Unless you’ve been living in a hole for the past few weeks, you can’t have failed to see Jamie Oliver touting his new book “Everyday Superfood“, along with his series of the same name. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying trying out the delicious, nutritious but surprisingly simple recipes he’s come up with, and particularly admire his philosophy of living the life you love while taking care of yourself – even he admits that he doesn’t follow the superfood rules on a daily basis, but takes pleasure in the occasional weekend blowout on the “healthy” stuff. I am planning to blog some of my recipe attempts, just as soon as I can choose which recipes are the tastiest!
What I have also been trying out, for the past few months, is the YOU app, which is designed to encourage healthy habits for the mind, body and soul by carrying out one small action each day. I confess I don’t always do the action, which involves spending a minute or two thinking about the topic, snapping a photo, then uploading it, Instagram-styleeee. Other app users are free to comment or like the photo to show their support and encouragement. Being a Billy No-mates, I don’t tend to get likes, but I find the app to be a useful reminder that I am a very small part of the bigger picture. Sometimes the actions are simple, such as taking time to put your phone down for half an hour and focus on what you are doing, and other times they can be more lively, focusing on movement (although this can be something as minor as walking an extra stop to the bus, rather than committing to training for a marathon!)
The actions (which You-app calls micro-actions, due to their simplicity and ease of completion) are categorised as “Love”, “Move”, “Food” and “Mind”, and as well as a daily micro-action, there is the option to choose a weekly action from a set list, and also a “keep it up” action for something you really want to make a change with. I particularly like the Mind and the Love actions, as I find these to be the areas of my life where I want to make the biggest change.
The reasoning behind the app is that to make a big change is hard, but small changes add up. As it says in the science bit…“We take too big a bite…. focus on becoming something (not what we’ll do) and past failures make us expect failure”. By making small, explicit promises there is a greater chance of success. My overall pledge to myself is to be the happiest and most relaxed person I can be, which I am working towards by focusing on all the good the things I have in my life, rather than the occasional thing that goes wrong. For example, when my 9 year old son’s new Ipod blared “Born To Be Wild” out at 7am, I focused on the wonderful individuality he has, and that he’s not afraid to show it in his musical choices. A photo is mandatory and an action can’t be completed without it, and this is because it makes users think about it more, and therefore it has more significance, which makes sense. It’s easy to look at a prompt, think “oh yeah…” then carry on with your business. But if you have to stop to think and take a picture, you’re more likely to take it in and it will have more of an effect.
I particularly like their manifesto…
Your life is not a number or a dashboard – it’s not how many steps you walked, how many calories you ate or your place on the leaderboard.
Life is richer – it’s feelings, moments, shared experiences!
Life is enjoying every victory, celebrating balance and showing vulnerability.
Life is being perfectly imperfect.
I really do like this app, and am finding it very useful in my quest for mindfulness. If you are keen to make changes to your life, by introducing healthy habits to improve your health, happiness or overall wellbeing, I’d recommend you give it a go. And if you would like to find me, and see what I have been snapping, it would be great to link up.