When you’re on a quest for self-improvement, there are countless books, apps, methods, etc., out there that promise to “fix” you, or help you become the best you you can be. Bullet journals, meditation apps, yoga studios, books promising to help you “get your shit together”—there’s no shortage of products, services and experiences to buy in our culture.
But what if, rather than acquire new hobbies or projects, you turned to your old interests and pursued them with fervor and commitment? What if you tried that for a whole year?
That’s what David Cain proposed on his blog, Raptitude. He wrote that the idea, which he deemed a Depth Year, immediately “caught fire.” With a Depth Year, you’re going “deeper rather than wider”:
The “Depth Year” was supposed to be hypothetical—a reflection on how our consumer reflexes tend to spread our aspirations too thin. Because it’s so easy to acquire new pursuits, we tend to begin what are actually enormous, lifelong projects (such as drawing, or language-learning) too often, and abandon them too easily.
Not purchasing new things is key, but perhaps more important, Cain writes, is the recognition that “depth” has a different meaning to everyone. For some, it could mean embracing what you have and holding off on buying new toys. “To others it’s a more general pruning of waste, a suspicion of the impulse to acquire, and a refocusing on what really matters,” he writes.
The goal is go deeper with your current goals and hobbies—reading the books you already have, practicing more yoga poses rather than trying meditation for the first time, etc.—to stay the course, and “cultivate” the value of the things we’re already engaged in.
Cain writes that for him, the Depth Year helped him create “a new lens for looking at the tools and opportunities that had always been there.” Possibility was everywhere, he writes, when you learn to look for it.
This type of shift in perspective can help you overcome our culture’s constant need for more and better. Instead of thinking about what you don’t have or cannot do, you go deeper with what you already have, and can do.
“Ageing is a fact of life. Looking your age is not.”
I have turned forty last year, but more often than not, in my engagement with strangers who meet me for the first time, I am commonly perceived as being in my late twenties or in my early thirties. The next question that comes up usually would be, “what is your anti-ageing regime?” The creation of Wellaholic as a wellness company focusing on great health, great beauty and great fitness stems from my conviction that while we all age, we can take positive steps to looking younger and better than our age. In this articulate, I would like to share my thoughts on this favourite topic of anti-ageing.
Q: At what age should one start anti-ageing skincare?
A: Can we ever be too young for anti-ageing products? There is an enormous amount of independent research which shows that people in their 20s and early 30s can take simple yet crucial steps to retard ageing. First and foremost, wear sunscreen consistent. Secondly, avoid smoking.
In terms of protecting against the sun’s harmful rays, Adam Friedman, MD, director of dermatologic research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has this to say, “I cannot stress enough that the No. 1 thing young adults can do to limit the signs of ageing is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 30 or higher every single day.” In our sunny island of Singapore, this is even more important, as we are subject to large amounts of harmful UV rays. From Wellaholic, we have our W+ Protective Day Cream with SPF50++, which offers the highest protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
In terms of smoking, studies have shown that it hampers the body’s ability to make collagen and also leads to premature wrinkling. Take a look at any smokers around you, and you will start to notice that their complexion is less plump. Add a heavy cigarette habit with lots of sun exposure and it is likely that you are more than 10 times more likely to develop wrinkles than people around your same age who do not smoke and avoid the sun. In short, one should start anti-ageing skincare in one’s early twenties.
Q: What are some of the essentials of anti-ageing skincare?
A: There are a few key components of skincare, or face care. We have the following:
For facial cleanser, I always recommend getting an affordable facial cleanser. This is because most facial cleansers or facial soaps do the same thing – they provided a (limited) cleanup of the skin surface. Dr. Beatrice Wang of Carey Wang Dermatology in Montreal, has this to say, “ Washing your face is not a bad idea, but I don’t think you have to be vigorous about skin cleansing. Most of us are not doing manual labour, so we are not getting that dirty.”
Instead, I highly recommend using a good toner. When asked “What’s the secret weapon to healthy skin,” Dr. Hadley King, a New York City board-certified dermatologist, had a simple answer: toner. “Toners are most helpful and necessary for people with oily or acne-prone skin, or for people who want extra cleansing after wearing makeup or other heavy skin products such as sun screen,” she explains.
At Wellaholic, we advocate our alcohol-free W+ Tightening Toner, which contains Azeloglicinia®, Salicylic Acid Complex, Aloe Vera Extract and Hyaluronic Acid, that helps to control sebum while hydrating and clarifying the skin. Azeloglicina® is a patented natural identical derived active ingredient that illuminates and improves texture clarity for a more glowing complexion; it addresses uneven skin tone and dark spots while improving skin quality for a brighter and more luminous complexion.
Throughout the day, I would suggesting using a strong sunscreen, like our W+ Protective Day Cream with SPF50++. In order to fully protect your skin, you should ideally apply the day cream in the morning as well as right before lunch, before you step out of your office.
In terms of facial serum, I am a strong proponent of Retinol or Retinyl Palmitate. The benefits of retinol for skin are huge. Retinol is proven to stop premature aging of skin. If you want better facial skin, retinol gets results, and this is widely documented in many articles. Wellaholic’s W+ Flawless Face Serum is formulated for the Asian skin, and contains a gentler but effective Retinyl Palmitate, which helps to increase collagen production and hydration to gently reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, excess sebum and enlarged pores and signs of sun damage.
However, a face serum does not contain any moisturizing element, and hence cannot help keep your skin moisturized throughout the night. Hence, it is important to find a night cream that works in tandem with your face serum. In our belief of the powers of retinol, Wellaholic’s W+ Rejuvenating Night cream assists in cellular regeneration and the prevention of collagen loss from UV photo-damage and ageing. With the goodness of Retinyl Palmitate, Hyaluronic Acid and Allantoin.
Q: In addition to skincare, what are the other ways to look and feel younger?
A: As espoused previously, I believe that a good diet, good supplementation and good fitness all work together to help me look and feel younger. Since my last twenties, I have been on a daily supplementation of Resveratrol, after reading a research article by the Harvard Medical School on the abilities of Resveratrol to slow down ageing. More than a decade later, I am still on this daily regime, and whether this has contributed to my looking younger is something that I cannot verify, but the growing amount of literature and research on Resveratrol seems to support the initial claims.
In fact, Wellaholic’s W+ Resveratrol was one of the key reasons to the creation of our Wellaholic business, as part of my conviction that good things should be shared with all, and that the journey to the fountain of youth cannot be made within a day; it requires years of discipline!
And of course, one should not forget fitness and exercise. New research shows that regular physical activity can reduce the inflammation in the body that comes with aging, which could also help decrease your risk of developing related diseases and conditions—like heart disease, depression, decreased mental function, and loss of muscle mass.
And there you go -- Ageing is a fact of life. Looking your age is not. There are things that you can do to look younger, but it requires consistency, commitment and discipline. It’s never too early to start, so let’s start today!
1. You have no idea what Retinol is.
A retinoid should not make your skin any more vulnerable to UV rays.
4. You forget the rest of the other steps.
Make sure that the rest of your skincare routine is soothing and gentle. Use a gentle cleanser, and a hydrating toner (such as our W+ Tightening Toner, which contains Azeloglicinia®, Salicylic Acid Complex, Aloe Vera Extract and Hyaluronic Acid that clears and control sebum while hydrating the skin), a day dream with SPF 50++ during the day, and add on a face serum in the evening and a night cream before going to bed.
5. You worry that you skin will initially look worse before it gets better.
While retinoids might cause dryness or redness, you can help by easing in. Try applying it every other night to allow your skin to adjust to the effects of the retinoid. It is exactly why Wellaholic uses retinyl palmitate instead of retinol, as retinyl palmitate is relatively gentler and does the same effects and retinol (i.e. breaking down into retinoic acid) but without the irritation.
6. You believe you cannot afford it.
We did a quick scout of retinol-based creams in the market and found these:
a. Youth Corridor by Dr Gerald Imber (50ml) at $854
b. Perricone MD OVM Serum (30ml) at $217
c. NaturaBisse Intense Retinol Fluid (30ml) at $147
d. Redermic R Anti-Ageing Dermatological Corrector Intensive at (30ml) $79.90
e. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 (30ml) at $99
f. W+ Flawless Face Serum (30ml) at $79
g. W+ Rejuvenating Night Cream (50ml) at $79
Hence you will realise that while there is a wide range of retinoids in the market, they all work the same, i.e. they require retinoids to break down to retinoic acid to do the work. At Wellaholic, we believe in a two-step treatment. Step 1 is the application of the face serum. Face Serums leave out occlusive, or airtight, moisturising ingredients that keep water from evaporating. Serums are made of very small molecules, so the skin absorbs them quickly and deeply. As most of the fluid is eliminated, what you are left with is a high concentration of active ingredients. However, this leaves the face dry and in need of hydration. This is also why we have recommended Step 2, which is the application of a Night Cream before going to bed. The night cream also contains retinyl palmitate as well as moisturising ingredients so as to keep your face moist and hydrated throughout the night while letting the retinoid do its magic.
7. You are not maximising your IPL or Elight treatments.
Retinoids actually work very well with IPL and Elight treatments. While Elight treatments help boost the skins’ collagen beneath the skin’s surface, retinoids will help the exfoliating process, working in tandem with the Elight treatment for a more radiant skin with less lines and spots. A 2006 study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17177 749) investigated the combined use of IPL and a retinyl-based cream and discovered an improvement in skin smoothness and the skin ultrasounds confirmed an increase in the deposition of collagen. During an 8-month follow-up, 67% responded having the same or improved results.
The rains prevented us from heading to our secret venue for the Spartan training, but we had a good one in any case at the good ol' venue! I will need to get the training program from our Ming Hunk!
I ran and ran.
It has been a while since I ran so much.
To be honest, I didn't run much. It was just an interval training; a high-intensity sort of an interval training, but the stationary exercises, such as the push ups and jumping jacks, were really okay.
But the running wasn't.
It really wasn't a difficult run -- just that the competitive nature of us made us go the distance, literally. What we had to do for this HIIT Training, conducted patiently by the legendary Ming "Hunk", was five sets of exercises, followed by a sprint over a distance. While everyone could do the sets at their own pace, the faster individuals, who completed the set earlier, had to plank or do a standing stance while waiting for the rest to get back.
Doesn't this sound a lot like Habitica?
Because of the fact that the earlier ones would have to "suffer" while waiting for the slower ones to return, it spurred everyone to give their best. I was particularly impressed with Joyce, who took the trouble to attend the session but also to give her best. And even with Hobbes, who was in discomfort but made it down to the session as well. We were also particularly happy to have Brenda join us, thanks to Louis.
And while it has only been a month or so hanging together, slowly but surely, the frequent activities are bonding the team closely together. A strange and surreal team that we have here - it's like there is an invisible bond that connected each person, and like dots with a numbers, we are like part of a join-the-dots diagram, slowly forming the total picture, but also patiently waiting for the hidden people or dots-with-a-number, to join us, so that we can eventually form the complete picture. In the spirit of Wellaholic, I certainly hope that more people would come to realise the Wellaholic vision, and then come join us for all the fun activities that we have made effort to create.
So what about the run? My competitive nature made me want to do the best that I can, and that meant giving my best shot. #livethechange!
PS: So what's the picture that would be formed? I wouldn't know, but time will tell.
To find out more about Wellaholic, please go to www.wellaholic.com
To find out more about the list of wellness marketplace events, visit http://www.facebook.com/teamwellaholic/events/
Day 24 of the #30days60secCoreChallenge + Day 10 of the #wellaholicabroller Challenge
Day 24 of the #30days60secCoreChallenge + Day 10 of the #wellaholicabroller Challenge
Had the weekly Wednesday team meeting, and then decided to do an executive ab roller with the knees, and ending it off with an ab roller plank till the 60 seconds are up.
And of course, special guest appearance by none other than the Price of Egypt, Tigger Boy!
Here's how we do it:
1. Execute a core exercise movement for 60 sec, 30 days.
2. Video, post online, hashtag #30days60secCoreChallenge and#livethechange
3. Tag 5 friends to get them into action too.
4. Explain why we do it. (transform ourselves and one person at a time). °
You might be astounded to know that long long time ago in America, in the early twenties, hardly anyone brushed their teeth. In fact, rotting teeth was such a serious problem for the soldiers in World War One that government officials declared poor dental hygiene as a national security risk! That all changed, however, when a marketing maestro by the name of Claude Hopkins.
Claude was actually the genius that took unknown brands such as Goodyear and Quaker Oats, and turned them into household brand names. What did Claude do? His signature tactic was to tap into the habit loop by anchoring the product to a specific trigger, regardless of how incredulous the connection was. Quaker Qats, for example, became successful when Claude was able to convince America that it provided 24-hour energy – but only if you ate a bowl every morning.
Similarly, Claude applied the same principles to toothpaste. He ran advertisements that read,
“Just run your tongue across your teeth. You will feel a film – that’s what makes your teeth ‘’off colour” and invites decay.”
After giving people the cue, he continued with images of beautiful white smiles and the statement:
“Note how many pretty teeth are seen everywhere. Millions are using a new method of teeth cleaning. Why should any woman have dingy film on her teeth? Pepsodent removes the film!”
The claim was in fact downright false and unwarranted. The “film” is a naturally occurring membrane, and toothpaste actually doesn’t do anything to remove it. However, the cue was universal and easily apparent, and people could relate to the connection to the reward (beautiful teeth). Within a decade, toothpaste usage had grown from 7% of the population to 65%, and probably 99.9% in the modern day.
Back to Febreze
In the earlier posting, I mentioned about Febreze. Febreze was actually a technological marvel that worked well. The problem was the phenomenon of the human olfactory system that causes people to become used to any smell and lose the ability to detect it. In this manner, a lady with nine cats and a house odour had no cue sufficient to induce or convince her to use the product that would probably transform her life.
P&G executive were about to axe the product when the product team discovered what scientists already knew; that a habit is only formed when the brain begins to anticipate and crave the reward the moment the cue is introduced, before the routine is even completed. You can’t sell a product that provides scentlessness because there is no cue available for the brain to anticipate.
Febreze sales went through the roof once P&G began marketing the product instead as an air freshener – a product to be used as the final step of a cleaning process or routine to make the room aromatically fresh and inviting. Once people tried the product, they began to crave the clean smell from Febreze.
Creating a Cue
It was here that the authors of the book reveal that Claude Hopkins’ methods really had little impact on the sales of Pepsodent toothpaste. In reality, that particular toothpaste’s success was completed by chance. Pepsodent had included citric acid, mint oil, and other ingredients that created that now-familiar cool, tingling effect. That feeling created a cue – people missed the feeling when they forgot to brush their teeth. The tingling serves no purpose other than to let people know the product is working.
Prevent “oops I forgot” and other excuses, and make your habits last indefinitely.
Scenario #1: The marketing team at Procter and Gamble investigates videos of people making their beds. They attempt to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, which was on track to be the greatest flops in their company history. Suddenly, one of the team members detects a nearly imperceptible pattern. With a slight shift in marketing, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.
Scenario #2: A young lady made a remarkable transformation. Over the past two years, she has transformed her life is almost every aspect. She has quit smoking, took part and completed a marathon. She has also been promoted at work. Neurologists investigated and realised that the patterns inside her brain has fundamentally changed.
What do these two scenarios have in common? Success was achieved by focusing on the patterns that shape and affect every aspect of our lives.
HABIT helped the transformation.
The Power of HABIT
Written by Pulitzer prize-winning reporter and writer, Charles Huhigg, the 2012 New York Times bestseller The Power of Habit describes several examples of the roles of habits in individuals, organisation, as well as societies, and follows up with methods to recognise and consciously direct the things that really control our behaviour and our results.
I will dedicate several blog posts to uncover the chapters one by one, with a key purpose in mind. On why it is important to form HABITS that will guide us and lead us to live a fulfilling life, or what I term as a #wellaholic life.
CHAPTER ONE: How Habits Work
The first story touched on Eugene Pauly, a 71-year-old man who lost part of the lobe of his brain (medial temporal lobe) due to a viral infection. The rest of Eugene's brain was perfectly intact, and he had no problem recounting or recalling anything that happened before 1960. However, he suffered a total short-term memory loss, and was unable to retain any knowledge of any new event or events for more than a minute. He constantly repeated his words and actions from a minute ago. Eugene could not recognise his family nor his friends, and he couldn't also tell where his bedroom was located, or how to get to the nearby supermarket.
However, in an effort to ensure that Eugene got some exercise to keep him healthy, his wife started to take him to walks around the block on a daily basis. One day, Eugene disappeared, and his wife went into panic mode, only to realise that Eugene showed up fifteen minutes later. While Eugene was unable to draw a map of his block or even point to where his house was, he was able to take that same walk around the block every day.
Eugene has demonstrated what scientists had suspected but never before proved; that habits are formed and operate entirely separately from the part of the brain responsible for memory. Later tests revealed that we learn and make unconscious choices without having to remember anything about the lesson or about decision-making.
Your brain is constantly seeking new ways to save effort.
As a result, it is always "rearranging" sequences of actions into automatic routines. Backing out of the driveway, for example requires over a dozen actions, but many of us do it daily without a second thought.
The HABIT Loop
The habit process consists of a three-step loop:
As part of the #wellaholic movement, I am currently exploring how to leverage the power of Gamification and Group Responsibility to form habits that stick. That has led me to HABITICA, a free habit building and productivity app that treats our real life like a game. With in-game rewards and punishment to motivate you and make you stick to your dailies and to-do tasks. While I am "beta-testing" this application for #wellaholic, I would like to invite anyone who would like to make a conscious attempt to form a habit (such as sticking to the #30days60secCoreChallenge and #WellaholicAbRoller challenge) to join us. Go to HABITICA, create a free account and contact me - I would gladly add you to our party, and let's create good habits and slay the monsters!
My name is Willie, and I like to muse about things. Things related to me are Wellaholic.