My goal to be healthier

I truly believe that pursuing the goal to become healthier is important. This is because it’s the pre-requisites of others goals for career, for relationship and survival in this chaotic world.

I would feel ashamed if I didn’t work hard to achieve my goal and I would feel guilty about my body shape. I want to achieve this goal personally and not doing it to please someone else. I am pursuing this goal because the situation that I find myself in seems to demand it.

The fact is we think better after we exercise. This is because exercise leads to increased blood flow in the brain key areas. It can give me a better memory due to increased blood volume in the dentate gyrus, an important component of the hippocampus.

I would make it happen by setting small, attainable goals, such as getting 10,000 steps per day, 3 exercise days per week, sleep 7 hours per night. A day that ends well starts with exercise. I can keep myself healthy by practising mindfulness, eating nutritious food and sleeping well.

After exercise, it makes me happy, making the pursuit of my healthy goal enjoyable and satisfying. Exercise regulates the release of serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. All three are associated with the maintenance of mental health. Evidence now indicates that exercise can be used to alter the course of both depression and anxiety. Research shows that patient who suffers from depression participate in an aerobic exercise program has the same effect to ease depression as taking an antidepressant.

Besides, taking a twenty-minute walk every day reduces the chance of stroke by even more than 57 per cent. Exercise not only provides long-term protection and enhanced health but is also a powerful short-term solution to the damaging effects of stress. No natural remedy provides a more effective way of flushing the stress hormones cortisol out of my bloodstream. A short run, a vigorous walk, or go for a swim can help me relax and get me off from work.

Personal health is important to me and can be used to motivate lasting change. If I am very sick or dying, getting a promotion to vice president of my group doesn’t matter much. But if I feel that I can improve my health through certain actions, those are things that I will do.

Being able to keep the exercise habit alter the way I see myself as spending the time is manageable. Other parts of my personal life would also change in consequence of improved health, such as an increase in productivity at work and improvement in a study at leisure time. It would also affect the way that others perceive me as I would probably look less stressed and more approachable.

Don’t think that it is easier to surround myself with good healthy people than with bad unhealthy people. It’s not. A good, healthy person is an ideal. It requires strength and daring to stand up near such a person. Have some humility. Have some courage. Use my judgement, and protect myself from too-uncritical compassion and pity. Make friend with people who want the best for me.

Attending this healthy goal would probably affect the lives of the people around me as well, as we eat better and work out more. I would be a higher performer and I do not have to trade health for success. I would make a border beneficial social impact if I could be more energized – mentally, emotionally and physically.

Self-isolation is not only a cause of unhappiness, it is also bad for my health. The effect of social isolation is probably more dangerous than smoking, which caused heart problem and death. Every day in different social events, I may avoid connecting with other people, but I should convert the isolation to a happy conversation. If I could always try to connect with other people, I would be mentally more healthy and feel less lonely. At the same time, the other person would be benefit from this connection and more mentally more healthy as well. It would be easier to sustain good habit together with other people.

The detailed strategies for goal attainment would be marking the time to do exercise in my calendar. Set up a specific time daily, such as 7 pm for jogging an hour along the river and 8 pm swimming at the pool for an hour. This sub-goal would be easier to achieve but is still fundamental to reaching my greater aspirations.

On weekends, instead of staying home staring at the computer screen for the whole day, I should go cycling, kayaking or hiking to keep myself active. And it’s more fun to join with the community to attend those events with friends, such that it’s more motivating to attend in the early morning.

During lunch and dinner time, I should avoid eating unhealthy food such as McDonald, instead, it’s better to pick food with fish and vegetables as a balanced diet. Eating at a regular time would also be healthier than eating at an irregular time. And I would need to minimize the consumption of sugar and soft drinks. At grocery store shopping, it’s better to avoid buying coke and ice cream, such that it’s less temptation in my room. If I choose to stock my fridge with healthy food instead of processed food then I would not need to exercise self-control as much as healthy food becomes my default option in the fridge. Cooking at home sometimes could be healthier than dining out as well, as I put less oil and salts in my food, even though it means less tasty.

Having a healthy diet can be thought of as a strategy for greater goal achievement as it would give me more energy instead of feeling tired. To implement my plan, I would also look into the bad example as well with the poor habit, and try my best to avoid repeating such mistakes. It would be too late if I didn’t start early to have the awareness on health as we could expect the human life expectancy has increased. If a short term suffers from exercise daily and prevents a long term suffer from a significant disease, I should pick the right thing to suffer as life is a suffer anyway no matter what.

Potential obstacles to my goal include laziness. Sometimes when I am too comfortable laying down on my bed with air conditioning, it is hard to get out and start to exercise. Sometimes when I am too busy at work and too tired after work, it’s tempting to give up my daily exercise routines and just go home to take a rest. Sometimes when it’s raining or too cold outside, I would prefer to stay indoor library to read a book instead of jogging and swimming. There is inertia when I am at rest, I will tend to stay at rest unless I was trying to assert force on myself to change my motion.

To overcome this obstacle, I could try to reduce the friction required to go exercise. For example, I could put my swimming suit in my bag to work, such that I would have minimal effort to go swimming after work. I could pick the nearby location for jogging and doesn’t require too much travelling time. I could be wearing sports shoes most of the time such that I don’t need extra effort to change shoes and prevent myself from jogging. I could also think about the potential benefit which outweighs the harm of sitting home all day to motivate myself to keep my exercise habit.

My healthy diet plan might be interfered with by the convenience of unhealthy food. For example, McDonald is opened 24 hours nearby and it’s just around the corner near my home. I may also order unhealthy food due to promotional offer on the food delivery app. To ensure this won’t happen, I could better stock my home with healthy food, such that I can cook instead of eating out. The realistic scenarios would be eating at most once a week, no more than that. The worst-case scenario would be eating three times a week for unhealthy food. My options would be finding alternative food options and make it more convenient. I should try to make the environment easy for me to do exercise and eating healthy food as the default option. I can overcome the potential obstacles by thinking about the long term.

To monitor progress toward my get healthier goal, I can use a mobile app to count the steps I take every day. Specifically, I should walk more than 10,000 steps every day. I would like to achieve this goal with a deadline of my 31st years old birthday on 31st July 2021, such that I could keep this as my every new year resolution and keep motivating myself. The Google fit app journey record is my accepted thing as evidence that I am progressing toward my stated goal. I would need to monitor my behaviour frequently and daily.

Besides, my waist size would probably be a good measurement as well to make sure I am not over intake of calories to grow my tummy. I would need to burn more calories than what I eat, such that I could maintain my body shape. I would feel satisfied with my progress if I could keep the record of exercise at least three times per week. To ensure I am not being too easy on myself, I would be jogging at the full length along the river and swimming for as many laps as possible.

To prevent the risk of boredom, I could listen to my favourite podcast while jogging to get myself update with the news or learn something new. To avoid pushing myself too hard for a healthy diet, I would give allowance and quota for myself to eat unhealthy at most once a week if necessary.

The benchmarks of step counters in my phone and my waist measurement are my indicator of the success of this goal. It doesn’t matter what others may think as I define this as progress towards my goal. Potentially there are more body indicators to measure my healthiness, such as heartbeat rate and blood pressure, which would require more advanced wearables.

It is not an easy task to know, concretely, whether or not I am progressing towards the attainment of valued goals. I just keep the specific Google Health app step counter and my waist size as relatively easy to monitor for my performance. Counting every calorie I eat would be too tedious to implement and it feels cynical.

By Victor Leung

Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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