Humour me for a moment while you read the next two paragraphs, and trust that this post is not all gloom and doom.
Two years ago today, Ben’s world came crashing down around him. He went to see Dr B for the results of his MRI which was supposed to determine whether or not he would need back surgery or a cortisone injection. Instead, he received his death sentence.
He didn’t tell me about it for two days, so I lived in blissful oblivion and whistled my way through the next 48 hours doing and saying exactly what I wanted. My most prominent memory is coming home from work on April 8th and saying “Why didn’t you empty the dishwasher while I was at work??!!” Yes, Ben had just been given a death sentence and I was worried about the dishes. Not my proudest moment. Granted, I still had no idea that our lives had just come to a screeching halt, but my annoyance over the dishes remains one of the things I remember and sure wish I could take back. (Let that be a lesson to anyone reading this … shut up and stop complaining about trivial things. Take a moment right now to stop and throw some love out to your other half. No matter what happens, the two of you will not be together until the end of time. One of you is going to have to live like I am currently living … without my Love and carrying regret over the fact that I bitched about the dishes.) If you’re interested, I wrote about that day in this post.
Moving forward, I recently came across a blog post written by a fellow named Benjamin P. Hardy, titled “50 Ways (that) Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms.” (For the record, the word “that” was not in the title, but I thought it should be.) His post struck a chord with me because I happen to agree with many of the 50 points on his list for living my best life, although I currently do not adhere to them.
That is about to change.
So, on this most significant day that my brain currently recognizes as “The Day Ben Found Out He Was Dying,” I have decided to begin something that he would be most proud of. Something he would have done himself, because he was a man who spent every day of his adult life trying to become a better person than he was the day before. And although some of his self improvement schemes were annoying, like his continual preaching “Everyone must go gluten free! You will die if you don’t go gluten free!” (I assume you can see the irony in that one), most of his efforts could only be admired as he regularly searched for ways to expand his mind, improve his overall health and fitness, and to be a great Dad and partner.
With Ben as my inspiration, I have decided to use Mr. Hardy’s list to improve myself. I’m going to challenge myself to act on one of his suggestions per week until I work my way through most of them. I look forward to seeing how I come out the other side, and I may be able to change the name of this day to “The Day I Changed My Life In Honour Of Ben.” Or at least combine the two titles. That’ll be a mouthful.
*Note that I said I was going to act on “most” of Mr. Hardy’s suggestions. Not all of them. That’s because some of his suggestions are things I already do (see #5) and some are just crazy. (see #1)
Here’s the list, pared down without all the extra detail around why it is important to do each one and how it will positively effect you if you do. If I’m moved to blog about each one I try then I will provide his detailed explanation at the top of each post. (I say “if I’m moved” to blog about how I do because I don’t want to commit to do that and then not follow through. Let me get some momentum going and see how I do.):
- Stop consuming caffeine (See? Crazy. Not doing it. Well, maybe. But not right away)
- Pray or meditate morning, mid-day, and night
- Read 1 book per week
- Write in your journal 5 minutes per day
- Marry the person you love (Definitely already knocked this one out of the park)
- Make a bucket list and actively knock items off
- Stop consuming refined sugar (ouch)
- Fast from all food and caloric beverages 24 hours once per week
- Fast from the internet 24 hours once per week
- Stop consuming the news or reading the newspaper
- Do something everyday that terrifies you
- Do something kind for someone else daily
- Go to bed early and rise early
- Get 7+ hours of sleep each night
- Replace warm showers with cold ones
- Say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on
- Say “Thank you” every time you’re served by someone
- Say “I love you” 3+ times a day to the most important people in your life
- Consume 30 grams of protein within the first 30 minutes of waking up
- Listen to audiobooks and podcasts on 1.5 or 2x speed, your brain will change faster
- Decide where you’ll be in five years and get there in two
- Remove all non-essentials from your life (start with your closet)
- Consume a tablespoon of coconut oil once per day
- Buy a juicer and juice a few times per week
- Choose to have faith in something bigger than yourself, skepticism is easy
- Stop obsessing about the outcome
- Give at least one guilt-free hour to relaxation per day
- Genuinely apologize to people you’ve mistreated
- Make friends with five people who inspire you
- Save 10 percent or more of your income
- Tithe or give 10 percent of your income away
- Drink 64–100 ounces of water per day
- Buy a small place rather than rent (Done)
- Check your email and social media at least 60–90 minutes after you wake up
- Make a few radical changes to your life each year (Well, clearly I’m no slouch in this department. Lose Ben. Retire. What more does he want?)
- Define what wealth and happiness mean to you
- Change the way you feel, think, and act about money”
- Invest only in industries you are informed about
- Create an automated income source that takes care of the fundamentals (Done. But I’m going to think on this one anyway.)
- Have multiple income streams (the more the better) (Again, done. But again, I’m still going to think on this one and see what else I can do. I don’t think my current income streams are what he had in mind.)
- Track at least one habit/behaviour you’re trying to improve
- Have no more than 3 items on your to-do list each day
- Make your bed first thing in the morning
- Make one audacious request per week (what do you have to lose?)
- Be spontaneously generous with a stranger at least once per month
- Write and place a short, thoughtful note for someone once per day
- Become good friends with your parents (Done. Thank God. I can’t imagine how I would have survived without them. I think I will change this one to: Become good friends with your adult children.)
- Floss your teeth
- Eat at least one meal with your family per day
- Spend time reflecting on your blessings at least once per day
Well, there you have it. The List. I think I may add some of my own that aren’t included on here, like:
- Work out or get some type of strenuous exercise 5 times per week and
- Spend time outside in nature every day
Those ones would be numbers 51 and 52 but I can’t seem to make the numbering work. Perhaps I should add “learn how to use numbering in a blog.” Anyway, you get the picture. Writing this blog post today fulfills #4. I’m exhausted. Haha.
Now that I’ve publicly declared my intent I will begin by choosing which one of the above points I will start with. I’m not doing them in numerical order. My plan is to practice each one regularly for a week and see what sticks. Hopefully a week of flossing and another week of drinking lots of water will turn into habits that I can continue throughout the following weeks into forever, as I attempt the rest of the points.
Number 48 is probably a wise place to begin.
I think Sundays will be a good day to begin something new each week. I guess that means I don’t have to floss until tomorrow.
Have a fantastic weekend and do something nice for your spouse.