You first make your habits, then your habits make you. Let’s be real. Most quick fixes don’t work. The shortcuts often turn into detours. True “low effort, huge results” behaviors are as rare as a mole with sunburn.
This is especially true for things like focus, energy, and health.
If you feel sluggish, waste your day watching YouTube, or pack an extra ten pounds, you can’t fix it overnight – or can you?
I know you don’t want to change your whole life. It requires a lot of effort. You’re too busy working, looking after your family, and doing fun stuff.
However, a few behaviors can massively improve your focus, energy, and health in as little as three days.
Apply The 3-2-1-0 Rule To Make The Most Out Of Your Nights
We all have a superpower.
Most people squander it like a gambling addict his inheritance. We don’t even notice because our society has normalized the behavior. I’m talking about one of the most basic human activities that exists since the dawn of time – sleep.
It’s your body’s and brain’s time to regenerate, repair, and get you ready for the next day ahead.
However, studies show one-third of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived, which causes a lot of issues.
Poor sleep habits are linked to depression, immune system weaknesses, and emotional outbursts. Insufficient slumber causes your body to store fat and stalls your weight loss. It also makes it harder to show empathy and partake in social events – all of which fuel loneliness and disconnection from others.
Once you start sleeping enough, a few miracles happen:
- You tune your focus and with it, your productivity
- You significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes type 2
- You improve your immune system
- You increase your athletic performance
- You boost your mood and become more emotionally balanced
But getting proper sleep is more than just going to bed earlier.
Sleep consists of four phases – awake, light, deep, and rapid eye movement (REM). Each stage is essential, but what you do before you go to bed determines your ability to experience them fully.
The biggest culprits deteriorating your sleep quality are late-night snacking, blue light from screens, and not giving yourself ample time to wind down after a hectic day.
To nip them in the bud, you can use the simple 3-2-1-0 rule:
Three hours before bed, have your last meal. Research shows that if your stomach doesn’t sleep, you’ll have trouble snoozing off as well.
Two hours before bed, stop work and all other activities that keep your brain riled up. Give yourself time to wind down and drift off instead of flailing around with your thoughts racing.
One hour before bed, turn off all screens and overhead lights. Research by Harvard University shows that blue light suppresses melatonin production, a sleep-inducing hormone. This messes with your circadian rhythm as well as sleep quality and duration, so if you have to be on a screen for whatever reason, wear blue-light-blocking glasses.
When you wake up, snooze zero times. Leading neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman said it’s one of the worst things you can do if you want your body’s natural rhythms intact and supply you with energy.
A good night’s sleep isn’t “nice to have” – it’s the basis for amazing days.
Carry a Health Pack With You So You Can Feel Good About Being Lazy
Knowing something is good for you isn’t enough to do it regularly.
We all know we should hydrate plenty and eat more fruits and veggies. Yet, we forget it all too often during busy days – with tremendous negative consequences.
- Research shows a small 2% dehydration has significant effects on your cognitive and physical performance.
- Skipping veggies can leave you moody, induce overeating, and increase your risk for cardiovascular problems, depression, diabetes type 2, and even cancer.
All fancy-sounding science aside, you will feel the effects on your mental and physical state almost immediately.
On days I don’t hydrate, I feel sluggish, drained, and weak. If I skip the veggies for a week, I feel unhealthy and unwell in my body. So why don’t we just drink more water and eat more healthy colorful stuff?
It’s because evolution hardwired us to take the path of least resistance.
If you have to get up to refill your water, you’re more likely to sit around until your thirst becomes too much. If you have no veggies or fruits lying around, you won’t run to the shop every time you want them. So what’s the solution?
You have to make the behaviors easy for yourself.
That’s why I always have a health pack with me – a reusable, one-liter water bottle, and a Tupperware full of carrots, bell peppers, or cucumbers that I can snack on.
Cutting the veggies takes a few minutes every evening, buying the Tupperware and water bottle is one click on Amazon.
Then, you just need to carry it with you. Have the veggies in your bag at work and put the bottle on your desk. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, calls these the laws of habit building – making them easy and obvious.
Turn the path of least resistance into the healthy one.
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Remove The Biggest Temptation To Get More Out Of Every Waking Second
Opportunity makes the thief – especially, time thieves.
Your phone is the biggest one of them. It’s easy to waste hours scrolling through social media, checking the news every few minutes, and getting pulled from your work or family time by a buzzing notification.
Studies show the average American unlocks their phone a staggering 150 times per day, spending over five hours on average with the thumb on the screen.
Research associates excessive smartphone use with many harmful side effects:
- Shyness and low self-esteem
- Sleep problems
- Reduced physical fitness
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Neck pain from looking down at the screen
- Difficulties with emotional regulation and increased impulsivity, resulting in moodiness and outbursts
- Impaired cognitive functions such as lower focus, reduced attention span, and memory loss
The problem is grabbing your smartphone has become an automatic behavior. When you commute or hit a tough task at work, the default reaction often is to look at your digital companion. If you want to reduce your screen time, you’ll have to remove the temptation.
When I sit down to work, I put my phone where I can’t see it. When I go to bed, I charge it in the kitchen. When I’m out with friends, I leave it in my bag.
The increase in physical distance also increases the resistance to pull it out.
Don’t fight the temptation with willpower.
Make it harder for yourself to engage with your phone and you’ll realize how easy it becomes to be without it.
How To Boost Your Focus, Energy, and Health In The Next Three Days
Small behaviors can bring huge results. If you practice these few consistently, your life will quickly change.
- Apply the 3-2-1-0 rule to improve your sleep quality and the energy you have during the day.
- Carry a health pack with you to make a healthy lifestyle easier.
- Hide your smartphone to reduce the temptation and massively boost your focus.
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