Dogs, Exercise, and You

Having dogs is tremendously beneficial to well-being. Having pets has been shown to reduce depression, increase happiness, and improve your stress response in a variety of different situations.  They increase oxytocin, lower blood pressure, and improve your blood lipid profile. Beyond all of these notable benefits, I want to focus on one thing here: owning dogs gives you the opportunity to exercise outside every day.

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Meal Planning

If you’re trying to improve your diet, one of the best ways to do it is to plan your meals ahead of time, then buy that stuff, prepare what you can in advance, then you have foods ready to go.  This strategy is an example of what I call scaffolding. Trying to ‘freestyle’ your meals after a full day of work, looking after kids, and everything else is tough. If you don’t have food ready and in your house, you are going to get hungry, there’s not going to be anything healthy in the house, and you’re going to end up with a pizza guy at your door or sitting in the McDonald’s drive-thru waiting for some McNuggets.

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Scaffolding

I want to talk a bit more about some meta-topics before we get to the experiments. Again, these are “best practices” that I’m trying to engage in.

Lately I’ve been working with something that I call “scaffolding”: shaping the environment so that doing the right thing is easier, if not automatic.

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Adjacent Possibilty

A lot of self-help approaches the idea of improving your life from a position of perfect knowledge. This is why “The Secret” and affirmations are weird to me: they require you to have a specific vision filled out in your mind before you can actualize that vision. I think that a more interesting, practical way to pursue life is to spend it learning rather than visualizing exactly where you want to be.

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