October in the Rear Mirror

The Ultimate Guide to Your Personal Diet

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If there is anything confusing it’s all the information on diet and nutrition out there. Vegan, paleo, low carb, high carb, keto, and is wine ok, and what about gluten and lactose? Even though, there is a lot of conflicting information out there, this is mainly due to the fact that everybody is looking for (or claiming to have) the one best diet. However, this doesn’t exist, there is no one best diet for everybody. There is a best diet for you though, this just takes some guidance and a couple of things that are universally true. After doing personal research for 10 years already, I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot of bad information out there. Nevertheless, there are also some things that are universally true. In this blog post I try to provide you with the necessary background information and basic info to help you create your own personal diet.

How Dialogue Can Save the World

 

dialogue-sunsetAstonished by the effect of the Brazilian elections on my everyday life, I got into thinking how this could be done differently. Fake news, political polarization, and social media wars all seem to be far from a solution to the current situation in Brazil. What could this be then? Well, friggin talk maybe? Nicely said, dialogue, is the art of conversation while leaving all assumptions on the table. This means there is space to explore new perspectives to problems and come up with new solutions. It almost seems to be too basic to be effective. However, read the blog and figure out why it actually is the most effective.

How to Use SMART Goal Setting to Change Your Perception of Time

rawpixel-755616-unsplashWhere in the blog about time I discussed how your perception of time might be self limiting. In this blog post I go into a very basic but powerful solution: goal setting. By setting goals you accept objective time frames and you create a context that allows you to compare and put your current situation into perspective. Goal setting has been shown to improve performance and the ability to overcome mental trauma.

How Your Perception of Time is Limiting You and How To Change It

clockTime, was the first topic I wrote about on this blog. In the first blog I wrote about how my perspective on it changed. In this months’ blog post on time I get into how we perceive time subjectively and how it’s objectively progressing. I believe that a lot of our discomfort comes from the fact that we aren’t aware of the fact that whatever we experience things go as fast as they can. Read more on the blog itself to raise awareness to this interesting phenomenon that’s part of all our lives.

Why in Healthcare and Politics Treating The Root Cause is Not The Solution (Yet)

tree-trunkI take a closer look at the systems upon which healthcare and politics function. When taking a more profound look at both them it quickly becomes clear how there is no reason for it’s players to resolve issues right its’ source. From my perspective there is too much to be gained from short term decisions in terms of money and power. However more importantly, it is that we humans are incredibly bad at dealing with pain and discomfort. This inability is being capitalized upon in a variety of ways. Read this extensive blog on the topic to learn more about my view.

Why You Should Sleep Well Every Night

sleep-on-railroadMatthew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep” is pretty straight forward as it is intriguing. If it does anything well is show how interesting human sleep is. At the same the case is simple: you should sleep well every night. In my blog I describe the most important things I learned from the book. Also, you will never have to feel guilty anymore for sleeping during the afternoon. No you are not lazy, you are smart!
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How to Use SMART Goal Setting to Change Your Perception of Time

In the first part of this blog post about how our perception of time is limiting us, we discovered how there is a difference between how we perceive time and how things actually develop over time. This tension is largely subject to how we experience time, that is, how our thoughts and emotions are influencing our perception of objective time. As things go, thoughts and emotions are the only things in our lives that are not bound to space nor time.

Underneath I will discuss how you can relieve yourself of this tension and make your life a little easier. The tool to this, is nothing less elementary than goal setting.

The Power of Creating Focus

The power of goal setting comes from two things. First, the fact that humans excel in focusing. Not only in a abstract manner but also in a physical manner. Try to look at a point in front of you and see how everything around that sight blurs eventually. Any person playing sports, or having experienced anything of heightened importance will have experienced this ability someway or another. This phenomenon was beautifully shown in an experiment where study subjects were asked to count how many times a group of people threw the ball around in a video. Most of them counted right. Nobody saw the gorilla walking by though. Later they redid the experiment, since everybody was focusing on the gorilla now, little people saw the color changes in the background.

Goals are Context

Second, in an abstract manner, setting goals in the future has been shown to improve performance and the capacity to overcome mental trauma. Also, it supposedly closes the gap between ethnic and minority achievement rate.

The combination of using human excellence and the fact that goals allow us to compare everything we experience in relation to it, makes goal setting remarkably useful. As Dan Ariely mentions in his book Predictably Irrational:

Most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.

Thus, goals not only bring our perception of time and objective times closer towards each other, it also creates context. A set goal is is like something slapping you in the face when you start imagining things other than what is actually going on, a written reality check.

For reference, I added the list of objective times again that I used in the first part of this blog post.

objective-times

SMART Goal Setting

Now to the practical part. A commonly used system for goal setting is the SMART system. They tortured me with this in university time after time. “You need to set SMART goals, otherwise you won’t know if your treatment is having any effect”. And really, it’s true, definitely when working with people, there are so many variables, it’s nice to have something to relate to.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Let’s take an example here, you want to improve your fitness. This goal by itself is hard to test but once put into SMART form it will get tangible. First you need to be more specific, you can use the 5 W’s for this. Who, What, When, Why, and Where. In this case this could be you alone (who) goes running (what), after work (when), to improve fitness (why) in the park (where).

run-in-park

To make your fitness increase measurable you decided you want to be able to run 5k, since you can run 2k now this is achievable. It is also realistic depending on your current situation (you run 2k already). This might have been different if you decided to run a marathon. However, this all depends as well on the time you designate to achieve your goal.

The SMART goal would come together like this:

I want to be able to run 5k after work in the park to improve my fitness 8 weeks from now.

This goal is simple to construct because the specific part is easily described. If you take a look at the list of objective times above, there are some things that are inherently harder to describe and to measure. If you want to prevent chronic disease in 20 years, how do you make that goal? Or when you want to change cultural beliefs?

What to Do With Goals that Can’t Be Made Specific or is Difficult to Measure?

The key here is to figure out what the indicators are that lead to these things. In the case of preventing chronic disease these are markers like cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and fat percentage. However, what are the markers for change in cultural beliefs? Or for that sake what are the markers for political change?

In some cases these markers or predictors might be there, but culture and politics are systems that are the result of our collective beliefs. At the same time changes take years. From my perspective the only sensible way to deal with these things is that first, you have to accept that you can influence these things, and second that it starts with you thinking and acting differently. If you want to put this into SMART terms, I leave up to you.

Hey there! You can also follow on me Twitter now, click here! Thanks and see you around, Joël