In today’s world there is no secret to success when it comes to your health and fitness. If anything we can run into the problem of information overload. The Internet, TV, books, eBooks, magazines, and having a fitness gym on every street corner provide us with more information than we would ever need. There is no question that any intelligent person can find out exactly how to get him- or herself in the best shape possible.
So why don’t they? Why is it America is getting fatter, getting unhealthier, and continuing to go in the wrong direction day by day, year by year? It is the choices we make.
We all start out in life the exact same: naked, scared, and ignorant. Where we are today is a collection of all the choices we have made leading up to now. Choices are the root of every result we have created for ourselves.
So how can we make better choices? You don’t just all of a sudden begin to make better choices. It begins with what you are feeding your brain on a daily basis. If it is not moving you in the direction of your goals, what can you do about it?
Believe it or not you can train your brain in a similar way you train your body. By implementing the mental training tools below you can begin to train your brain, and ultimately your body, to achieve any result you want out of your lives.
#1 – Hire a Coach: Everyone Needs a Mentor
“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.” – Tom Landry
Isn’t it interesting that the top performers in any field have the best coaches? Why is that? A coach is there to lead and teach you how to be successful. Having people who push you to excel is critical, regardless of how successful you are. Great coaches will give you the advantage of the shortcuts they’ve discovered with their experience over the years. Their hard-earned wisdom can help you accelerate your growth and make wise choices.
On the contrary, it is easy to make choices from an emotional level. When we let our emotions decide we usually choose to go with how we are feeling “in the moment” and take the path of least resistance. When given the choice between going to the gym and watching a movie with your friends, you’ll choose the movie. Stretch to work out that tightness in your low back or surf the web? Mindless surfing here you come.
A coach is important because he/she can motivate, teach and hold you accountable to make the choices to get you to your goals. A coach has your best interest at heart. A coach brings an objective approach to helping you achieve your goals and pushes you to achieve more than you thought you could. Making choices on an emotional level can lead to us making an incorrect decision because we allow our history or self-doubt to come into the process. A coach can keep you on course and help you do the things you are supposed to do, when you don’t want to.
#2 – Friends/Associations: It’s More Important Than You Think!
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain.
Have you ever noticed that fit people hang around with other fit people? Millionaires hang around with other millionaires? Your friends and associations are a powerful force in the choices you make. We will naturally adapt to our associations (good or bad).
Why? The people we spend our time with determine what conversations dominate our attention, and what observations, attitudes, and opinions we are repeatedly exposed to. Eventually, we start to eat what they eat, read what they read, watch what they watch, and think like they think. All the while we might not even be conscious of it.
If you are really committed to changing yourself for the greater good you will need to re-evaluate and reprioritize the people you surround yourself with. A technique I learned from Jim Rohn is you can evaluate and organize your friends into three categories: disassociations, limited associations, and expanded associations.
- Disassociations – These are the people you might need to break away from completely. This will probably be a difficult step for you, but it’s critical. You have to decide if keeping this relationship is more important than improving your quality of life.
- Limited Associations – These are the types of people you can either spend three days, three hours, or three minutes with. Remember you will get a deposit of the dominant attitudes, actions and behaviors of the people you spend your time with. This is a matter of deciding how much you can afford to be influenced by this person.
- Expanded Associations – Based on the last two types of friends this one seems obvious. You want to be around this people. Find those who represent where you want to go. Do what they do. Join the organizations, businesses, and health clubs where these people are and make friends with them. Create your circle of influence by purposefully selecting those with whom you surround yourself.
If you are serious about taking your results to a higher level its time to take a step back and ask yourself: Who do I spend my time with? What am I talking about when I hang around them? Who am I becoming as a result of being around these people? When you step away and you look at the lives of those people, is it everything you want?
#3 – Pre-Plan Your Day: Plan to Fail or Fail to Plan
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now” – Alan Lakein
All of our lives moves at a very fast pace. I have read we have up to 61,000 thoughts every day. Everyone has goals, priorities, relationships, and work we want to accomplish every day. But do we get it all accomplished? Because our lives move at such a fast pace it can be easy to get distracted. When something doesn’t go our way or according to plan how do we usually react? How can we fit everything in and move forward with our goals?
Have a plan for everyday and pre-plan your day the night before.
We currently have built in routines that are either moving us closer to our goals or further away from them. We can drastically increase our ability to get things done by mapping out a plan for our day in advance. A lot of our problem with making the right or the wrong decisions is the amount of energy it takes to decide. When we create a plan in advance it frees us up, allowing us to use all of our energy on completing the tasks.
Our mind and emotions gravitate to what we know and we only know what our past experiences have provided us. John Maxwell said, “The greatest obstacle to your future success is your current success.” Our future is unknown and unfamiliar. When we focus on changing ourselves for the greater good our current self is going to naturally what to gravitate back to our history of choices. We must out-think our old self to create our future self with pre-planning. Up to this point in our lives we have made repetitive choices and turned them into automatic habits. What do you do every day without thinking about it? Brushing your teeth, going to work, eating breakfast (or not), tying your shoes. When we write a plan in advance we can tell ourselves exactly what we must accomplish in order to get closer to our goals each day.
There are two great opportunities to plan out your day called “the bookends.” The bookends are either the first thing you do in the morning when you arise or the last thing you do before you go to bed. Either of those times you can control, no matter how out of control your day was.
Here is an example from my own life:
- 5:30AM: Arise Put on gym clothes, contacts, and stumble to kitchen. Drink a glass of ice cold water and protein shake
- 5:40AM: Out the door for workout (Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Weights; Tuesday/Thursday: Interval Cardio; Saturday/Sunday: Walk)
- 6:40AM: Return home and shower, brush teeth, etc.
- 6:55AM: 20 minutes of meditation, prayer, and scripture study
- 7:15-ish AM: Review my goals and day’s schedule
My goal is to have lights out at 11:00PM. With that as my deadline, here’s what I like to get done before then:
- 9:30PM: Review day’s work, review goals (long term and short term), plan tomorrow’s schedule
- 10:00PM: Get ready for bed; take vitamins.
- 10:15PM: Write in journal
- 10:30PM: Read a book
- 11:00PM: Lights out
We have total control of the choices we make to create the life we have always wanted. By adopting these three specific actions you can start to move yourself forward everyday to becoming the person you desire to be.
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