People are always looking for new ways to improve the world around them. You can start by improving yourself. There are always new opportunities to improve your life and plan for the future, by working on your health, your career, even your local community. But have you ever thought about why we leave a legacy and what your lasting impression might be?
How will the choices you make today affect how you're remembered? MemorialPlanning.com is focused on helping you establish a long-lasting legacy, and this starts with living as long as possible. Since September is Self-Improvement Month, we wanted to offer tips on how you can improve your life and make a choice to plan your legacy.
Legacy Planning through Self-Improvement
Do you ever look back and wish you could give advice to your younger self? This is your opportunity! It's time to implement a healthy diet, exercise daily, read a book, and enjoy a longer, happier life! What are you waiting for? Don't leave a legacy of regret. Start today, you'll be happy you did.
Diet and Exercise
Proper diet and exercise are vital to a healthy lifestyle. According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, "about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2 - 19 are obese." This is a direct result of unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. To improve your diet, try implementing Meatless Monday, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health initiative to reduce saturated fat in the American diet. This will force you to be creative with your meals and add nutrient rich vegetables. Bonus: cutting back on meat will reduce the amount of money you spend on groceries.
People commonly think that the only way to improve your fitness is to join a gym, but they're wrong. There are plenty of simple, free ways to stay fit. Are you a dog owner? Take your dog for a 20-minute walk twice a day. This will get your heartrate up, increase the number of steps you take each day, and provide some much needed exercise for you and your furry friend. Do you work in an office building? Choose to improve your fitness by taking the stairs. It's a great form of cardiovascular exercise.
Mental Exercise and Mindfulness
Self-improvement shouldn't stop at your physical appearance. Exercising your brain and practicing mindfulness are great ways to work your most important muscle. If you don't challenge and exercise your brain, it will atrophy. To improve brain health, try reading a book or doing a puzzle for an hour instead of watching television. You can also download brain training games such as Lumosity Brain Games & Brain Training or Peak to your phone or mobile device to exercise your brain when you're on the go.
Finally, you can improve yourself and your relationship with others by practicing mindfulness. In today's world of 24-hour news networks and smartphones, it can be hard to live in the moment and be present for our friends and family. The first step to mindfulness is to put down your phone. If you are having a conversation with someone, do not look at your phone. Concentrate on what that person is saying, repeat back what he or she has told you, and ask questions. This will allow the other person to know you are interested in what he or she is saying and it will help you remember the conversation. Another way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. Meditation can result in better focus, clearer thoughts, and less stress in your life.
Why We Leave a Legacy
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Just as important as ensuring you are physically and mentally healthy now is ensuring you leave a proper legacy for the future. Legacy planning is living and acting in such a way that you would like to be remembered. It can be seen in acts of charity, time spent with loved ones, or in sharing a skill or interest. Your legacy is a conscious decision to, in the words of Michael Josephson, "choose to live a life that matters."
Why do we leave a legacy? A legacy is a testament to a life well lived, and a lasting impression on loved ones. We leave a legacy to leave a piece of ourselves for the next generation and to hopefully leave the world a better place than we found it.
Is there a cause or organization you feel passionate about? Leave a legacy of charity and compassion. Start a charity or support group and get your friends and family involved. Raise awareness by hosting information events and organizing fundraisers. You will leave a lasting impression and your enthusiasm will encourage others to take up your cause.
Develop a Hobby to Share
Hobbies are a great way to share mutual interests and form a bond with friends or family members. Do you have a green thumb? Plant a garden with loved ones and watch your flowers as well as your relationships blossom. We recommend perennials that can be divided and transferred at the end of the season. This will allow you to share your garden with loved ones so they can take pleasure in the beauty of their blooms, which can serve as a warm reminder of your impact long into the future.
Are you a foodie? Cook for your family and friends, and leave a legacy of mouth-watering home cooked meals. Food creates sensory memories that will last for years to come. If you love food but consider yourself a novice in the kitchen, take a culinary class with friends or family. Whether your legacy is a cheesy piece of lasagna or the sweet taste of homemade fudge, each bite will remind them of the love and care you put into every meal.
Stay True to Your School
Is your family already a 'legacy' at a college or university? There are many families that have a strong connection to the school they attended. Did you meet your spouse while sitting on a campus bench? Leave a legacy of love. Plan to donate a memorial bench with a plaque to commemorate the moment.
Have multiple generations of your family played sports for your alma mater? Attend home games or invite family, friends, and old teammates to your home to watch the game and make memories. Their passion for the game will only rival their passion for you and the memories of your time spent together.
Plan Ahead by Planning Your Burial
Finally, leave your loved ones with your legacy instead of a burden. Planning your burial now will ensure your family doesn't have to figure out how to pay for the expenses or guess what they think you would have wanted during their time of grief. You can select your preferred burial method and even the type of memorial and what it says. Download our free pre-planning kit to take full control of your legacy and ensure a lasting, worry free tribute for those you leave behind.