment | Final Report

I have now com­plet­ed my 30 day veg­an diet exper­i­ment. Over­all, I would con­sid­er it a great suc­cess.

Vegan diet energy gains I have expe­ri­enced:

  • sig­nif­i­cant gains in ener­gy
  • great­ly improved fit­ness lev­els
  • increased social con­nec­tions & activ­i­ty
  • improved con­fi­dence & self-con­fi­dence

and much more.

(I’ve logged my ener­gy lev­els, food intake, phys­i­cal activ­i­ties and more. You can view all of this infor­ma­tion here).

8 benefits of my vegan diet experiment

Higher energy levels

My ener­gy lev­els were con­sis­tent­ly high for my 16–18 hour days (aver­ag­ing 7.5 out of 10 per day on a self-rat­ing scale) & remained steady through­out each day. I observed a notice­able increase in ener­gy as the weeks pro­gressed. There were some peri­ods where I noticed my ener­gy flag­ging. How­ev­er, I was able to eas­i­ly find the cause & link it to either phys­i­cal tired­ness due to great­ly increased phys­i­cal demands or low­er moti­va­tion.

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My 30 Day Vegan Diet Experiment | Recap — Week 2 & 3

healthy lifestyle & diet word cloudIt has been 3 weeks since I start­ed my diet exper­i­ment & over­all I’m very pleased with the results so far. (You can find all of my raw data here)


As many of us have expe­ri­enced when try­ing to estab­lish a new habit, the begin­ning is often the eas­i­est part of the process. Nov­el­ty, excite­ment & the ini­tial burst of ener­gy can help get us mov­ing. Before too long how­ev­er, old habits along with our envi­ron­ment can pull us back to our old behav­iour & it is at these times when we may need to ‘dig deep’.

I’ve expe­ri­enced some of this. There were a cou­ple of times on week 2 where I thought — ‘wouldn’t it just be eas­i­er to go back to reg­u­lar eat­ing?’ There were chal­lenges encoun­tered in attend­ing a neigh­bour­hood BBQ & also in dis­cov­er­ing that there are very lim­it­ed options for veg­an or plant-based eat­ing when you go out to a typ­i­cal restau­rant.

The key to push­ing through these bar­ri­ers was remind­ing myself of the rea­sons why I chose to under­take this exper­i­ment. We’ve all heard this advice before, to get clear about the why Read the rest of this entry »

My 30 Day Vegan Diet Experiment — Week 1 Recap

making-changes I’ve just com­plet­ed the first 7 days of my veg­an diet exper­i­ment. I thought it would be use­ful to share some of my expe­ri­ences with you. (Here’s why I’m under­tak­ing this veg­an diet exper­i­ment)

To begin, let’s bench­mark where I think I was at the start of the exper­i­ment. In terms of ener­gy, mood, eat­ing well & con­sis­tent­ly exer­cis­ing then I would have scored myself a C or a C+. The ingre­di­ents were all there but because I was let­ting myself off the hook on a reg­u­lar basis (i.e. I ate well yes­ter­day so I can pig out a bit today or I’m going to the gym only 2–3 times per week instead of my desired 5+ times), I nev­er seemed to devel­op suf­fi­cient momen­tum & thus felt that I was rely­ing pri­mar­i­ly on willpow­er to dri­ve me for­ward. Lack­ing hard edges to my diet in terms of what I would eat or not eat also made it easy to break the rules.

In the space of 7 days, I would say that I’ve moved up a grade to Read the rest of this entry »

My 30 Day Vegan Diet Experiment

A selection of Vegan foodsMy orig­i­nal inten­tion was to write a post on the 5:2 diet and my expe­ri­ences exper­i­ment­ing with it over the past year.

How­ev­er, hav­ing been inspired and chal­lenged by a num­ber of recent posts (includ­ing here & here) and hav­ing just com­plet­ed John Rob­bins’ book — Healthy at 100, I’ve decid­ed to change course, ful­ly embrace a plant-based/ve­g­an diet for a full 30 days & close­ly mon­i­tor my results.

How did I arrive at this point?

I’ve always been pret­ty lean (skin­ny as a kid), active & up until my mid-to-late 20’s strug­gled to gain weight. Some­what inevitably how­ev­er, as I moved through my 30’s & into my 40’s and my over­all lev­els of activ­i­ty decreased (and my metab­o­lism shift­ed), I grad­u­al­ly gained weight (rough­ly 0.5kg/1 lb per year ever year). Not notice­able over a short peri­od but over 20 years it adds up. I think this is a pret­ty com­mon pat­tern for men in par­tic­u­lar.

In terms of my diet, I’ve been a meat eater all my life apart from short peri­ods of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism & I have always eat­en dairy prod­ucts. Ear­ly on (in the 1980’s) I took on board the nutri­tion­al advice of the day, which advo­cat­ed a switch away Read the rest of this entry »

The Top 10 Benefits of Spending Time in Nature

Brecon BeaconsA great irony of our world today is that while we can vir­tu­al­ly con­nect with almost any­one, any­where with the click of a mouse, the sad real­i­ty for many of us is that the fre­quen­cy and qual­i­ty of our face-to-face inter­ac­tions has dimin­ished.

Armed with smart­phones, it can be dif­fi­cult to escape the instant sat­is­fac­tion of a new ‘like’ on Face­book, a response to your clever Tweet or an incom­ing text mes­sage from a friend or client. As a result, we often find our­selves pulled in mul­ti­ple direc­tions while speak­ing with friends, fam­i­ly mem­bers and work col­leagues. We are phys­i­cal­ly present but often not emo­tion­al­ly present and there­in lies an impor­tant chal­lenge.

With­out a con­scious effort to effec­tive­ly man­age (and per­haps lim­it) these intru­sions, this pat­tern con­tin­ues and becomes the new norm and we can begin to lose our abil­i­ty to be ful­ly present with our­selves and with those around us. We can also see the neg­a­tive impact in our reduced abil­i­ty to engage with activ­i­ties which require our sus­tained focus — be that grap­pling with a new con­cept, read­ing for work or for plea­sure or doing the think­ing nec­es­sary to stay rel­e­vant in a world where we are being out­sourced or off­shored at an alarm­ing rate.

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It Takes 66 Days To Form A Habit

Just Stop ItThere’s been quite a bit of talk recent­ly about habits — how to form them and how to break them. A lot of this has been due to the pub­li­ca­tion of Charles Duhigg’s book — The Pow­er of Habit, pre­ced­ed by the buzz gen­er­at­ed after a colum­nist from Forbes wrote the provoca­tive­ly titled post — How Tar­get fig­ured out a teen girl was preg­nant before her father did (based on Duhigg’s arti­cle on how com­pa­nies mine your data in the New York Times).

I’ve also tak­en an increased inter­est recent­ly in the pow­er of habits and dis­cov­ered that smart­phone apps are very use­ful for help­ing track habit devel­op­ment. As I’ve begun to more reg­u­lar­ly use one such app to devel­op and break/change some habits, I thought it would be worth­while to check and see what  google has to say about how long it takes to devel­op or break a habit.

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How to Make Your To-Do List Doable

To-Do ListOne of the chal­lenges that many peo­ple have regard­ing their to-do list is that they have not bro­ken down many of the items on the list suf­fi­cient­ly into doable actions. For exam­ple, ‘get car fixed’ does not clear­ly and eas­i­ly iden­ti­fy what to do next (and is real­ly a small project). Thus, when we look at this or a sim­i­lar item on our list, we tend to skip past it because we real­ize that we actu­al­ly need to spend some time think­ing (and in this case, very lit­tle time) about the steps involved before we can iden­ti­fy the next action to take. And in the midst of a busy day, that can seem like too much time and effort (espe­cial­ly when we’re in ‘doing’ mode rather than ‘think­ing’ mode). A more doable task would be to ‘locate con­tact details for garage’, fol­lowed by adding the fol­low­ing 2 tasks to your list, ‘call garage and make appoint­ment to have car fixed’ and then ‘drop off car at garage’.

I’m always thank­ful to the folks over at Life­Hack­er for pro­vid­ing a steady diet of tips & tools for increas­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. In this post, they tack­le this chal­lenge and much more in how to make your to-do list doable.

Do We Risk Turning Our Kids Into Unhappy Adults?

Businesswoman with sad emoticonI’ve just read ‘How to Land Your Kid in Ther­a­py’ over at the Atlantic mag­a­zine. In the arti­cle, Lori Got­tlieb makes the case that ‘our obses­sion with our kids’ hap­pi­ness may be doom­ing them to unhap­py adult­hood.  She believes that our unwill­ing­ness to expose them to (and our desire to pro­tect them from) life’s nat­ur­al dis­ap­point­ments, leaves their psy­cho­log­i­cal immune sys­tem under­de­vel­oped for when they leave home. As she says in the arti­cle — “We treat our kids like adults when they’re chil­dren, and we infan­tilize them when they’re 18 years old.” It’s worth a read.

Taming The Beast

Picture of iPhoneOcto­ber 17,  2008 — the day I bought my first shiny new iPhone. The joy! The pos­si­bil­i­ties! Inter­net on the go and ever-present email — what oppor­tu­ni­ties this brought for increased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Want to know what’s hap­pen­ing in Wash­ing­ton, Dublin, Bei­jing or Tim­buk­tu? No prob­lem, it’s all there. And the apps — from those which kept track of my to-do list to those which told me the time of the next train to those which helped me con­vert micro­grams to stones (if I ever had such a need).….ah, the apps.

3 years on, Read the rest of this entry »

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