We’ve been focusing a lot of our wrath toward “empty calories” lately – those foods and drinks that either provide us with NO nutrients or provide us with potentially harmful fats, sodium, etc. How much smarter would it be to replace these harmful (at worst) or empty (at best) foods and drinks with foods or drinks that earn their keep and deserve our loyalty? For example, why not replace Diet Dr. Pepper (one of my guiltiest pleasures) with antioxidant-rich unsweetened tea all the time? I love tea and am even one of the rare birds that adores green tea, so there’s no reason for me to keep on chugging the good doctor, no matter how delicious I find him to be.
I was thinking earlier about how this same premise can be used in our lives – away from the table. If we take a really close look at our daily lives, we’ll find “empty” activities, habits, and thoughts. Some are fairly harmless but pointless, while others are down-right damaging.
What if these “empty” activities, habits, and thoughts were replaced with “productive” activities, habits, and thoughts? Could we handle the life improvement that would come from all of that self-improvement? I’d sure like to try!
Below are a few ideas to get your own thoughts and ideas flowing:
- Instead of listening to entertaining, but fairly pointless, morning talk shows on your way to work – why not make a habit of listening to quality podcasts (itunes has every category you can think of) or great books on CD? Learning something new is never, ever, ever not cool.
- I love great tv shows as much as anyone (Heaven help the person who gets between me and The Biggest Loser), but if we put as much effort into physical activity as we did into program activity, we’d never worry about our Levi’s being too tight ever again. I don’t like it any more than you do but it’s just common sense.
- What if, instead of gossiping or nitpicking, we put our God-given gift of speech to better use and had quality conversations with the people in our lives? What if we tried to accentuate the positive and build one another up? What if we made it our goal to help as many people as we could each day? For one thing.. It’ll all come back to you. Karma? I’m a card-carrying member of her fan club. She’s a faithful diva. Never misses a beat.
- If we get up from the internet after 2 hours, and we walk away without any benefit, inspiration, or knowledge, didn’t we just throw 2 hours out the back door? 2 hours that won’t even try to come back?
- We should even be more aware of what we think about. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” (How I’m not 5’2″ of chocolate escapes me.)
- If one has an incredibly unhealthy habit such as smoking, they need to move Heaven and earth and make it a thing of the past. I don’t want to be a cyber nag, but I want everyone to be as healthy as possible and live a really long time. Trade that habit in for a healthy one – and the sooner the better. Come on, if I can step away from the diet soda, you can step away from the cigarettes. We’ll just be grouchy together for a few weeks. Deal?
- If you regularly spend a couple of hours in the evening reading novels and newspapers, (or watching tv or surfing the web), cut into that time and use it to clean and organize your house. We feel better when things are tidy. As a bonus, housecleaning is an activity and insists on burning some of our calories for us.
These are just a few ideas, I know you can think of a lot more. Times are pretty tricky financially, and weight problems are as common as they are unhealthy. Is it any wonder more and more people are getting so frustrated and overwhelmed?
One of the tricks, in my opinion, is to simply look at how you spend your time:
- Passive or Productive?
- Constructive or Destructive?
- Helpful or Hurtful?
- Empty or Full?
One more thought (keep in mind I’m a wife/mom above all else, so I’m biased): Time spent with your family is never wasted.