Within the past year or so I have been making a conscious effort to read more. Specifically, I have been reading books on personal growth, leadership, and business. As a nutrition and fitness guru, I value physical health immensely. However, I have realized over the past few years the value of mental, emotional, and spiritual health. And in all reality, I believe to reach reaching our potential, in any area of health, we have to pay attention and cultivate all areas: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social.
I once read in a book, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, if we can commit to reading ten pages of a book we will end up reading
3,640 pages a year. In other words, that’s a good amount of information we can consume in essentially a brief period of time. I like to think of my “10 pages” a day as my “Brain Training.” Some days I look forward to sitting down with a good book and can read for hours, other days I feel overwhelmed and 10 pages seems like a lot, but in all reality, it’s not. I like to think of my time spent reading as important as my time spent in the gym lifting. If I can put in 30-120 minutes a day (depending on what I am doing that day and how my schedule plays out) doing physical activity, surely I can invest 10-30 minutes a day reading.
So what does reading have to do with training or physical fitness? For me, it brings a sense of wholeness, a bigger picture, and a greater perspective. Exercise is a stress reliever for me, especially when I am literally in the gym or engaged in the activity. However, when I am not physically partaking in the activity, the stressors of everyday life return and I don’t always have perspective, or at least one that is productive. Stress can have a pretty intense physiological response on the body as a result of hormone imbalances, lack of sleep, increased or decreased appetite, which can lead to a list of chronic diseases as well as depression and anxiety. And sometimes, our minds can either help or hinder our ability to mitigate this stress. For me, and this is not for everyone, reading is a way to alleviate stress, cultivate the mind, and develop productive perspective, one that encourages living life to the fullest.
It is very easy, and human nature, to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and operate on autopilot. We wake up, we go to work, we come home, we take care of our family, our kids, etc. (I don’t have any yet J), some of us go to the gym, some of us run errands, cook, wind down, go to bed, and repeat. Before we know it, Friday rolls around and then it’s Monday again. And the cycle continues, and if we don’t consciously put forth effort to engage in areas of health, we can lose them, and sometimes we can lose perspective. And if we don’t have some sort of grounding point, or perspective, we can miss out on our potential and ability to be our best selves, live a fulfilling life, and being happy. For me, reading helps keep me grounded.
Sometimes reading personal growth or development books can be uncomfortable or uneasy, they can call us out on our crap and force us to make some changes. It’s like working out, it can hurt at first but then we grow from it. It doesn’t happen over night, it takes consistency, but it also connects us to others and ourselves on a different level, creating that productive perspective. Invest in your health, in your perspective, and consider reading your ten pages today.
I will be writing more on reading and sharing some of the insights I pick up on from various books. And if you have any recommendations on good books, please let me know, feel free to email me at Kelley@kelleyvargo.com or if you would like some recommendations, I have plenty to share J.
Have a wonderful start to your week!