It’s easy to get up each day and crank out our daily to do’s. Most of our daily habits become second nature and before we know it, our lives have turned stagnant and monotonous. I’ve fallen into this trap many times and it’s only been through reading and applying new methods that I’ve been able to create positive changes.
We mostly react to things that come our way, and whatever habits we have seem to happen automatically and subconsciously.
We may even find ourselves asking the question, “What is the significance of my life, my work and my relationships?”
It may not happen in those exact words, but you know what I mean. It’s easy to find ourselves on that road of mediocrity.
When those times arise, it’s important to sit back and reflect on what’s going on. Getting an overall perspective can be extremely healthy.
Here are five ways to boost your spirits and add some meaning to your life:
1.) Feed and Strengthen the Mind. There is nothing more powerful than a fit mindset. Learning psychology and ways to control your emotions have a powerful effect on your life. Remember that belief is what dictates your thoughts and emotions; which then dictates the way you communicate to yourself and others. Those things lead to the actions you take and the habits you develop.
Stand guard at the door of your mind.
Avoid crap TV, nonsense news, gossip radio and other images/words/people that poison your mind. You give meaning to what you bring into your mind. What you focus on expands! Read books. Find some silent moments in your day.
Develop a morning power hour that sets the tone for the rest of your day.
2.) Feed and Strengthen the Body. Fear is physical. Fear creates stress which we all experience. Eating well and adding a regular workout regimen can add rich dividends to your health in the long run. It will help you handle stress far more effectively, which will help decrease your fears.
You’ll also experience mental clarity, higher energy, better sleep, healthier relationships and of course, a much healthier body to take you long into your later years.
3.) Find a Role Model. You don’t have to do this life thing on your own. Successful people model other successful people. Whether it’s for work, a sport, a hobby or even in being a better spouse--find people who have done those roles well and model after them.
Our sense of insignificance and self doubts are often caused because we tend to stay in our bubble. Put perspective on things and zoom out! Take a look at history. How many failures have turned to success? (Read up on: The Beatles, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, JK Rowling, Walt Disney, and Bill Gates for some motivation)
4.) Make a Plan and Take Massive Action. Momentum creates motivation. It doesn’t work if you’re sitting and waiting for things to happen. Have you ever gone out for a short walk, only to find yourself motivated to go a little longer. Maybe you’ve started working on the yard just to mow the law, but found yourself tackling other projects.
That initial momentum is key--once you get going, motivation naturally happens. Don’t over think things either.
If you have a product you’d like to launch, get it done and just do it! It doesn't have to perfect. How many companies start with a product, then start releasing their 2.0 version, 3.0, etc.? If something doesn’t work, change your approach. Don’t follow through with the same actions and habits that didn’t work the first time. This goes for anything including nutrition and exercise.
5.) Feed Your Spirit. Being in a state of gratitude is life changing. As cheesy as this sounds, gratitude is one of the most studied emotions in the field of positive psychology. And the research points to profound outcomes.
Another well researched activity is meditation. You don’t have to be Buddhist or religious to do this, just find a quiet spot and focus on your breathing. Try to find the “gap” which is the area between your thoughts. Initially this will be hard, but start slow. Two minutes will do it. Build up from there.
The key to living is giving. Nobody ever feels bad about giving to charity or someone in need. Whether it is via money, time or love...the ability to give enhances the life of the giver just as much (sometimes more) than the receiver.
Motive does matter. Stop thinking about just you--do something bigger than yourself. This has an incredible effect in controlling our anxieties. Finally, search for fulfillment. As Tony Robbins said: “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” It’s important to keep that in check as we grind away at our work daily.
I’ve never been much of a reader. Having learned English via ESL classes at the age of 11, my drive to read was as good as eating broccoli at that age--non-existent.
In fact, my biggest motivation in reading was when I was in middle school during the summer months when the school would entice students to read a certain amount of books in exchange for a personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. I was all over that. Much like a dog, food was a fantastic motivator for me.
Fast forward to my thirties and I slowly realized that I needed a challenge. Since most of my life was surrounded by physical challenges, I wanted this challenge to take on my cognitive ability.
Trust me, that is a challenge for me.
I set out to read 50 books in one year. That’s about four books per month. At the time, four books was about the lifetime total number of books I had read cover to cover.
So it was a challenge first, but soon became a healthy addiction. Self-help and psychology books were my go to and I felt this immense thirst to learn and share unlike ever before.
My life has truly changed since beginning this challenge and I thought I’d share the positive effects that took place for me. By no means am I writing this blog to boast about my achievement of reading books. Instead, I’m writing in order to share the after effect of this experience and hopefully inspire some of you to take on a similar challenge in order to create a positive shift in your life as well.
Here are some of the transformations I experienced after reading 60 books (including in audiobook format) in one year (yes, it was that addicting that I went over by 10).
Now, many of the items above are still a work in progress and I think that’s what the reading challenge ultimately provided for me---an opportunity for continuous growth. I’ve been able to add the emotional and psychological component to my work as a personal trainer. Lunges and pushups can only take you so far, but the real magic happens in the emotional and psychological re-conditioning of the mind. The emotional re-conditioning of the mind is key if you want to take control of your emotions and your life and I see it first hand with the clients that succeed versus those that are inconsistent and always “busy” for their health.
This all starts with educating yourself.
The list that follows are books done by experts in their field. Many of them are best sellers.
One of the best ways to be successful in anything is to model success. Take the golden nuggets and run with it. Don’t linger and obsess on the topic that doesn’t resonate with you. Not everything has to be perfect and not all lessons will apply to you.
Reading these books have transformed my life dramatically, but this doesn't mean that I’ve become this zen like creature that’s always happy and positive. That’s simply not realistic, nor healthy as you’ll find out by some of the readings. Instead, I’ve been able to apply a sort of emotional break system in order to catch myself when I’m in a state of anger, fear, judgement, or attachment.
1.) Secrets of the millionaire mind - Harv Eker
2.) E-Myth: Why small businesses fail and what to do about it- Michael Gerber
3.) The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho
4.) Eat That Frog! -Brian Tracy
5.) As a Man Thinketh -James Allen
6.) Man's Search for Meaning-Viktor Frankl
7.) The Last Lecture -Randy Pausch
8.) Mindset. The new psychology of success. -Carol Dweck, PhD
9.) Unlimited Power. -Tony Robbins
10.) Your Body's Many Cries for Water. -Dr F. Batmanghelidj MD
11.) The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. -John Maxwell
12.) Aspire. Discovering your purpose through the power of words. -Kevin Hall
13.) Talk Like Ted. -Carmine Gallo
14.) Outwitting the Devil. -Napoleon Hill
15.) Three Feet from Gold -Sharon Lechter and Greg Reid
16.) The Perfect Day Formula -Craig Ballantyne
17.) The Go Giver - Bob Burg and John David Mann
18.) The ABC's of Success - Bob Proctor
19.) Spark - John Ratey, MD
20.) 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership -John Maxwell
21.) The School of Greatness -Lewis Howes
22.) The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking -Oliver Burkeman
23.) The Practicing Mind- Thomas Sterner
24.) The Art of Mental Training - DC Gonzalez
25.) The Power of Purpose- Les Brown
26.) The Greatest Salesman in the World -OG Mandino
27.) The Seasons of Life - Jim Rohn
28.) The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod
29.) 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness -Jim Rohn
30.) How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age -Dale Carnegie
31.) Your Erroneous Zones -Dr Wayne Dyer
32.) Be a Leader, Become a Success- Zig Ziglar
33.) The User's Guide to the Human Mind - Dr Shawn Smith
34.) Positivity - Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.
35.) The Greatest Miracle in the World - OG Mandino
36.) Feeling Good - Dr David Burns, MD
37.) The Philosophy for Successful Living - Jim Rohn
38.) Acres of Diamonds -Russell Conwell
39.) Piranha Marketing -Joe Polish
40.) The Power of Ambition- Jim Rohn
41.) Learned Optimism - Martin Seligman, PhD
42.) Simplify - Joshua Becker
43.) Essentialism -Greg McKeown
44.) The 6-Figure Speaker -Brian Tracy
45.) Awaken the Giant Within -Tony Robbins
46.) Think and Grow Rich -Napoleon Hill
47.) Your Greatest Power - Martin Kohe
48.) The Richest Man in Babylon - George Clason
49.) Power Habits -Chris Luke
50.) 5 minute Morning Boosters -Rachel Rofe
51.) Managing Oneself -Peter Drucker
52.) The Healthy Habit Revolution -Derek Doepker
53.) The Productive Person - Chandler Bolt and James Roper
54.) The Power of the Other -Henry Cloud
55.) Book Launch -Chandler Bolt
56.) Zen- Chris Prentiss
57.) The Power of Vulnerability - Brene Brown
58.) The Compound Effect -Darren Hardy
59.) The Rhythm of Life -Matthew Kelly
60.) The Miracle Morning for Writers -Hal Elrod and Steve Scott
If you feel anxiety, depression, a sense of not belonging or you're simply stuck in trying to find motivation in the current chapter of your life, I highly recommend you setting aside a few minutes per day to do a little reading and self developing. The results will vary and you may come out with much different outcomes than I did, yet no matter what I think you’ll be amazed at how much clarity you’ll get and how impactful your life may become.
Thanks for reading! If you have any title suggestions not listed above, please mention below...I'm always looking for other great books =)
Everyone has the power to choose. 99% of what happens in our life can be traced back to some kind of decision we’ve made.
Almost all the choices we make in our daily life are influenced by two powerful forces. These forces are the reason some of us procrastinate, sleep in, overeat, don’t exercise, overwork, etc.
What drives those decisions?
Every choice we make in life is either done in order to experience pleasure or in order to avoid pain and discomfort.
We procrastinate in order to avoid the pain of having to do a certain task.
We overeat in order to satisfy the pleasure our taste buds and brain seek.
We hit the snooze button in order to avoid the pain of getting up and starting the day.
We overwork out of fear of possibly getting fired and not having money.
The decision for either pain or pleasure is a response to our perception of where the action will lead.
Most of this happens subconsciously.
Knowing how to use pain and pleasure to your advantage can have a dramatic influence on your health, your relationships, your work and your passions.
Willpower and logic will sometimes try to step in and take part in the decision making process, but it’s often short lived. Here are a few examples:
Almost every cigarette smoker knows that smoking is a bad habit. His logical mind knows he’s better off without it. A non smoker can’t understand why people smoke because just the thought of smoking creates discomfort (pain) to them. The smoker on the other hand has anchored deep emotional attachments to the activity. More specifically, he’s associated smoking with pleasure and quitting with pain.
The only way to change is to reverse the anchor. Anchor pain to habit and pleasure to quitting. Now, to be fair there are other steps a smoker would need to take in order to help better his chance of quitting, but I believe starting with the emotional re-conditioning of the mind is the first step.
Another example: Suppose you had a long day at work and you didn’t get a chance to eat all day. You’re starving! You get home and there is a plate full of warm chocolate chip cookies (replace this with your favorite treat if cookies are not your thing). You tell yourself you’re on a diet and won’t do it (logic and willpower in action), you open the refrigerator to look for something healthier, but you can’t get the cookies off your mind. A minute later, you find yourself scarfing down three gigantic cookies!
Pleasure seeking moments come from previous conditioning. If you love cookies, it’s because you’ve had them before and it gives you pleasure. Pretty straightforward--you’ve associated strong pleasure feelings with it.
When that happens, there is massive focus on the cookies until you eat them. Whatever you focus on, expands!
In order to begin to change your habits, you have to be aware of where you’re attaching your emotions and your focus. You have to find out why you’re reaching for that wine at the end of the day. Or why you’re eating that bacon cheeseburger and fries during lunch.
Sometimes pleasure won’t get us to our goals, yet sometimes they do. Take for example nutrition --if you're able to find healthy foods that you're able to eat consistently, you'll make the process of shifting your emotional anchors a lot easier.
Most of the time, the feeling of guilt (pain) soon follows those weak moments. So, what if you could reverse and shift your focus towards the future? Imagine how you’d feel eating the salad or having some bubbly water with lemon instead of the wine.
A small mindshift can help you take control of your emotions and generate significant positive outcomes.
Here’s a true fact--nobody likes to exercise. It’s true--physiologically, exercise is very stressful on the body. Cortisol levels rise up, adrenaline shoots up, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and your temperature also start to rise. Your body is constantly trying to get it back to homeostasis mode (normal functions), and back to comfort. This is one of the many reasons exercise is also amazing for you---it actually trains your body to better handle stress!
The after effect of exercise is what people become addicted to. They are after the serotonin, dopamine and other positive hormones that you get after exercise. The sense of accomplishment also inspires them to keep doing it. Momentum creates motivation.
The biggest difference in those people that are able to maintain an exercise program and those that don’t is the simple fact that people that are consistent with exercise have linked pleasure with the after effect of exercise. They focus on the end results. For many of us that have been exercising all our lives, this happens subconsciously.
Those that can’t keep a regular regimen have linked pain to the exercise and haven’t been able to “see ahead” to the pleasure.
Whatever you focus on is what you get. Where focus goes, energy flows.
Focus on the end product, the results (the pleasure) and you’ll be able to go through a little “pain” to get there. Focus only on the pain and you won’t move.
Also, the more emotionally compelling your end product or vision is, the higher the chances of you staying focused on it. Getting in shape in order to get “bikini ready” for a vacation is not as compelling as getting in shape in order to keep up with your kids (or grandkids). There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds and look good in your swimsuit---just make sure you do it for the long term reasons.
Create a mindshift and learn to focus on what you ultimately want. Don’t sacrifice a little pain for a temporary pleasure that will only create more pain in the near future.
Now, let me ask you--what are some habits you’d like to change? Stop to think about why you’re not making it happen. Are you linking pain or pleasure to the process?
This blog is of equal value to myself as it (hopefully) is for my readers. As a matter of fact, most of what I write are things that I’ve learned to implement or things that I’m still working on implementing in my day to day. It’s all about learning together and sharing it.
One of those things is on how to enjoy the journey; how to truly live in the moment and be satisfied with the here and now.
We are each unique with our goals and path to follow. Our journeys look as different as we are. There are many things that are out of our control and often times we try to over-control every aspect of our lives, when in reality, a little faith and appreciation of the journey is all you need.
Work on things you can control (ie: exercise and nutrition!). The vision may not be as clear on other aspects of life, but as long as you focus on giving, being in service, thinking of others, working on developing and bringing out your best self each day...you’ll always find where you need to be. It may not be the destination you wanted, but you may just end up with an even better view.
Every day, you have a chance to make an impact in the world. Whether it's via social media to people around the world, or locally to your co-workers, your kids, your spouse or your friends. Every conversation, every smile and every interaction gives you a chance to make a positive difference.
The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey. Pause to appreciate the great things along the way, the process is what develops us. A marathon runner doesn’t become a marathoner the day of the race. The marathoner is developed during the process of training, of logging in those long lonely miles and of the sacrifices that it took to reach race day.
As Tony Robbins says: “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.” This is one of the reasons why it’s important to link goals with an emotionally compelling reason, not just a reason to satisfy the ego. Losing weight so you can enjoy hikes with your family and feel more energized to live a healthier life has far deeper meaning than simply losing the weight for an upcoming event so you can fit in your dress and look good for pictures.
Having a deeper meaning helps you to appreciate the journey, not just rush through it.
If you’re fixated on the goal, when you attain it, you won’t enjoy it when you get there. You’ll be worried about the next goal, the next destination. When you achieve it, you’ll be like “Ok--what’s next” and the cycle repeats itself.
All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment.
5 Ways to Stay in Moment:
Make that positive impact, live in gratitude and enjoy the journey.
Committed to your health,
“Everyday, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” – Dalai Lama
Are you a value-adder or value-extractor? Do you find yourself simply going through the motions everyday? Are your kids annoying you? In conversations with friends and family, do you find yourself constantly sharing daily news from TV and social media?
...Or are you making a positive impact on the lives you touch?
It’s amazing how certain simple things can add so much perspective to our lives and create positive change all around.
Last year, I had hit a slump. I lost some motivation in my work and my workouts--two things that I love to do. I found myself in a constant state of negativity and complaining. In retrospect, it was a time for reflection and re-organizing. It was a time for me to dig deep and think of what my mission in life was and if I was in the right path towards it.
I set out to accomplish a goal of reading 50 self improvement books in one year. Since I am a VERY slow reader, I used every minute of spare time I could find to read (and gave up a lot of TV watching...which was probably a good thing). At the end of the year, I was able to finish the challenge and it totally changed my life.
One of the practices that was reinforced by reading many of those books was the common theme that many successful people do on a daily basis-- they carry an attitude of gratitude. Daily.
Initially I brushed it off as a “no big deal” and “silly” kind of practice that I didn’t really need to do. I would tell myself “ofcourse I’m grateful”, although in reality I wasn’t practicing that on a daily basis. I wasn’t actually taking the time to think about things that I was grateful for. I finally decided to do it for a week and eventually implemented into my daily morning power hour.
The attitude of gratitude has helped me become a more positive person. It has helped me become happier, more at peace with myself. It has helped me appreciate important people in my life and helped me be a better husband. I’ve become a better trainer. It has helped me put things in perspective more often. It also rebooted my outlook for my mission in life.
Things aren’t perfect, I have my flaws and days in which the negative outweighs the positive. But for me, perfection is not the goal. Progression towards the best version of myself is what I’m striving for.
Now, you may not get the same results I got, but I guarantee that adapting to a life of constant gratitude will absolutely change your life for the better. First, let me give you some perspective:
Let those facts sink in.
When you're ready, here are some ways you can start implementing an attitude of gratitude in your life.
This is from my experience as well as others I’ve talked too regarding attitude. Figure out which ones resonate with you and adapt them into your life.
Try to adapt the life of gratitude and put things in perspective more often. Soon enough you’ll see a major positive shift in your life. Not only will it benefit you, but you’ll soon be a value adder to other people’s lives….and there is no better feeling than that!
Developing healthy habits can sometimes be frustrating. Most people are trying to juggle numerous things in their life when attempting to adapt a healthier lifestyle or new fitness regimen.
Let’s say you want to create a new exercise habit; walking for 20 minutes every morning before work. You might tell yourself something like this:
"I’m ready for a change. This time I will be very consistent by walking everyday during the weekday. I have my new shoes, my walking partner and I’m ready to get healthier. Monday we start."
This is a story you’re telling your mind. Although it’s not real, it has a powerful effect in getting your mindset right and getting you to move and take action!
You’re good for the first 2 days. Wednesday rolls around and you’re partner calls to tell you her kid is sick and she can’t do the walk for the next couple days...which leaves you on your own. It’s you and your mind.
The next couple days, it’s a little harder to get out of bed early, but you fight through, knowingly that very soon your partner will rejoin you. She then texts you that she won’t be able to make it at that time at all, as her work schedule has shifted.
Now, you are completely on your own...and all of the sudden your mindset starts creating some doubtful thoughts: “Oh no, I may not be able to keep this up EVERY day.”
The following week you stay up late on Sunday and miss your Monday walk which puts a damper on your rhythm. You end up walking only once that week and your mind now begins with the story: “Dang it, I’m screwing up. It’s just tough to keep this going. I’m just not that disciplined.”
Just like that, your self belief is affected.
Your belief system surrounding your habit and the story you tell yourself matters more than most people realize.
So how do you tell a story that can actually help you maintain your positive habits?
The truth is, none of the stories you tell yourself is true. Amplified fears and worries are often made into stories that are far worse than actuality.
Ideally you want to stay in the present, but that is not quite how our minds work. We like stories. We are used to stories, so the key is developing good stories that can constantly be edited to reflect a positive outcome, instead of letting it spiral out of control.
Here’s how to tell a better story to yourself and develop everlasting habits:
When in doubt, always try to step outside the box and look at the big picture. Recite the many reasons why your new habit will take you towards a better life which will ultimately benefit those around you that you love.
Committed to your health,
What is a Goodness Hour?
The Morning Goodness Hour or Power Hour is a time you take for yourself in order to reflect and reboot so you can put yourself in the position of being the best version of yourself. Doing this first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Often, we react to whatever comes our way. We let other people and things dictate our mood for the day. For the longest time, I would wake up and check my messages, emails and other notifications from social media. After reading about some successful individuals and their daily morning habits, I realized that I was doing it all wrong. I would read emails and react to them.
Most of the times, messages and emails don’t necessarily lift you up, they require time and a conscious effort to generate a reply. Email, text messages and social media status can often be depleting, which sets the wrong vibe for the rest of the day. Basically you’re reacting to whatever comes your way. Your Morning Power Hour allows you to be in charge and dictate your own mood. Think proactive vs reactive.
Even if you have to deal with difficult emails, you’ll be better equipped mentally to take them on.
This Power hour can consist of meditating, reading, journaling, listening to audiobooks, going for a walk, stretching...or simply sitting in silence and addressing things you’re grateful for. Being in a state of gratitude is one of the best ways to control anxiety, fear and worry in your life. Sounds “Hallmark-y”, I know, but it’s worth a try.
Find a quiet place away from distraction. Waking up before everyone in the house puts you in the right, quiet environment needed to focus.
A power hour allows you to be the best version of yourself. When the world is throwing requests at you the rest of the day, this is your zen hour where you can reflect on your life, spend some time being grateful and simply finding some time to be quiet and meditate. It’s very powerful and does not take much time. Even if you don’t have a full hour, spend 15-20 minutes on yourself first thing in the morning. If you don’t have 10 minutes to give yourself daily, then you’re not living.
You have tremendous unused potential, and the powerful goodness time allows you to tap into that in order to improve you life.
How to Establish a Power Hour?
In order for a power hour to work for you, you’ll first have to create a “why”. Once we emotionally attach ourselves to something, chances of us following through will dramatically increase. Come up with something that feels very emotionally compelling for you. Maybe you want to lose weight so you can live a long, healthy life with your significant other. Perhaps you want to be a role model to your kids, get out of a funk of depressive thoughts, or become a more inspirational individual at work. Whenever the lazy bug comes to visit, remind yourself on the reasons why you want to establish a power hour. Momentum creates motivation. Just keep moving.
Prior to going to bed, take a quick minute to visualize waking up and feeling happy to do your morning routine. This will also help your subconscious mind start planning for what’s to come. Overnight, your brain will slowly shift into the right “gear” and mindset to wake up earlier, and it will feel very natural to wake up and do exactly what you had visualized and thought of the night before.
Focus on establishing Micro-Habits. These are tiny actions that help to kick-start a positive habit. If you're having a hard time going for a 30 minute walk, tell yourself you're going out for only 2 minutes. Often times, you'll go longer. It's that initial momentum that's the hardest. Momentum creates motivation. Can't eat 3-5 servings of veggies? Start with 1 bite of veggie. Ten push-ups is too much? Aim for one and then see how you feel. Meditating for 10 minutes is too long. Start with 1 minute of focusing on your breathing.
You can develop a habit by establishing a cue-->routine-->reward. For example, prepping breakfast the night before (oatmeal). This is a habit I was able to establish 2 years ago and now my wife and I eat much healthier in the morning and we're not rushing. The cue happens at night right after I finish the dinner dishes. There is no excuse, I just grab all the ingredients needed for the oatmeal and two bowls (this is my micro-habit). My routine is preparing it. Since I created motivation with my micro-habit, the routine is pretty straightforward: ½ cup of oats, walnuts, slivered almonds, raisins, and a few dried bananas. The reward is waking up the next day and knowing that I have a healthy breakfast prepared--I just turn on the coffee maker (which is also prepped the night before) and I place the oatmeal in the microwave for 2 minutes. After that, I top it off with some fruit slices and Greek yogurt.
Constantly remind yourself of the small victories. Habits are formed and built from repeated emotional attachment and rewards including the feeling of accomplishment. The more often you count your small daily victories, the most likely you are to continue repeating that habit. Success breeds even more success.
What you do daily matters more than what you do occasionally or just every now and then.
It’s true that maintaining good health and a positive spirit is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is not perfection, but instead progress. Contrary to what some may believe, structure in life actively relieves stress. By organizing your schedule, planning appropriately, you can greatly reduce life’s stress. Action alleviates anxiety. Establish that power hour and create some powerful goodness in your life.
An Example of a 15 minute Power Hour:
2 minutes of meditation, deep breathing. Try to think of nothing, but your breathing.
1 minute of positive visualization; breathe in positivity, health, organization, ability to lift others up, self belief, courage, faith, integrity. Breathe out negativity, self doubts, fear, worry, gossip and anything else that will get in the way of you having a great day.
2 minutes of gratitude. Write it down and it will enhance the effect. This can be anything from being grateful for your health, food, a roof over your head. Don’t ask for anything, just express gratitude during these 2 minutes.
5 minutes of stretching or yoga. You can also go out for a quick 5 minute walk.
5 minutes of reading positive words. This can be a self improvement book, article, blog. Try to stay away from social media during this time and refrain from reading comments at the end of the article. That’s where you’ll usually find those negativity Sally’s who always have a different opinion than the author.
There you have it, a boosting 15 minutes of goodness in your life. Obviously, you can extend or cut short the time of your Power Hour depending on your schedule, although I highly recommend carving out at least 15 minutes to make this happen in your life. Your body and mind will thank you!
Committed to your health,
Have you ever been out on a run and crossed paths with another runner? You make eye contact and then you throw a quick smile with a hello...only to be completely ignored in return.
Perhaps you walked into an appointment at your dentist’s office and you’re on your phone texting back someone at work, when the person at the front desk said “Hi, how are you?” And you simply reply: “I’m here for my 9:00 am appointment” not knowing that you completely ignored the original question.
I think we’ve all been there before. We reach out to say the first hello and don’t quite get the same back. Then at times, we’re the ones that walk into a room not really thinking much of others, but our own agenda.
I used to get so frustrated with people who didn’t say hello or who walked past me without any kind of acknowledgement.
Then I started to observe a difference in those that practiced proactive kindness versus reactive kindness. The most positive individuals that I know have this amazing ability to make others feel loved and noticed. They are very proactive in their way of communicating. They step in a room and are just able to bring about a positive atmosphere.
Think of a positive person in your life..or take notice next time you see them. Does he or she walk into a room with a neutral stare? Or do they come in with a smile on their face? Are they the first ones to say hello to the waiter in the restaurant or do they wait to be acknowledged first. Most likely that person knows the power of kindness and when they walk into a room, they bring a certain level of energy that’s able to impact all others in the room. I’m not talking about being loud and obnoxious so you get noticed, I’m simply talking about coming in with confidence, a smile and simple hello.
I used to be that person that would go anywhere and immediately feel a sense of judgement coming from others, so I just kept it to my neutral self and waited to be acknowledged. Because I was raised by my parents to be polite, I always replied with a hello and a smile...although I was never the first to initiate it. I realized I was being reactively kind. I was reactive to the initial kindness brought forth by someone else.
The problem with the reactively kind person is that you’re allowing others to dictate your mood.
It’s all fine if that other person initiating the acknowledgement is in a good mood, but if they are in a bad mood, then it can contaminate the entire room and leave you feeling a little down.
Let’s say you walk into a store and immediately start looking around without acknowledging anyone. You also don’t get acknowledged because they didn’t notice you coming in. No biggie. You keep browsing. Then you realize some employees chatting in the corner and you’re looking to checkout. Immediately, you may start to get irritated because of the cycle of little events that took place. Your mind may start thinking “What are they paying these employees for, to chat?” “Why didn’t I get any help” or “My time is valuable, I have to go!”
Now if you were to go in the store and immediately made eye contact and said hello to an employee, things may have turned out differently and you wouldn't have been agitated.
Be proactively kind. Don’t rely on others to make your day great. Make your own day great by adapting the right mentality. It’s a powerful thing.
Whatever you put out into the world is what you’ll get back. Put out negative energy and you’ll get negative energy back. Put out positive energy and you’ll experience all sorts of positive events bouncing back to you. You may not get it right away and you may even experience some really bad events, but you may just get it back at the right time by a complete stranger when you’re having a bad day.
Let me ask you:
When was the last time you asked for the name of the cashier at your local grocery store?
When you returned something at the store, do you politely say hello to the person on the other side of the register, or do you go into automatic defense mode just in case they ask why you’re returning the item?
Do you wave to other runners or walkers when you’re out on your workout routine?
We all lead busy lives and some of you may be thinking, I don’t have time to say hello to everyone I run into--I would never get anything done. I understand and I’m not suggesting you do that. As tacky as it may sound, a simple smile and hello may just be what someone needs to make their day a little brighter. And if you don’t get anything back, that’s ok--don’t take it personal. It’s not you, it’s them. Just know that you did your part. You never know what each person is battling.
Don’t let their insecurities become a part of your life. No one is really out there to judge you...and hey if they were, does it really matter?
Those that judge you don’t matter, and those that matter aren’t there to judge you.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Know that every room you walk into, you have the choice of bringing a positive or negative energy. This is your chance to make an impact, even though it may be small. When you bring that positive energy, that’s exactly what you get in return. You’ll also feel better by doing it. The same goes for negative energy, so be careful. When you walk into a room, bring the energy! Walk in with confidence, a smile and a genuine hello.
Don’t wait to be acknowledged. Reactive kindness is easy to do, but the difference makers of the world practice proactive kindness.
Be the change.
Have you ever set out to clean up your diet only to find yourself snacking on your favorite treat 3 days later. Then comes the intention of; “Oh, I’ll start fresh next Monday”
As strong as our intentions may be, our mind has some funny ways to go about taking shortcuts and completely bypassing positive habits that we want to develop. Our emotions are incredibly powerful in controlling what we do.
When training clients, especially the ones doing my 6 week online challenge one of the things I like to lay out right from the beginning are weekly and daily micro goals. Since the challenge is done online and I don’t get to see them in person, we had to develop a system that could keep everyone on track on a daily basis. I began teaching everyone about willpower in order to keep track with those habits....until I realized a pattern among those getting results that was far more powerful and effective.
You can use this one thing to skyrocket your results, in many areas of your life. This one thing can also crush your potential if not used correctly.
This one thing can dictate how consistent you'll be with your new habits and how far along you will go.
What is this one thing?
Environment is far stronger than willpower.
If you use a big plate, you’ll probably eat more. If you use a big cup and you’ll probably drink more, If you use a big spoon, you’ll most likely eat more. Leave unhealthy snacks within site at your office, and you’ll probably find yourself enjoying those. If you stuffed yourself during a dinner out then the server takes your plate away and replaces with a fresh, clean one for dessert--you’ll probably find yourself eating the dessert, even though you may be full.
Let's say your kitchen is filled with processed and sugary foods you should avoid. Would it make more sense to constantly fight cravings each time you find yourself hungry in the kitchen....or keep the unhealthy stuff out of the house for good?
I say if you really want that ice cream, go out of the house and get it. Most of the time, you won't do it. There are too many steps to get there; put shoes on, get in the car, deal with traffic, etc.
Put obstacles in the way of unhealthy habits and you’ll be more likely to avoid them. The opposite goes for positive habits; place ready to eat fruits and veggies within site of opening the fridge and you’ll be more likely to grab them. Lay out your workout clothes the night before…and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of getting that morning workout.
If you have limited willpower, that willpower is best invested in setting up a positive environment rather than wasted on having to fight against a poor environment.
This goes beyond the kitchen too. Learn to protect your environment in life. Keep screens out of the bedroom so you get better sleep, avoid toxic people as they can drain you, wake up earlier and develop a power hour where you focus on self improvement (this includes relaxation activities such as meditation). Schedule your workouts so it's part of your daily regimen. Sometimes it's good to schedule a phone call to relatives too!
Create a positive environment to develop a healthier life!
Committed to your health,
If you’re still on that bumpy path of trying to eat healthier, start out by adjusting your mindset and establish rules in your life. Replace goals with rules for your life. Just like a set of values, a rule is something that is non-negotiable. End of discussion. Example: Instead of setting a goal to lose 10 lbs of fat by summer, turn that into a rule to workout 3 days a week. Fitness and nutrition rules are there to stay and they help to shape (literally and figuratively) who you become.
Another key thing to remember is that there is a difference between 'interest' and 'commitment'. When you're "interested" in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're "committed" to something, you accept NO EXCUSES, only results. You follow your established rules and get it done. So, here's the tough question: Are you "interested" in a healthy lifestyle? Or are you "committed" to having a healthy lifestyle?
If committed, then read on and implement some of these tips into your lifestyle to experience incredible positive changes.
1.) Start every day with a protein rich/low glycemic meal. It will help prevent major spikes in the blood sugar level which will start your day in the right foot and prevent you from eating junk food the rest of the day. Remember, the moment you spike your blood glucose, it drops incredibly fast and the only way to recover is to eat something that will quickly spike it back up….which often leads to us reaching for sugar and unhealthy fat. That in turn leads to a rollercoaster ride in your blood glucose and a constant battle to maintain proper levels.
2.) Add plenty of organic protein sources to your diet. Studies have shown that it not only speeds up metabolism, but also supplies the body with the proper amino acids to balance brain chemistry, balance hormones and reduce sugar cravings.
3.) Include natural fiber in all your snacks. This means lots of veggies! Fiber is the intestine’s broom...it keeps everything clean and everything moving along for a healthy digestive tract.
4.) Take the 80/20 approach. Try to eat 80% of your meals as healthy as possible, so your body can take in the other 20% of the treats and not be affected by it (physically, mentally and emotionally) This works for sleep too. Don't aim for perfection, the 8-10 hours every night is simply not realistic, but it becomes much more feasible when you make it a goal to get at least 5 solid nights of sleep per week. Small consistent steps forward with a buffer will give you far better results than aiming for perfection in your life.
5.) Dinner is where most people overdue it with their daily caloric intake. Try this: put together a small salad (at least 5 veggies) and eat that first along with a full glass of water. The fiber and nutrient dense food along with the added water will hydrate you and provide the right nutrients for your body to digest whatever is coming next. Even if you’re eating pizza; imagine if you can limit your pizza intake from 3 slices to 2 slices...that’s over 30% improvement. In addition, your body got some key nutrients from the salad.
6.) Be careful eating all fat free products. Fat is an essential source of energy. Products that are fat free are usually loaded with other nasty stuff (like sugar!) to give you a false sense of fullness. Examples are too much sodium which leaves you super bloated, tons of sugar, or even worst ingredients that act like sodium or sugar that you can't pronounce. Moderation is key my friends =)
7.) Drink one glass of water right upon waking up and before each meal. It helps balance blood volume level which helps stabilize blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Also helps prevent overeating during the meal.
8.) Ok, so you overindulged! Don't worry about it....put it in the past and move on, but make sure to plug in this simple rule: Follow any "cheat" meal with at least four-five healthy meals. That way, you'll be eating healthy at least 80% of the times!
9.) Before eating something, ask yourself "Do I have my protein? Am I avoiding white flour? Where is my healthy fat? Low sodium?" Remember sodium bloats you up like nothing else....so keep an eye on that! Identify all 3 major macronutrients (carbs, protein and healthy fats) in your plate for every meal and snack you eat. You’ll slowly shift from eating less junk to eating nutrient dense calories.
10.) Eat fruits and veggies like your life depends on it! Besides the amazing nutrients, the antioxidants and phytonutrients found in them is your best chance to combat aging and cancerous cells. Antioxidants fight off free radicals in the body. Overload of free radicals in the body speeds up the aging process and accelerates irregular cell growth. Don’t like eating greens? Blend it with some fruits and protein for a delicious green smoothie! For those that don't like veggies, you won’t even tasty the veggies when the right types of fruits are mixed in.
Strive to Change. It won't happen overnight, but just like brushing your teeth and checking Facebook are habits that you have created in your life, so can a healthy eating approach. Eating more nutrient dense meals that are properly timed helps the body function with a balanced hormone output. Besides the fact that you feel better! Stay positive and always be ready for obstacles because they will come. Tackle them! And if they tackle you...simply learn from them and keep moving forward.
Committed to your health,
PPS: Those ready to take their nutrition and running to the next level, check out the K-Fit 6 Challenge; my 6 week guided online training program specifically designed to help runners lose weight, build lean muscle and run faster.
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