1. Find Your 1 Love
If you truly want to take your health to the next level long-term, you must have a love/passion that constantly pushes you to be healthy. A compelling reason for doing what your doing. This love is often synonymous with purpose or a clearly defined objective in life, whether it is in your personal or professional life. The inner depth of this love or purpose sparks authentic inspiration. Love and inspiration acts as a compass or a north star, which guides you to achieve and maintain optimal health and fitness. When you have related this concept to health it might include: the determination to hit the ball like no other on the golf course, to be pain free and energetic so you can be an amazing parent, or to be in peak condition mentally and physically for business. The key is to identify that inner fire and focus on it intensely! This will keep you on your game.
2. Making Health A Top Value
Everyone has a set of values they live by, whether they have identified them or not. Values are things that are most meaningful, important and valuable to the individual. Your one love and inspiration stems directly from your values, and is always at the top of the list. These values are constantly dictating the choices we make in life. If we ever want to have long-term health, we need to have a value on health. Setting any type of goal around health without having a value on it is a delusion. If you are struggling with your health and fitness goals, it is probably an indication that you do not have a high enough value on health or you have not linked health to your one love. Each one of us prioritizes the different values in our life; therefore, some values are clearly more important than others. So you may have a value on health, but if it’s number 7 or 10 on your value list, you probably will not have much success.
Taking the time to identify your values is a crucial step in understanding where you are, and why you’re not staying focused on your health goals. The good news is that health almost always supports the other values in your life. If you are interested in automatically elevating health on your value list, consider this exercise. Answer this question at least 250 times: How can obtaining peak levels of health and fitness be of great service, benefit, and value to my life? This will bring a whole new level of clarity to your situation and value system.
3. Turn Your Discipline Into A Blissipline
Developing great habits and behaviors is essential for optimal health, but it requires discipline. Unfortunately, most people have a negative connotation associated with discipline, but it does not have to be that way. When you start coming from a place that is in alignment with your true values and what you love, you become disciplined because you are inspired. This discipline then becomes enjoyable and rewarding. Michael Beckwith invented the word “blissipline”, which is a combination of bliss and discipline. Your discipline around health can be a blissful and pleasurable ritual. So look at discipline in a new light, and use it to stay on track with your healthy habits. You will reap all the benefits of health and enjoy the process. Strive to change your disciplines into health blissiplines that you look forward to doing every day.
4. Consistency Over Intensity
Too many people are going to the gym with the mentality that they have to beat themselves up and burn X number of calories. Now getting a great workout in is important, but if you overdue the intensity for too long it can lead to burning out. The most important thing is being consistent around the fundamentals. Sometimes just getting to the gym and moving is plenty. We have to consider the importance of building a ritual around working out, good nutrition and health in general. The fact is that if you decide to go hard for several weeks and then cheat hard, your body will react like ocean tides. I see countless scenarios were an individual gets great results in 7 weeks, and in one week of cheating the tide comes in! We need to strive for consistency. It’s better to have small progressive wins over time, then to fluctuate back and forth. Consistency is essential for optimal health; ups and downs will have detrimental psychological and physiological effects.
5. The 80/20 Rule
Nobody is perfect and you shouldn’t try to be. Perfection can lead to pre-mature abandonment. The 80/20 rule is all about focusing and being on your game 80% of the time. That means rocking your movement routine, eating the best quality foods, getting to bed on time, and making health a priority. Now the other 20% of the time is where you can let loose a little, and make a few sub-optimal choices without feeling guilty. This is the balance that you need to strive for to obtain long-term success. Health cannot be sustained when the ratios are 95/5 for a short period (which leads to burn-out) and then breaking down to 40/60. Again fluctuations will lead to highs and lows that can be seriously detrimental.
6. Beta Version
Each person is biochemically unique, and no two human beings are the same. This means that you are uniquely different, genetically and environmentally. Therefore, you have to find a method that is similar in the basics of health yet uniquely your own. Each person lives a life that is demanding in its own way, so your techniques and commitment level will not be the same as the next person. Unfortunately you cannot rely on a cookie cutter approach to movement, nutrition and lifestyle. This will take some experimentation, which most of you have already embarked on.
When you start this process you are essentially working on the beta version, which will undoubtedly have some bugs that need to be worked out. As you progress on your journey to health you will find what works for your circumstances and upgrade to version 2.0. The process of long-term health is all about trial and error, and you must be willing to play around with new tools and software. Most people make the mistake of trying a new concept and dropping it completely because they didn’t see results or have the persistence to learn or grow from it. This is fundamentally wrong, what you need to do is select and choose what worked for you and build on to your method, so that your software continues to upgrade. Completely dropping health will just make it harder to get back to it when you decide how necessary it really is.
7. Shame Vs. Guilt
So much of succeeding in health is dependent on how you view your mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes and falls down from time to time. But if you let your mistakes and your poor health define you, it will be hard to achieve long-term health. A big concept to consider is the difference between guilt and shame. We need to understand our communication with ourselves around mistakes and choices. We often feel shame and guilt because of our perceptions and ideas around what we should do and be. Brene Brown offers this great way to understand the difference.
Guilt: “I made a bad choice”
Shame: “I am bad”
If you create shame around your mistakes you start to identify with them. Shame can create a sub-conscious failing attitude and cascade. Guilt on the other hand, is being aware that you made a mistake but not identifying with it. You need to observe the problem and view it as a learning lesson. Understand and define what your sub-optimal choices are and consciously shine light on them. Never shame yourself because you ate a cookie or had way too much to drink. Witness what you did and make progressive changes when you’re ready.
8. The Dream Team
Having a team of individuals that support you will increase your likelihood of long-term health dramatically. It’s important to get friends, family and others that agree and work together toward the lifestyle and philosophy of health. A great team that is on the same page will make it much easier. If you’re constantly surrounded by friends and family that just want to go out for drinks, eat unhealthy food, and abuse sleep patterns, then following them will not be helpful on your journey. You must find a way to surround yourself with healthy people that are like-minded and encourage healthy habits. At times, everyone needs guidance and support, so it can be extremely helpful to reach out to health professionals that practice what they preach, and invite them to be part of the dream team. Start modeling the behaviors that you admire most from the healthy people around you. Work to build an awesome team that makes health a priority.
9. Constant Learning
Learning is a necessity for change. If you’re not willing to learn you cannot change. Understand that your body is always under different stresses and in different situations. As such, your approach will always be changing. Constantly strive to learn new knowledge that you can apply for upgrading your software. This doesn’t have to be elaborate either. Maybe it just means learning a new lesson about your body from each workout you do. This process of learning will keep you on top of the game. Build your health knowledge and constantly apply what works for your body-mind.
10. Take Responsibility
Health is a pre-requisite to life. The sooner you accept that the sooner you start to take responsibility for your own health choices. If your health is truly suffering, your personal and professional life will depend on your ability to take care of yourself. Owning our health is a huge step. Your ability to be accountable for your own actions will allow you to take steps you have never taken before. Committing to health requires taking ownership for your authentic needs and wants.
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