I was listening to the Art of Manliness Podcast yesterday because I’m always working on my manliness. The interview was with one of my favorite people in the fitness industry, Dan John.
Dan John is a guy I really respect because he talks about true fitness being fit in all areas of your life. Meaning, if you are just a set of six pack abs but the rest of your life is a mess you are doing it wrong.
He practices what he preaches too. He is a world renowned strength coach, record holding athlete, devoted father and grandfather, best selling author, and a well regarded religious studies instructor and lecturer. A true, modern day Renaissance man.
In the podcast, Dan started talking about the concept of shark habits. A shark habit is something you do once and you are done with it, just like a shark eats. Gulp.
Some examples he uses are: when he opens an e-mail he responds to it on the spot; he bought 16 of the same shirts so he doesn’t have to think about what he is going to ear the next day; when he receives a wedding invitation he RSVPs on the spot; when you are booking flights, go ahead and get the rental car and hotel too.
Those are just a few examples that he uses all the time. The main benefit of all this?
It frees up brain space.
Couldn’t we all use a little more of that? I know I can. Clearing the clutter, not keeping you bogged down in the minutiae of life, and allowing you to focus on things that really matter.
What are some shark habits you could do to improve your health? What are things in your day that seem to take up unnecessary time and mental effort? Start there and find out how to conquer them.
I am going to start with the e-mail responses. I get SO many e-mails I can easily get bogged down, so I will start there. If you are unsure of where to start, I would suggest doing another Dan John special.
Create a list of the top 14 foods you eat all the time (the average person eats 14 foods per week). Write them down and make that your grocery list every week. Then use that base of foods to make a weekly menu of foods. When meals are taken care of everything gets easier.
Find your shark habits today and see your life become easier.
Bigger is better. We do not like things to be small. When we make changes, they need to be huge and life changing RIGHT AWAY!
And that is where most of us fail.
-I need to quit smoking, I'm going cold turkey.
-2017 is going to be the year I will workout EVERY day.
-Time to clean up the old diet! Get out of here pizza and pasta, get in here broccoli and beets. Salads and water until I lose 40 pounds and get back into those Jordache jeans from 6th grade.
Those scenarios usually end up like you think they would. Our brains are hardwired to make change difficult.
This is a great quote from Robert Maurer's book One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way:
“All changes, even positive ones, are scary. Attempts to reach goals through radical or revolutionary means often fail because they heighten fear. But the small steps of kaizen disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play.”
Kaizen is the art of making great and lasting change through small, steady steps. It is about getting 1% better every day by doing things that seem so tiny they should be irrelevant.
Two examples of this are:
Eating just one less bite of food every meal. Then a month later, you eat two less bites.
Start an exercise program by just standing on a treadmill for one minute a day.
Those seem like such tiny things, but you don't stop there. You continue to slowly make progress, build confidence, and stick to the program.
Where are you stuck? What is it that you can not seem to accomplish? Are you willing to try something new?
It will take patience, but if you are willing to persist the Kaizen method may be just the thing you need to finally succeed.
I have just started to listening to the book Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg on CD. Shout out to the public library. It’s full of free stuff!
One story in the book was talked about techniques that recruits use to get through boot camp to become Marines. When things get the absolute worst the recruits are taught to ask each other questions that start with Why.
This sounds a little strange, but there is a method to the madness. Duhigg explains, ”If you can link something hard to a choice you care about, it makes the task easier, Quintanilla’s drill instructors had told him. That’s why they asked each other questions starting with “why.” Make a chore into a meaningful decision, and self-motivation will emerge.”
Quintanilla is a young man who is going through boot camp. During a grueling portion of boot camp called The Crucible his buddy asked him “Why are you doing this?” His reply was, “To become a Marine and build a better life for my family.”
You have to have a Why in your life too. I want to lose weight is not enough. Dig deeper!
-Why do you want to lose weight? To fit back into that dress I haven’t worn in years.
-Why? To feel better about myself.
-Why? So my husband will be attracted to me again. Ding, ding, ding! This is the real Why.
That is a real example that I have experienced. When you get to that deep of a Why, you are almost guaranteed to be successful.
Tie your Why to the mundane task of chopping vegetables, prepping food for the week, or planning meals. Remember your Why when it is cold, your bed is warm but your workout is waiting. Remember your Why when you are shopping for groceries or trying to get through that last set of pushups.
The actual workout part is physical but the mental side is what will keep you going. Put the work in, it is worth your time to discover your true Why.
Napoleon Hill is probably the third most famous Napoleon, behind only Bonaparte and Dynamite. Napoleon Hill is best known for his book “Think and Grow Rich”.
Included in the book are his six steps for turning your desire for money into actual money. In reading it, I couldn’t help but notice it is also the perfect plan for weight loss .
Like many things, the mental side of weight loss is often the hardest part. I just changed Hill’s money part into a weight loss goal setting plan.
Try these 6 steps to get your mind right, get a game plan, and to increase your chances for success:
First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of weight you desire to lose. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want to lose weight." Be definite as to the amount.
Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the weight loss you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.")
Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to lose the weight you desire.
Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of weight you intend to lose, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the weight loss, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to lose it.
Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY HAVING LOST THE WEIGHT.
You can tell this book was written in 1937, but the principles still stand true today. There is tremendous power in following the steps that he laid out. Give them a try and I guarantee you will get results.
I was listening to the audio version of Dave Ramsey’s book Entreleadership last week and it was talking about how strong Belgian draft horses are. Have you ever seen them? They are massive!
By themselves, a Belgian draft horse can pull about 8,000 pounds. If you put them with another horse they have never met before they can pull up to 24,000 pounds. Three times as much!
But, if you put two horses that they have been raised and trained together they can pull up to 32,000 pounds. Four times as much as the single horse can pull alone.
Who is your Belgian draft horse?
You’ve probably never been asked that before. If you have, I want to know the circumstances.
One of the absolute keys to success in fitness, weight loss, running, cycling, etc… is accountability. Not just they person that makes sure you make it to the workout and do what you are supposed to do, but also the person that celebrates your victories and walks with you through your defeats.
We all need someone like that in our lives. Whether it is a training partner, a group, your coach, or your significant other you need someone to fill that role.
If you have someone like that in your life, make sure they know what a blessing they are to you. Consider yourself extremely lucky to have that person or people who have your back.
If you don’t have someone like that, make it your goal to find them. Of course I would love to be your coach and have you join our group of awesomely supportive women, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Think long and hard about who that person could be, they could absolutely change your life.
I was reading Tony Robbins book called Money Master The Game and he made a great point I wanted to share with you. He was talking about why people are able to succeed where others fail.
If a room full of people has access to the same research, success systems, opportunities, and experts why aren’t they all successful? The most important difference is psychology.
A lot of what you are able to achieve is based on the story you tell yourself.
The example in the book was about a client of Mr. Robbins who kept sabotaging herself whenever she would start to do well financially. He learned that her parents had drilled in to her head that money was the root of all evil, so she would subconsciously avoid gaining money.
What story are you telling yourself?
Did someone make you believe you aren’t good enough to lose weight? Do you constantly feed negative thoughts that you are overweight and always will be?
You may have to dig a little, but find out what story you have been telling yourself all these years. And since you are the author of this story, you are allowed to change it.
Whenever you catch yourself being negative about your looks, performance, etc… imagine a giant pencil erasing that thought from your story. Then you write in something positive with your imaginary pen.
Sounds silly doesn’t it? Not as silly as undermining your success by telling yourself everything that is bad about you. Try it for 30 days and it will make a difference in your future success.
PS-I’m serious! Put this in practice today, you deserve success.
You know what is missing in most people from ages 8-80? I will give you 3 guesses. What did you come up with?
Did you know that many kids today have forgotten how to play? Seriously. You can put them outside and they will now know what to do. Our children are constantly guided by teachers, coaches, and electronics on what to do so they need to be guided during play as well. We don’t allow them to play, so they don’t know how.
How about you? When was the last time you just played? Hide and go seek, kickball, four square, capture the flag, etc… And it doesn’t have to be physical play. Founder of the National Institute for Play, Dr. Stuart Brown, includes art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting, and daydreaming under the play umbrella.
Dr. Brown did an excellent TED Talk called Play is more than just fun. Very interesting the correlation of play and mass murderers.http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital
As adults we get away from the things we used to love as a kid. We have to pay taxes, climb the corporate ladder, and keep up with the Joneses. No time for silly things that don’t make money. We have to have a purpose in everything we do.
There is a reason we add aspects of play into our boot camps. Because it is sorely needed! Play can:
-improve brain function
-increase resistance to disease
- increases energy levels
One day I am going to offer an Adult Recess class on Saturday mornings. I will let you know when that starts, it will be epic.
Until then, I have some homework for you. Find 3 times this week to play. Play with your spouse, your child, your pet, or some unsuspecting stranger at the office. Be silly, use your imagination, and stop taking yourself so seriously!
We are only on this Earth for a short time, don’t spend all of those precious moments being unhappy.
The great thing and the terrible thing about habits are that they can make drastic changes in our life.
Think about the things that you really like about yourself. Now think about the things you wish you could change. How many of them could be altered by your habits?
Money, weight, social life, giving to others. Any number of things can all be changed by habits.
The key to massive change is in keystone habits. A few of you quit reading and immediately popped a few Keystone Lights and are sitting back waiting on success to come too. I feel you.
In his book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business", Charles Duhigg talks about these keystone habits being the key to all change. It is basically a habit that causes a chain reaction of other habits to occur.
Here is an example that was in the book:
“When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why…‘Exercise spills over,’ said James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher. ‘There’s something about it that makes other good habits easier.’”
I have seen this in my clients as well. First they start exercising, feel like eating healthier foods, drinking more water, sleeping better, become more active outside of boot camp, becoming more open to others, laughing more, and stressing less. It is very common and it is awesome to see.
What could your keystone habit be?
-Waking up a little early
-Keeping a food journal
-Adding more vegetables to your diet
-Putting 10% of your paycheck into savings
-Doing something active every day
It needs to be something you can be successful at right away. So start small and work your way up, one habit at a time.
Think about the last time someone was rude to you for no reason at all. What were you feeling? Anger, frustration, and most of all confusion. And the age old question:
"What's wrong with this dude?"
That person is rude to you and then you walk away angry at the world. And usually someone else catches the brunt of your anger and the cycle keeps going.
Stress and anger are not the best mindsets to have if you are looking to improve your health. When you are all tensed up and angry at the world, you are not thinking about eating right and exercising. You are only thinking about that jerk that made you mad.
I used to get really upset when people were unnecessarily rude to me. And I admit it still happens from time to time, but I am much better nowadays.
I want to share with you what helped changed my outlook. It was all about The Law of the Garbage Truck by David J. Pollay.
Pollay talks about an experience he had in the back of a New York City cab. He was riding in the back of the cab when all of the sudden a car comes out of nowhere and nearly causes his a terrible wreck between Pollay's cab and the crazy driver.
If that is not bad enough, the guy who nearly caused the accident blames the cabbie and starts screaming and flipping off them off. The cab driver's reaction was amazing.
He just smiled and waved.
Pollay was astounded and asked the cab driver how he could be so friendly after that man nearly killed both of them. The cab driver answered:
"Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.
So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier."
Wow. My challenge to you this weekend is to look for garbage trucks. I bet you won't have to look far. When they try to dump their trash on you just smile, wave, and have an awesome day.
PS-I highly recommend reading The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Stop People from Dumping on You, great book.