In the words of Stephen Covey “one of the most profound learning’s of my life is this: if you want to achieve your highest aspirations and overcome your greatest challenges, identify and apply the principle or natural law that governs the results you seek”.
The principles we all need to become healthy, fit and happy people are entwined in this following statement.
“Philosophy drives attitude, attitude drives actions, actions drive results, and results drive lifestyles.”
Within this logic all of our dreams can be accomplished… look at all success authors and peak performers and you will see some reference or example of changing the mind before changing the world, mental rehearsal before physical – inner change before outer change.
In this process we talk about your health and fitness dreams. By achieving the body you desire you will also develop the strength and mind-set to achieve more of your life goals. I know that if you absorb these principles and use them – they will do wonderful things to your health, fitness and life.
Here are some common struggles I have encountered with my clients which you may relate to:
I don’t have time to exercise. I run a business – I have a family to provide for and I want to spend more time with my kids!
I have always been fat. everyone in my family is fat and I will always be fat.
I don’t have the energy to get through my normal day let alone get started with an exercise routine.
I’m not a physical person – I never have been.
I have three kids and no time for myself. I cannot put myself before my family
I have too many injuries to improve my health and fitness and every time I try I get re injured!
Exercise makes me feel more tired not less tired!
I know what to do – I just don’t do it. I would rather enjoy life. I go hard for 6 weeks but I don’t see results so I quit.
These are all problems the health and fitness industry quick fixes cannot solve! Or maybe they can… temporarily! And that is one of the biggest problems that the health and fitness industry and health and fitness consumers face! The industry is full of quick fix programs that suck people in with quick results that do not last! Too many programs give people the proverbial fish – rather than teaching people how to fish. It is only by adapting a principle centered approach into one’s lifestyle over the long term that anyone can achieve and maintain optimal health and fitness results throughout their life. Plugging yourself into someone else’s program may be easier and more beneficial in the short term but it is proven that adopting your own program and strategies is more successful over the long term. Adopting your own program based on wisdom and sound principle is by far the most successful way to achieve better health and fitness.
The alternative to a principled centered approach is an endless merry go round of the latest program, diet or product that guarantees amazing results only to see you drop out within two to twelve weeks. The problems people have with achieving their health and fitness goals are not what strategies they use – there is an internet full of strategies, workouts and diets etc – the problem is that health and fitness change requires mind, body and lifestyle change and that is an all-encompassing initiative. Either you commit your mind, body and soul to the process or you expect to be flung off the health and fitness merry go round when you can no longer hang on.
One of my greatest client success stories was a middle aged mother of two called Melanie. The first day I met Melanie she was a mild mannered, meek and quiet lady that would feel more comfortable tucked away, seated in our office with her arms folded across her lap, her shoulders rounded and dress plain. But there was a twinkle in her eyes peering above those librarian glasses. Melanie admitted to me she was not comfortable in the gym environment and she did not want to become “one of those people” who were grunting and heaving and admiring themselves in their lycra outfits. She was here because she had been putting her family before herself for years and now she wanted some “me time”. She wanted to “lose weight and tone up” like so many people I have met. When we got into the goal setting session we discovered she wanted more – she wanted to do this for her family and for herself! She wanted an outlet and to feel better about herself. When we got into the whys of these things she got very emotional and she also suggested a strong commitment to the task. I think she wanted to recover her life and her personal power… She was just meek Melanie… she didn’t know it yet but she had made a decision to become a superhero.
I say this because today Melanie IS one of those grunting lycra clad freaks that would intimidate some people. She is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor and an unrecognisable person from the one I met. Melanie made a lifestyle change within the first twelve weeks of our meeting and as her powers grew – so did she and I attribute her growth to the fact that she took a holistic (Focused) approach form early on in her personal training.
She made her success more available by being truly ready and open to learning and change and she got to and beyond her goals by changing her mind, body and lifestyle.
In my time as a personal trainer, boot camp general, yoga instructor, corporate group fitness trainer, spin instructor, gym owner etc I’ve helped many people through their health and fitness challenges with these Focus habits. I know that they work and I know that they can last forever and serve people for a lifetime because they are principle based – not program or diet or product based. The Focus habits are about giving you a framework on which you can build your own health and fitness lifestyle. Each habit has numerous strategies which you can apply in alignment with the principles that will lead to success. You just need to listen to your intuition and choose the strategies that you think fit your life best.
The philosophy to lifestyle approach helps us work through the spectrum of challenges that all people face. For some people it is the ideas in their head, for others it is taking action, for others it is their support or lifestyle that they really need to focus on. All progress towards and maintenance of our goals needs the synergy of mind and body that the Focus habits encompass.
Unfortunately people still choose the latest diets or product over these principles because they promise quicker, easier results!
Most of these programs centre on the what to do and what to use (the stuff they are selling) and don’t really address the fundamentals or take the comprehensive approach that people need for lasting good health. In fact many of these products and programs are quite detrimental to long term health.
The best health and fitness approaches in the market place today will first promote natural healthy living, movement and attitudes – not products, diets or contraptions. In fact if your current program does depend on some magic substance or tool you can be sure you are on the wrong path to great health, fitness and lifestyle. Supplements etc can help but they are merely supplements – not the foundation of anyone’s best health and fitness.
In “the seven habits of highly effective people” -Stephen covey talks about the character ethic versus the personality ethic of effective living and how in today’s society many people will attempt to use personality based methods to influence others and achieve their own ends. I relate this to many of the TV shows, trainers and products that are dominant in the media today. They have a do it my way approach – because I am lean and strong and I do it this way! The fact is many people are not going to enjoy or be able to do it their way and are going to walk into another failure in attempting it. You can achieve results by following “biggest loser” methods but I am suggesting you will achieve longer lasting change by adapting your own methods based on your philosophy, your preferences and the lifestyle and results you want to achieve (as they long as they relate to sound principles).
The fact is there are basic principles of thinking, moving, eating and living that will always promote optimal health and fitness and it is far more enduring and effective to try and follow basic principles than it is to stick to someone else’s diet and training regime.
I did not invent the principles in this series – I have merely organized the information for you to help you towards a better life.
“Philosophy drives attitude. Attitude drives actions, Actions drive results and results drive” lifestyles!
I think this is actually a Jim Rohn Maxim I cited in a Jeffrey Gitomer ezine and I LOVE IT! I love it because it links your philosophy to who are, what you’re thinking, saying and doing and where you are right now! It makes you accountable for your own lifestyle, results, actions, attitude and philosophy! So let’s use this wisdom to reflect on our health and fitness and our life.
It would be somewhat obvious to say that our health and fitness has a big impact on our lifestyle! Anyone who ignores that fact is most likely encumbered by too much weight, lack of energy or esteem, low motivation, poor and/or failing health or even disability. The sedentary, inactive lifestyle is restrained and limited – compared to the health and fitness lifestyle – which not only prevents illness and disease but empowers you with more capability and freedom in all areas of your life! If you are not happy with your lifestyle – look at your results!
The state of your health and fitness really is the state of you as a person! Barring injury, illness or impairment (over which you have no control) – any other lack of health and fitness comes down to YOU! You might say you’re too busy, too tired, too poor or too whatever but the fact is they are all EXCUSES! If you make your health and fitness a priority – you will make time to do the things you have to do to get the results you desire. The results you get are the results you deserve based on your actions, attitudes and philosophy!
Want to get fitter? Watch more TV! Want to get leaner? Eat another cake! Doesn’t make sense does it?! It is almost despicable to say you truly want something and then do nothing to attain it! Or worse do something to push yourself further away! Your actions are the cross roads where you can turn thoughts, dreams and desires into realities – results and lifestyles! Your actions are also the cross roads where thoughts, dreams and desires remain just that.
Thoughts ARE nothing without action and it is our actions that are the only real expression of our attitude.
We are delving into the depths of the psyche now so let’s simply say attitude is what we think (our beliefs, feelings and values)! What we believe, feel and value affects what we do and have? YES!!!! So it is possible that what we think can help us or hinder us? Yes!!!! So it is possible that my excellent results or lack of results can be largely attributed to what I think, believe, feel and value? YES!!! And Guess what!!! You can change your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and values at any moment you desire!! You control these things – you control your thoughts and your body and it is not the other way around! Your attitude is, however, affected by your philosophy.
Speaking of depths it doesn’t get much deeper than principles and truths of being, knowledge and conduct. Our philosophy (what we accept to be guiding truths and principles) definitely affects what we think, what we do, what we have and how we live. If you doubt this try comparing two different religions and you will see examples of different philosophy yielding different attitudes, actions, results and lifestyles. The problem is many of us were handed our philosophy unconsciously by social influences (religion, parents, friends and the media). Some of your guiding principles and truths may need confirmation (if they are leading you towards what you want in life) or reflection and re-setting (if they are leading you away from what you want in your life). Changing the direction of your health, fitness and life starts with realizing you have the power to choose your philosophy – your guiding truths and principles – your purpose and your inspiration.
Here’s a little philosophic quote that helps me – “Health is a necessity for the duties and the pleasures of life”. As much as I love the wisdom and guidance of many different religions and spiritual leaders – I believe you only get one life – I will ensure my health and fitness helps me to perform my duties to the best of my ability and helps me to enjoy the pleasures of my life in all of their richness. I will often forgo short term pleasures for long term health and I will always try to maintain a balanced and healthy approach to my life. It’s not achieving better health and fitness that drives me – it’s what having better health and fitness allows me to enjoy and give myself and others that is the true reward.
Becoming a better person physically requires you to become a better person mentally, emotionally and spiritually and those are benefits that will flow over into all areas of your life and those around you.
I can say this sincerely and emphatically because I have lived it – I am not a perfect person but I am a self improver and place a high value on my own health and fitness and others and it has led me to many happy places in my life. Better health and fitness has helped me to be a better person, to contribute more, to meet my wife, to grow more and to make a life that matters and I know it can do the same for you.
“What I commend to you – you can give to yourself” Juvenal
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