I read once about a man who, after reaching several thousand e-mails in his inbox, decided he was completely overwhelmed. He deleted everything and told everyone on his contacts list that he was starting over.
A fresh start. Tempting, isn’t it? I have my own e-mail story I’ll tell you someday, but in the meantime, let’s think about information overload and what it means for our fitness – fitness being not just what happens in the gym, but eating well, moving often, and navigating life’s little adventures.
Hello Information Overload
Compared to just a few years ago, it feels like our lives are overflowing with information. And don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful for all the resources we have. We can find workouts, recipes, or meal plans in a few seconds. We can learn how to meditate and get inspired. If we want to understand dorsiflexion, a decent explanation is just a Google search away.
I love it. But I worry that it mires us down sometimes. We intend to build healthy habits, like eating more veggies, but are constantly distracted and it never seems to happen. We see awesome workout ideas on Facebook or Instagram, but they flow by without action or impact. We may even buy workout programs, but never put them to good use. It’s also really easy to get caught up in learning mode and then never take action.
Meanwhile, goals of getting stronger or losing weight elude us.
Ever felt really inspired by a helpful book you read, only to forget all about it a few weeks or months later? I have done this way too many times.
The First Step: Simplify
We’ll always want and need to learn new things, but the question is, how can we use information effectively to make our lives better? We’ve got things to do; how can we make them happen?
The first step is to simplify.
Yes, it’s possible to write a treatise on just about any topic – sleep, veggies, stress – but you know what? We are getting lost in details. Or at least that’s how it feels to me. And I’m a detail person – a work colleague once told me I speak like a talking footnote at work! (Ironic footnote-like observation: it wasn’t a compliment, but was totally fair).
Plus, for anyone with a thoroughly unreasonable schedule, sometimes you barely have time to go the restroom, much less do all the “right” things to stay healthy.
So let’s think about a different approach. Let’s take the very best, most credible advice we can find on eating, moving, and living well. The kind of stuff you wish you had learned in school but never did, or would teach a child as part of living a healthy life. Organize it in some kind of fun, interesting, and easily accessible way so it’s top of mind and there when you need it.
What you’d end up with is a collection of sorts – but instead of snow globes, it’d be really useful tools for living well and being awesome.
This is what I’m doing here.
Collect ‘Em All
Why a collection? It’s fun and has a quirky feel to it. Collections celebrate all kinds of things – from vintage jewelry, to Pez dispensers, to rare coins or art. A great collection will showcase a treasure from all angles.
The knowledge and skills that go into a delicious, energizing meal are treasures. So is being able to manage stress, maintain a healthy body weight, and develop a workout schedule that fits you.
For ease of reference, we can think of these treasures as Fit Life Tools:
- FIT because we all deserve to be healthy and happy
- LIFE because fitness is beyond the gym, and everything we do has an impact, from eating to sleep to stress
- TOOLS because we need realistic ways to take action – meaning credible information that empowers us, builds skills we need, or enhances our ability to actually *do* what we set out to do
As my first project out of the gate, I developed a Bite Size Guide to the Science of Happiness. It goes through some of the cool background on the field of Positive Psychology and reviews some simple, yet helpful exercises anyone can try. You can find it in the Album portion of the Fit Energies Facebook page.
Why Bite Size? The idea is to provide just a taste of important fit living topics. It’s my response to information overload, unreasonable schedules, stress. It had to be short enough to read in a few minutes, but substantive enough to be actionable. After a quick review, the ideas can be put into practice right away, or the cited resources can be consulted for an even deeper understanding.
There is so much good info out there. It’s just a matter of finding it, taking a moment to appreciate its value, and most of all, actually USING what we know to enhance our health.