10 Hacks To Level-Up in 2021!
Quarantine has crushed our friendships, our physiques, and for most of us, our happiness. The thing is it doesn’t have to! We can combat our new normal with simple tricks in our daily lives. We can get strong. We can build relationships. We CAN be happy!
The most common phrase of 2020 was: “It’ll be what it’ll be…”
Second most common phrase: “Can’t wait until it’s over!”
Now that it is, what are you going to do?
We, too easily, accept the things we are given. We accept the conditions placed on our lives, such as being locked in our apartment for fear of viral death. Yes, gyms are closed and bars are empty. We get upset, sure, but then we sit down and take it. We tell ourselves that it’s okay to be a product of our environment, allowing our happiness to be flushed down the toilet in compliance.
That shouldn’t be the case at all! Of course, we have to be safe, but there are plenty of ways that we can combat COVID-19 and STILL better ourselves.
I know what you’re thinking. Cliché, right? Wrong! Well, maybe. But that’s not a bad thing. Not enough people actually listen to their bodies and the millions of articles on the internet on how to sleep. It’s ridiculous how often we allow our addictions to the internet (or that one YouTube channel) to consume us and fall into a void night after night. We prevent ourselves from succeeding before our day even starts. Groggy, dehydrated, depressed. That’s not a great beginning to any story.
Sleep. Yeah, that simple. This calculator tells you exactly how long you need to sleep in order to wake up the next morning on-time and well-rested. Try it out for a full week. And maybe follow these other simple things, too.
1. Have a plan of attack for the next morning and review it before you sleep. Personally, I like checklists. It’ll spark positive reinforcement and you’ll jumpstart your day.
2. No electronics for at least 30 minutes before bed. Use this time to read or journal your thoughts.
3. Throw your phone on the floor or charge it on the other side of the room.
4. No light during Night-Night. (For realz. Turn everything off and close your shades.)
Quick Tip: Don’t neglect the 20-minute power nap! They are AMAZING. Just don’t overdo it. 20-minutes is all you need.
2. Partner Up!
A quick fix to any motivation problem is to find someone to partner up with. Whether you’re sleeping next to them or they’re across the world, get in contact with another living, breathing human and use them to keep you motivated. Tell them your goals, and how you’re going to accomplish them. This will keep you accountable. The bonus? You can do this for them too!
3. Workout in 2 Ways
One thing people don’t quite understand is fitness. That’s okay. Half the internet and social media feeds are filled with influencers telling you how to get in shape. Should you listen to them, maybe…
I love a good workout video, but you don’t really need all that. One simple fitness hack I use is this: Workout 2 different ways each day.
Whether it’s biking, hiking, jogging, or weightlifting, pick two you love and split your workouts between them. This will keep you engaged (preventing boredom), and it will help complete the imbalances that only one workout method will create. Here are some quarantine-friendly methods:
1. Calisthenics (that bodyweight stuff people like to hate on)
3. Martial Arts
7. Virtual Reality (Super fun)
There are plenty more, so start looking!
4. Better Content, Better Mind
Let’s be real for a minute. You watch silly videos on YouTube and scroll endlessly through models’ Instagram accounts… Oh look, a cat!
This isn’t the engaging content that is going to keep you motivated throughout your day. You don’t have to be a productive machine, but we ingest good foods, so why not better content?
TED talks and TED-Ed YouTube videos are a great example. The content is quick, easy to grasp, and super fun to watch. The best part is, you learn while you watch.
Medium is another great tool for staying productive. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through twitter, read a quick Medium article. This keeps the “working” part of your brain on throughout the day, not constantly switching it over to that other part- the part where lounging on your couch in your underwear all day sounds awesome…
5. Learn a New Skill
It isn’t inherent for us to enjoy learning new things. We go through school dreading our next class, because “OH NO- I have to learn the anatomy of a frog!?!?” This kind of mentality follows us into adulthood, and we end up hating the concept of education. This is bad. Really bad.
We get complacent in our lives because we don’t know otherwise. We don’t see what can be achieved or what can be enjoyed, so we become content with what we already have and know. The problem is that this doesn’t make us better people and we let others surpass us.
Learn a new skill every month (or even every week if you have time).
It could be anything from a sport, a subject, or a trade. Learn to swim. Fix a pipe. Challenge your genius friends to a round of chess, and lose, but try anyway! Read books from the reference section at your local Barnes & Noble that teach you about things you didn’t even know existed.
Do anything and everything that the world offers. You didn’t like one thing? Well, there’s always next month. Keep it new, keep it exciting, and you will see a difference in how you see the world.
Here are some online tools. (And no, I’m not affiliated with any of them. Although, I wish!)
5. LinkedIn Learning
6. Read a Book
This one ties in really nicely to #5. Reading books is a lost art, saved only for creative writing majors and old people. Why should you read a boring book when I can watch 10 hours of Netflix? Great question.
Connecting with a single artist is a feeling you don’t get from most of pop culture these days. When you watch a movie or show, you are seeing the work of hundreds of people. The messages often get distilled for popular consumption and the outcome is a piece of art that isn’t as much as it can be. Of course, I love a good rom-com or blockbuster movie, but there’s nothing like sitting down with a book and connecting to the author one-on-one. Mano a mano. You’ll be surprised at the perspective shifts.
Books train our brains not to expect things so fast. They take a while to accomplish their task and this is more of an interpretation on life. It’s the entirety of Eastern philosophy. Movies fit everything nicely in a tight bow, but a book stretches and has you yearning. This builds patience and patience is great for you.
7. Weekly Debates with Friends
Engage in a fun, well-thought, and well-fought debate with someone you’re close to and maybe someone you’re not. It doesn’t have to be a disagreement, but it should engage you in a way that binge-watching Tiger King does not. (Yes, Carole Baskin did kill her husband, so NO, it’s not a good debate topic!)
Philosophy, business, society. It doesn’t matter what the debate is about. Talk about something intelligent. Become the person you couldn’t stand in high school. Guess what? That person is starting their own business.
Talk about artificial intelligence or the meaning of life. What would you do if you could be immortal? What’s your stance on alien life? These topics will allow positive growth in the way you think and feel about life’s greatest mysteries. It sounds silly, but it’s more fun than you think.
8. Meatless Meals
I love a good Bare Burger as much as anyone (if not more), but I do understand the necessity for leafy green meals that will power me in ways that pizza just can’t.
Humans need variety. We need substance. We need… I’m not gonna go into the science of it all. If you’re interested, read Superlife by Darin Olien.
Incorporate 1–2 meatless meals into your day. Whether it’s a fruity smoothie or a fresh salad with a variety of vegetables (and not a lot of dressing).
You don’t always need a “protein source” in order to make a meal complete. Even if you did, it doesn’t always have to come from meat. Try lentil soup or chick-pea salad. There are plenty of vegan bodybuilders out there. If they can do it, you can do it once or twice a day.
9. Cheat Vouchers
These are a complicated one. I don’t know if I wholeheartedly agree with it, but I do understand the value of slipping up. Not only does it remind you that no one’s perfect, but it also helps keep you on track the other 95% of the time.
It doesn’t always have to be a cheat meal. You can cheat on anything (just not your significant other, please). Cut out 2 cheat vouchers that are horribly drawn on some notebook paper and exchange them each week for something you want, but don’t think should go into your schedule or plan for success.
Maybe it’s a quick trip to Haagen-Dazs, or a night spent playing video games. Just let yourself be “normal” so that the rest of the time you can be a BEAST. Most plans go awry when the planner is way too strict. Loosen up just enough to enjoy life while your goals take off!
You don’t need to be the Buddha, nor a monk somewhere in the mountains neglecting the realities of life. There’s no harm in that, but I know if you’re reading this, that’s not part of your plan. It doesn’t have to be. You don’t even need to meditate each day but be mindful at least 99% of the time.
Mindfulness doesn’t entail humming or yoga. It means understanding your place in the world at each moment; where you are and where you want to be. Think about something as simple as your breath and let it bring you into the moment.
We get caught up in the future and the past and that awkward conversation in the elevator. We forget to take what we need from the present. This habit will bring great things into our minds.
Take a deep breath, fill your lungs. Feel the energy, let it out. Remember that you are here, right now, in this place and time. Do that often and you’ll power up for life!