Health Tip: Write a Letter to Your Future Self

Writing a Letter
Image from Flickr by Skippy Beresford

People like us, who are into health and fitness, apart from getting healthier and feeling better, all want one end result — to look good.

Slipping back into old habits

Sometimes, though, when we have achieved our goal, there’s a chance that we become complacent. Little by little, we start doing again the old habits that led us to where we used to be. Then, one day, we realize that we look like our old-selves again!

I’ve been there a couple of times myself. I felt that all my efforts had been wasted. What choice do I have, but to start all over again.

Right now, though, I’m maintaining a healthy weight. One day, I thought of something … Why not write a letter to my future self, just in case I’m — you know — getting fat again. I give an example of such a letter here.

A letter to my future self


Dear Whitebeltblogger,

I would like to congratulate you for coming this far. It’s been a long journey for you.

Can you remember the time when you first went to the gym? You looked in the mirror, turned sideways, and focused your attention at your big, bulging stomach. You said, “In 3 months it’s gonna be flat … 3 months.”

Well, it may have taken you longer than 3 months before you had a flat stomach, which you can be proud of, but it’s totally worth it, isn’t it?

So … just in case you’re getting fat again. I would like you to remember that moment when you looked into the mirror.

In short, don’t get fat because it takes a lot of effort to get where you are now. You feel and look a lot better, don’t you? Would you like to look like your old self again? Of course not! Keep on fighting! You’re a warrior!

Regards,
Whitebeltblogger


What else?

You can write a longer letter if you want, or a short one like this:

“Oh my! Look at you, you’re getting fat again … No. No. No. You gotta look good for [insert name of your crush here].”

You can write it on a notebook or index card, or store it in a file somewhere in your computer (or cellphone). Just be sure to read it regularly (every week or every month, depends on you).

To think of it, the concept of “writing to your future self” can also be used in other areas of your life. For instance, it can be also be applied to other habits, such as writing, areas of life like relationships, or even simple tasks such as finishing a book. Your imagination is your only limitation.

Summary:
Write a letter to motivate or inspire your future self; just in case you’re slipping into old habits again.

5 Popular Proverbs Challenged

Proverbs, throughout our lives, we continually hear and read them. In my opinion, the advice they imply is not always correct.

That is, they represent the beliefs and values of the person who said (or wrote) them at the time. The world has changed, and is constantly changing. Old beliefs are replaced by new ones; what’s not important back then, is valuable now.

Here, I list 5 proverbs whose meaning I challenge, though they may represent half-truths, which means they are half-false, as well:

  1. “Good things come to those who wait.”

    This can serve as an excuse for procrastination.

    It’s like the lazy guy who sits under a tree, and opens his mouth, waiting for a fruit to fall. Though, there is an extremely low possibility that it might fall, would you rather climb the tree or use a long stick to get the fruit?

    While good things may (or may not) come to those who wait, even better things happen to those who take action.

  2. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

    Whether we like it or not, our unconscious mind affects how we judge certain things, places, and people.

    If you were asked to give donation to a charity, who would you rather give your donation to: a sweaty muscular man or a pretty college girl? Unless the muscular man threatens to beat you up if you don’t give, most of the time, you will give to the college girl. Presentation matters.

  3. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

    Then just leave the horse some water, so when he becomes thirsty, he can drink something.

    Some people give advice as if they are issuing a command. That’s not good because most people don’t want to be ordered around for no obvious reason. Rather, a better approach would be to treat the person as an equal and friend, then somewhere along the way mention the intended advice as if it were an option — not a command.

    For example, between these two personal trainers, who would you like better — and follow more willingly:

    • Personal trainer A says: “Give me 10 push-ups, 20 squats, and 3 minutes of jumping jacks!”
    • Personal trainer B says: “Hey, how are you? Today we are going to do 10 push-ups, 20 squats, and 3 minutes of jumping jacks. It’s gonna be fun!”

    Most people, would likely choose personal trainer B. Communicating what you want to happen in an ideal manner makes a big difference.

  4. “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”

    But suppose you’re a CEO of large company. Would you do the work of your managers, accountants, programmers, etc.?

    If you want something done right:

    1. Know specifically what you want to be done.
    2. Assign the task to a competent person.
    3. Communicate what you want to be done clearly to that person.
    4. If the assigned task is going to take a while before it’s finished, then monitor the progress of the person who’s doing the task.
    5. Once the task is finished, rejoice and thank that person for a job well-done.

    Simple isn’t it? Again, it’s a case for improving the way you communicate with other people.

  5. “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

    I agree that we should respect the culture and customs of people who are different from us.

    But what if the people the people around you are doing immoral or stupid things, are you going to follow them?

    If you’re a smart and moral person, the answer is definitely “No.”

    In relation, I quote two great men:


    “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

    –Ralph Waldo Emerson


    “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”

    –Rollo May


    But does it mean that we should become rebels who always does the opposite of what other people do? Definitely not. The point is for us to listen to our inner guide, which is our real-selves. Don’t simply do something because other people do it, too.

As I said earlier, these proverbs represent half-truths, which means they can be right at certain times, as well. So why did I challenged them? Because it’s fun. No, seriously (or half-seriously), it’s because most people believe in absolutes. It’s time we realize that a coin always has to two sides. Good Luck!

P.S. I would like to thank PhraseMix.com for providing a list of the most important English proverbs.

Subvocalizing’s Hidden Benefit

In this post, I would point out that subvocalizating has its use, despite the fact that speed reading courses discourages reading with while using it.

What is subvocalization?

Subvocalizing is when we speak words silently to ourselves while reading.

Most people still subvocalize even when reading quietly, because when we’re young we’ve been taught to read out loud, a habit we have carried up to adulthood.

Although subvocalizing can be considered normal, it is discouraged by speed reading courses because it’s slows down a person’s reading rate to that of his speaking rate, which is 150-250 words per minute.

By eliminating subvocalization, speed readers claim to read two-to-three times faster than normal, while comprehension stays the same.

It sure looks like that totally eliminating subvocalization is the way to go, isn’t it?

Subvocalization has a use too

But what if subvocalization has a hidden benefit — especially to those who write.

Allow me to explain. We can edit our written work better by reading sentences out loud. Agree?

But, we can’t always read our words out loud. For instance, if we’re on a public place, such as a library or coffee shop.

What’s the solution then? We subvocalize; it’s that simple. By subvocalizing, we can hear the words being spoken inside our head, which leads to better edits.

For speed readers out there, this is not an attempt to encourage subvocalizing while reading. Rather, I just want to point out that subvocalization has uses, too.

Summary:
Subvocalizing slows down our reading rate, but it can be useful when editing written work.

3 Ways to Practice Writing Even If You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

There are days that we bloggers/writers don’t want to blog, but we do so nonetheless because we are constantly reminded that to get better at writing — we have to write every day.

But if you force yourself to blog just for the sake of writing every day, there is a possibility that you may associate blogging with discomfort, like I mentioned in previous post.

Be reminded, though, that you can still practice writing even if you don’t write a blog post. Here are 3 ways:

  1. Write private blog posts that no one else will see.

    There are times when we want to write about a topic, but were having second-thoughts on writing it on our blog. Maybe it’s too personal; maybe you think people might find it offensive; or maybe you think your readers may view it as irrelevant.

    You can still write that post though, that is, by setting your post’s visibility to private. It’s like turning that blog post into a diary entry that only you should see — and later on read.

    In WordPress: you just select Private in your post’s Visibility settings.

    Private

  2. Comment on other blogs/articles.

    This serves more than one purpose: (A) You practice your writing, (B) You network with other bloggers, and (C) You let other people know that your blog exists.

    To elaborate on (C), comment forms on most blogs have a ‘Website’ field where you can enter the address of your own blog. If your comment gets approved, you get a free backlink to your blog.

    A little note on commenting: it would be wise to read the post you’re commenting on. In that way, the comments that you write will be relevant to the post itself.

    The note I gave above may be common sense, but some bloggers just make generic comments on other blogs only to get backlinks. Example of generic comments are: “Nice post! I like your blog.” and “Great article!”

    Though, there is nothing wrong with giving positive compliments to other people, remember that people will read your comments and depending on what you write, they may, or may not want to visit your blog.

  3. Start a forum topic or reply to one.

    If you like exchanging ideas with other people, then this one is gold. Not only will you practice your writing in the process, you can also learn a lot from other people as well.

    One thing to be aware of is that each forum has its own distinctive culture. Aside from the genre where it belongs (e.g., sports, health, technology, etc.), you’ll notice that some forums are better moderated than others, in which case they ban trolls and remove offensive or irrelevant posts.

    If like me you want exchanges to stay positive, it would be wise to get a glimpse of the culture of a forum first, so you can decide whether it’s worth participating in that forum or not.

The above list is not exhaustive for there are more ways to practice writing on the internet aside from private blog posting, commenting, and forum posting (e.g., posting on facebook, tweeting, etc.). I’m sure you can think of other ways. The point is practicing your writing does not always mean writing a blog post. It’s time to get creative.

Video: The Strangest Secret

 

I want to share this video I have watched in the past — and will continue to watch in the future. What is “The Strangest Secret”? Watch (or rather listen) as Earl Nightingale talks about it.  It’s only around 30 minutes. A worthy investment in time indeed for the things Earl Nightingale has to say. If you ask me, this video is worth listening to, even if it’s just to listen to the man’s wonderful voice.

5 Quotes for a Stronger Mindset


  1. Take charge now:

    Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain!

    –Vivian Greene


  2. Overcome the pull of mediocrity:

    You’re in the midst of a war: a battle between the limits of a crowd seeking the surrender of your dreams, and the power of your true vision to create and contribute. It is a fight between those who will tell you what you cannot do, and that part of you that knows — and has always known — that we are more than our environment; and that a dream, backed by an unrelenting will to attain it, is truly a reality with an imminent arrival.

    –Tony Robbins


  3. Get to the point already:

    If a person can’t summarize his thoughts on success in business into a handful of bullet points, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And he’s scamming you.

    –Larry Winget


  4. Realize your hidden strength:

    What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn’t think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.

    –Arnold Schwarzenegger


  5. Redefine who are you are:

    Law 25: Re-Create Yourself

    Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

    –Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)


Note: I edited no. 1 with respect to the original author of the quote. It turns out that Greg Plitt quoted Vivian Greene on that one.

Word One + Word Two = Idea!

If the plus and equal signs in the title alarms you, don’t worry this post won’t be a math lesson. Instead, it will be about words and ideas.

As I was thinking about a topic to post, my eyes wandered to my blog’s tag cloud. The tag cloud is the collection of words with different font-sizes you can find in most blogs. The basic idea is, the more you use a word as a tag, the bigger it gets.

Then I thought, “What if I combine two of these words? Will they give me an idea for a post?” And yes it did, but not the way I intended to. Rather, I’m writing about the idea of combining words to produce ideas.

Here’s how it goes…

Let’s combine: (1) Inspirational and (2) Internet, what idea does it produce?

My answer: “You can get inspiration from the internet by watching youtube videos that motivate you, or if you’re short in time, reading inspirational quotes.”

It’s nice to know, but it’s somewhat common. Let’s try combining words that seem unrelated. Like: (1) Reading and (2) Change, let’s see….

The idea created: “If you read books — or at least blogs and quotes — then sooner or later the way you look at the world will change.”

Let’s try one last pair: (1) Writing and (2) Gym. Thinking… Got it!

Ideas produced:

  • Going to the gym will make you a better writer. Because: (1) Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel better; if you feel better, then you’ll write better. And, (2) Through exercise you will tend to look better over time, which raises your confidence; having more confidence leads to better writing.
  • Record your gym workouts by writing them on paper or on a computer (or tablet). By looking at what you’ve written, you’ll be reminded of the amount of work you have invested on getting fit, and because of that you’ll be more likely to continue with your fitness journey.
  • Write about any unusual experiences you have at the gym, like the guy who ran on the treadmill the other day — while wearing a walkman.

I have come-up with three ideas, probably because I’m quite familiar with those two words.

I can go and on and on, exhausting every possible combination in my tag cloud. Some of the ideas produced may look like normal everyday stuff to you, but a few can give you a “Eureka” moment.

Also, notice that the words that led to the idea does not need to be exact (e.g.,  inspirational becomes inspiration, writing becomes write, etc.).

You don’t need a blog’s tag cloud to try out this idea though. You can just get a dictionary, whether it’s a physical one, or an online one. Then, let the fun begin…

Summary:
If you combine two random words, you can produce an idea. Some ideas created by those words might seem common or even useless, but you will, at a few times, stumble upon that piece of gold in the goldmine of words.