Knowledge is NOT Power

“Knowledge is power.” — Francis Bacon

Francis was WRONG. Knowledge is potential power. It must be applied. Reading a fitness or self-help book isn’t going to improve your life. Using the principles, you learn, will.

“Knowledge is NOT power. Action is power.” – Tony Robbins

Action produces results. Knowledge and intentions, unapplied produce NOTHING. In fact, while I highly encourage people to read as much as possible, it can be a form of procrastination. Learning cannot replace action.

Discipline is more potent than knowledge because discipline requires action. Actions produce results. Disciplined people have a bias toward action. Disciplined people avoid the trap of getting stuck in their head.

Disciplined people balance learning and doing. Disciplined people show-up consistently and work hard. They don’t have to have the best solution. Often the path forward isn’t clear until you move forward. Disciplined people move forward.

Disciplined people hammer away on their project, they stay focused on their goals, and they put in the work, day after day, week after week. They accomplish much more than the geniuses that overthink things.

Today, most of us have smartphones; vast amounts of information in the palm of our hands. If knowledge were power, we would all be powerful. Learning is important. We want to apply the best strategy for achieving our goals, just don’t let your search for the best strategy become a form of active procrastination.

We don’t need more information, we need more discipline. In many ways, our smartphone is a curse. It is a constant source of distraction. One of the first disciplines we need to adapt to be more efficient is to ignore our smartphone. When I want to get work done, I charge it on a desk behind me.

cadet-texing.jpg

I learned discipline in the army. I enlisted as an infantryman, and while at Fort Benning, I was told that discipline is doing what you should do, whether anyone is watching or not. Later I became an officer after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Like many graduates, I was appalled to see the breakdown in discipline when a graduating cadet was texting while marching in formation.

I am sure that cadet is very intelligent, but I doubt she will be successful, based on the poor discipline and judgment she displayed. She knew, knowledge; that what she was doing was wrong, but she lacked the discipline to do the right thing. Education without the discipline to apply it produces poor results.

This lapse in discipline might not seem severe, but it is. Everything matters. Do you think this is the first time she had done it? Do you think this was an isolated incident? If you said yes to any of these questions, you would be naïve. Everything matters. Everything is a reflection of our character.

We should all read and learn, but we can not forget that learning is not doing. When we apply what we know, knowledge becomes power.

Best wishes and best health.

Change your habits, change your life! 

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Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to act. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. 

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

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Discipline & Procrastination are Habits, NOT Personality Traits

Often times we label ourselves. This can be empowering or disempowering because the labels become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We act in accordance with our beliefs about ourselves. If we tell ourselves we are disciplined, we act disciplined. If we tell ourselves we are a procrastinator, we will procrastinate. We become what we repeatedly do. It is important we all understand these are really just habitual behaviors and not personality traits.

Realizing that these are habits, and not personality traits are empowering. Habits are malleable. We can replace a bad habit with a good one. This gives us a greater sense of hope for a better future. You are not a procrastinator, you simply developed the habit of procrastination. You can break that habit, like any other habit. You can develop the habit of discipline; doing what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.

Habits, good or bad, allow our minds to operate on autopilot. Our minds prefer autopilot because making decisions at the conscious level is exhausting. The cerebral cortex fatigues quickly and is prone to exhaustion. Constantly making decisions at the conscious level is mentally exhausting because it requires our cerebral cortex to do the heavy lifting. This is why everyone forms daily rituals.

It takes time and effort to wire in a new habit, but once it is installed, it will take minimal effort to sustain. The initiation phase takes approximately two months. This is longer than the 30 days most of us were taught. It is perhaps why many people failed to form lasting habits in the past. The two most powerful tactics for changing your behavior are shifting your beliefs and identifying your reason for adopting the new behavior.

You might not be able to say you are a disciplined person right now, but you can say, “I am going to become more disciplined. I am going to make an effort each day to get better.” The more often you say this, and back it up with action, the sooner you will be able to say, “I am a disciplined person.”

Another important strategy for adopting a productive habit is to identify your reason for wanting to improve. What is procrastination costing you? What will you gain by becoming more disciplined? You have to link disciplined action to the reward and procrastination with what it costs you. If the cost of procrastination is greater than the discomfort of taking disciplined action, you will change. If it isn’t you will not. If your reason isn’t strong enough, your excuses will be.

Develop the habit of discipline by starting your day doing your most impactful task. Track your consistency. Mark your calendar each day you succeed at beginning your day with your most impactful task or use a habit-forming app, like Strides to track your consistency. Tracking your consistency will make you more consistent based on the principle of what gets measured gets managed. Tracking a behavior makes us more mindful of it.

As new tasks become routine, the more resilient basal ganglia take over. The action becomes easier and easier to perform. The actions flow almost effortlessly. Routines make life less stressful. Routine feels good; we thrive on routine. We all fall into a routine, and we all develop daily rituals.

Taking positive action when we don’t feel like doing it is one of the most powerful habits we can form. It is the habit of discipline; doing what we should do, when we should do it, whether we feel like it or not. The disciplined person doesn’t hesitate. Hesitation can become a habit. Hesitating to take positive action leads to the habit of procrastination.

When we hesitate to do something, our minds will magnify the anticipated pain or discomfort and begin to provide a myriad of excuses not to do it. Hesitation signals to the brain that we are about to do something dangerous; something that could threaten our survival. Our brain magnifies the danger to kill the idea.

This cognitive bias, called the spotlight effect is designed to kill any action that could threaten our survival. This is great when we are thinking about doing something stupid like risking our lives performing acrobatics on a 50-story building ledge to get views and likes on social media, but it isn’t helpful when it prevents you from taking positive action like speaking up in a meeting or working out.

Our mind is hardwired for our survival. Our ancient programming doesn’t look at the long-term consequence of action or inaction. It is only able to evaluate doing or not doing something based on the immediate pain or pleasure it produces. Hesitation sends a red flag to the brain that the action you are contemplating is dangerous. It cannot distinguish real physical danger from fear born out of insecurity.

When you begin to feel yourself hesitate, MOVE. This is a decisive moment; a moment of huge power. Force yourself to move. The mind and body are linked together; one affects the other. Even if the activity is to study a text, grab the book, turn on your desk light, grab your highlighter, initiate movement. The longer you hesitate to act, the more likely you are to get trapped in your head. Force yourself to move. It will help you to overcome your instincts and feelings so you can operate at the level of your ideas and higher self.

Good luck!  Best wishes and best health.

Change your habits, change your life! 

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Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to act. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. 

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

#theFatLossHabit #FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitMom #FitFam #FitCouple

The Habit: Week-6 (Find Pleasure in the Process)

This week’s challenge is to find pleasure in the process. Discipline is the ability to force ourselves to do what we should do when we should do it. It is something we all struggle with and must develop, but motivation can be a more powerful driver of action. What if you could find pleasure in the tasks you must do. If you can equate pleasure with the task, you’ll be a lot more successful. “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle

If you don’t enjoy what you do, you aren’t really successful. Finding pleasure in the job is our responsibility. Our attitude toward what we do is a choice we make each day. We are responsible for our own happiness. We are responsible for our attitude toward our work, toward our relationships, and toward our life. If we cannot find happiness in our daily routine, we aren’t really successful.

“If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” – Jack Canfiel

Lasting happiness doesn’t come from our achievements. Happiness comes from finding pleasure in our daily routine. Happiness requires frequent refreshing. It is a tree that requires daily watering to grow and flourish. It is our responsibility to find these pleasures in our daily routines to be happy. So how do we find pleasure in performing work that on the surface isn’t enjoyable?

Our attitude is a choice.This choice begins with a decision. The decision is to decide what things mean. What meaning do you attach to the task? Everything we do has a purpose, a meaning. We must find out what that is. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked why he smiled during his long, 5-hour workouts.

Arnold’s attitude toward his training separated him from the other bodybuilders. While they seem to dread the long grueling workouts that were required to achieve a massive physique, he enjoyed them. He said he enjoyed the heavy lifting. He looked forward to every heavy set because he knew that each set was bringing him one step closer to his goal of becoming the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

Arnold was able to connect what he was doing with his desired outcome. That is why his attitude was so much better than the other bodybuilders. His attitude towards his training made him one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.

Pain is weakness leaving the body. I heard this mantra numerous times at West Point and during my career in the military. I knew it was a tool to get us to push harder during physical training, but it wasn’t until years later that I truly understood the psychology behind the mantra. The mantra changed our neuro-association of pain with the pleasure of toughening the body and polishing the spirit. Pain becomes a pleasure.

CT Fletcher - Pain.PNG

CT Fletcher, former powerlifting champion, and fitness motivational speaker can often be heard in the gym saying, “I look for you pain.” He invites pain. He says it is his friend because he equates pain with growth. Muhammad Ali said, “I do not count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting because then it really counts.”

To achieve extraordinary results, you must have an extraordinary attitude toward your work. Discipline can only get you so far. Motivation is a greater catalyst for action. If you can find meaning and pleasure in what you do on a daily basis, you’ll achieve excellence. When you find pleasure in the daily disciplines that are required to be successful, success is all but assured.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn

 If you cannot find pleasure in what you do, I suggest you find something that you can. Our attitude affects our performance. Poor attitude, poor performance. Great attitude, great performance. Most people neglect to cultivate a great attitude. Don’t let that be you. Your attitude affects everything you do. It effects your effort. It affects your smile. It affects your handshake.

Success requires hard work, but it doesn’t have to be drudgery. When you love what you do, work isn’t agony, it’s a pleasure. We achieve more success when we enjoy what we do, but more importantly, you’ll live a more fulfilling life.

If you cannot find happiness in the process of achieving your goals, you aren’t really successful. Achievements that don’t produce sustained happiness produce an unsatisfying life. Most people don’t enjoy what they do. Most people say, “Thank God it’s Friday.” This poor attitude is normal, but you don’t have to be average. “Success is doing what the failures won’t” – Jim Rohn. We should all enjoy our weekends, but we should also enjoy our weekdays. We should enjoy our lives.

The average worker will tell you it is called work for a reason. The prevailing attitude is that work shouldn’t be pleasurable. I suggest that we take another approach to our work. If we want to achieve above average results, we have to cultivate an above average attitude towards our work. If we can make work more enjoyable, why shouldn’t we?

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

One thing that universally makes all of us happy is progress. When we are getting better, in any area of our lives, we feel great. We feel like a winner. “

Progress equals happiness. Progress is the game.” Tony Robbins

 Every small win, every item checked off our to-do list makes us feel great. It releases dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical most closely related to long-term happiness.When our dopamine system is activated,we are more positive, excited and eager to go after goals.

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work explains how progress improves the inner work life of employees and teams. Improvements in inner work life drive higher levels of performance and engagement; which in turn leads to better progress and enhanced inner work life. The author calls these reinforcing benefits, the “progress loop.” As you make progress, you rack-up small wins. These small wins make us feel great about ourselves, which stimulates the release of dopamine. When we are making progress in any area of our life, it gives us a sense of accomplishment. It gives us a sense of worth.

Hopefully, we can all agree that we have the power to change how we feel about our work by changing our attitude toward it. Here are some simple strategies to take more pleasure in what you do:

1)    Create a list, in your journal, of the reasons you LOVE doing something that the average person would find unpleasant. For example, I have formed the habit of starting each day with 30-minutes of technical reading, by creating a list of reasons. I love starting each day with technical reading because:

  1. It will make me an expert in my field
  2. It will make me more valuable to my company and to myself
  3. It will help me get promoted
  4. It will help me earn more money
  5. It will prepare me for future opportunities

2)    Create a system for tracking small wins. Small wins help us to sustain motivation. Creating a daily to-do list and crossing off items as they are accomplished makes us feel great about ourselves. If you really want to do well at work, make sure you start each day with your most important task. The more impactful the task, the more it will contribute to your success. Don’t mistake being busy with being productive.

3)    Track your consistency. We are naturally more consistent when we track our consistency. If your goal is to make 10 cold calls a day. You could use a habit-forming app like Strides, Streaks, Fabulous, and Toodledo to track your consistency. Each time you record another successful day with the app, congratulate yourself. Celebrate this small victory. Say, “I am proud of myself today, good job!” Every small win activates our dopamine system and motivates us to go after our goals with greater vigor.

4)    When you feel your enthusiasm starting to wane, listen to something inspiring. Cynical people deride motivation because it doesn’t last. Tell me what lasts? Bathing doesn’t last, so should we stop doing it? Brushing our teeth doesn’t last, so maybe we should quit doing it? Coaches give their teams motivational speeches on a regular basis. Why do you think that is? Because it is effective. Motivation is the desire to do. When our desire to do is waining, we need to take action. You can find a ton of great motivational videos on YouTube. These videos are FREE. It doesn’t get much easier than FREE. Download your favorite to your smartphone and reach for it every time your motivation begins to wane.

5)    Force yourself to smile while you’re performing the task. Forcing yourself to smile, will improve your mood. Physiology has been shown to influence our psychology. Some have suggested that the paradigm we have been taught all our lives, that we smile when we are happy is backward. I don’t believe it is backward. I believe that it works both ways. I believe that our psychology and physiology are linked together in a push-pull relationship, with each affecting the other.

In the military, I was taught that false motivation was better than no motivation. I thought it was just a means of getting us to push ourselves harder during tough training, which it did, but I also discovered that it changed my attitude. Pretend motivation, leads to genuine motivation. Our mind seeks alignment between our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. The psychological term that describes a disharmony between attitude and behavior is called cognitive dissonance. When there is a lack of harmony between our attitudes and behaviors we seek to reduce that cognitive dissonance. When you force a smile, it signals to the mind that you are happy. Your body reduces levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and increases levels of endorphins and dopamine.[i]

We should enjoy our work. As Steve Jobs said, it is going to fill a large part of our lives. We shouldn’t wait to enjoy our lives. We should enjoy each day, our workdays as well as our weekends. If we can’t find daily pleasure in our life, what is the point? If we achieve great results but don’t find any fulfillment in their accomplishment, are we truly successful?

I hope that you will take what you have learned this week and apply it. We are all responsible for our own happiness. Happiness is a choice we all make, and it begins with what we focus on each day. I hope you will choose to focus on what brings you pleasure.

Until next week, good luck, best wishes and best health!

Attitude is a habitual way of thinking. Change your habits, change your life! 

If you enjoyed this article, please LIKE and SHARE. Our Book is NOW Available on Amazon!

Best wishes and Best Health!

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger.

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Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Book Introduction

Print Book Cover 09.25.2017The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques, have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Our BOOK The Fat Loss Habit is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! We would greatly appreciate a brief REVIEW. Your feedback is our best marketing tool, and it will help us to make a better product. Your review will help other people who want to make a positive change by helping them to find our book.

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#FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation

[i] JULIETTE SIEGFRIED, Want to Be Happier? Smile More!,

The Habit: Week-4 (Keep a Journal)

This week’s challenge is to journal for at least 10-minutes every day. This one habit can alter the trajectory of your life. Keeping a journal has numerous benefits. Don’t make the common mistake of thinking a journal is a diary. It isn’t. The primary purpose of a diary is to record your feelings, while the primary purpose of a journal is to register your goals and thoughts so you can make better decisions. Keeping a journal allows you to:

  1. Reconnect with your goals
  2. Improve your attitude
  3. Detect your values
  4. Capture and organize great ideas
  5. Improve your problem solving
  6. Become more creative
  7. Learn to communicate better
  8. Cathartic Release

Jim Rohn produced a fantastic audio program explaining why and how to keep a journal. He was a master communicator, who mentored many hugely successful individuals. His audio program is well worth your time and money. You can purchase the CD version on his website for approximately $15, and the MP3 version for $9.95. He also produced an excellent, high-quality journal you can purchase for $29 separately. If you buy the Journal and audio CD program together you’ll save $5. These links are provided purely for your convenience, I don’t receive any compensation.

It is essential to select a journal that you will enjoy using and one that fits your lifestyle. Your journal needs to be able to go where you go, so you can capture great ideas as they come to you. You want to pick a journal you will enjoy holding in your hand and fits your individual preferences. For example, I like lined journals, but many people like unlined journals because it allows them to be more creative and lends itself to brainstorming. I prefer to use a separate sketchpad for brainstorming. A great place to shop for a journal is at your local Barnes and Nobel; that is where I purchased my current journal.

I read and listen to a lot of books, so I usually have plenty of material I want to capture in my journal, but if you struggle with writers’ block, you might choose to purchase the 5-Minute Journal, which provides daily writing prompts. Darren Hardy, one of the men Jim Rohn mentored, publisher and editor of Success magazine, produced a journal and accompanying audio program, Living Your Best Year Ever. The audio program echoes a lot of the advice he gives in his fantastic book, The Compound Effect.

I recommend you purchase a high-quality journal. This journal is going to be a repository of great ideas. You wouldn’t put precious gems in a cigar box, so why would you collect your best thoughts in a cheap notebook. People asked Jim why he spent so much for a book filled with blank pages. He told them because he intended to fill it up with valuable information. Your journals will become an important part of your library. Instead of re-reading one of your favorite books, you can re-read the highlights you wrote in your journal. Capture great ideas and quotes as you hear them. Even when you wait just a few hours, some of the details will escape you. Don’t let good ideas get away from you.

“The palest ink is better than the best memory.” – Chinese Proverb

Relentlessly capture great ideas and quotes in your journal as you hear them. Writing them down and re-reading them later will help you etch them into your mind and make their application in your life more natural. A journal is for the serious individual that doesn’t want to just wander through life. It is for the person that wants to chart their own course through life and blaze a trail for others to follow.

Your journal will also be part of your legacy. Just as old photographs can help tell the story of your life, so too can your journal. It can help your children and grandchildren understand your thoughts and struggles. Memories fade in our mind, but what is written is preserved in time. Let other people try to remember. Let other people wonder what happened to their dreams and aspirations. Not you. Your journal will help you from being swept up in the current of daily obligations and distractions, that rob people’s attention and steal away their dreams one day at a time.

The most important reason to maintain a journal is to reconnect with your goals. It is a great idea to set aside the first few pages of your journal for your goals. Don’t just write down your goals, ensure you write down why you want to achieve them. You might want to lose 15 pounds in the next 6-months, but that isn’t going to motivate you. Unleash the power of why. Why do you want to lose the weight? What outcome do you want to achieve? If your why isn’t big enough, your excuses will be. When you have a big enough why, you’ll jump out of bed and get after it. Your why will give you the push you need. Your why will get you to the gym. Your why will cause you to log your food relentlessly.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Write your goals down and re-read them every day. Reconnecting with your goals every day is what gives them power. It will help direct your daily actions. As you read your goals, ask yourself, what am I going to do today to inch myself toward my goal. Take at least one step each day toward your goals. Avoid having too many significant goals at any given time. More than two will dilute your efforts too much. The other reason to review your goals daily has to do with your reticulating activation system (RAS).

Our minds are designed to ignore most of what we see and hear. It does this to avoid sensory overload. Our RAS filters out the nonessential from the essential. When you reconnect with your goals each day, you are programming your RAS to look for things in your environment that will help you achieve your goals. It is the reason why you suddenly notice how many people are driving a vehicle you are considering for purchase. Those cars were always there in your environment, but it wasn’t until you told your RAS that they were important that they were brought to your attention. The same is true of your goals. When you have a goal firmly set in your mind, you will suddenly see opportunities or tools in your environment that would have otherwise been filtered out and ignored.

After you have written your goals, you might want to fill the next few pages with a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life. So often we focus on what we are lacking; we forget to be grateful for what we already have. A great way to reconnect with the best part of ourselves and improve our happiness is to take a few moments each day to be grateful. Zig Ziglar told the story of a woman who had a case of “stinking thinking.” He was able to transform her life from one of misery to one of joy, just by having her reconnect with everything she loved about her job each day, video link. If you want to improve your attitude about learning, working hard, exercising, or eating better you could create a list of reasons why you love to do it and review it each day.

I can practically hear your inner skeptic saying that making a list and reading it each day isn’t going to improve your attitude. That is what she thought as well, but it did. It changed her attitude, and it turned her life around. Anyone can be a skeptic. It is so easy to do. It doesn’t require any effort. There is nothing to be gained by being a skeptic. Good habits like working hard, reading, and studying do not produce immediate pleasure, but they do create lasting happiness. You have to overcome your primitive programming that actively seeks instant gratification. You have to connect the positive behavior with the long-term benefits that it provides. Making a list and re-reading it helps you make the transition.

Decisions need to be made with the conscious mind, not the primitive brain which is driven by the most basic desires. When your primitive brain is guiding your actions, you will only do what provides immediate pleasure or comfort. A dog can only be a dog because animals are controlled by their primitive brain, but you can become whatever you want to become. We aren’t human beings, we are human becomings. We become what we repeatedly do. You can become an expert in your field because you can adopt the habit of learning a little each day. Every expert was once a novice.

Begin each morning reconnecting with your goals and what you are grateful for is an excellent way to begin each morning. I do this while I drink my morning coffee, then I read a few pages of the notes I have taken. I capture great ideas, mantras, and quotes on a whole host of topics. Capturing great ideas is important, but they must be organized if they are going to serve you well. You need to be able to retrieve the ideas when you need them. You don’t want to waste time searching through your journal for the information when you need it. You don’t want your journal to become a junk drawer of great ideas. I created an index on an excel spreadsheet. I keep a hard copy of it inside my journal. I wanted to be able to periodically update the index and keep it sorted in alphabetical order. When my journal is almost full, I will transfer the index to the last few pages of the journal. Besides recording information and ideas, your journal can help you overcome challenges.

When we write our trials down on a piece of paper, it helps us to look at them dispassionately. Often our ability to analyze a situation is clouded by our emotions. When we transfer the facts of the situation onto paper it helps us put things in proper perspective. Writing down the facts and events helps to create the necessary separation we need. We can more easily analyze the problem and our role in it. The key to solving a problem always resides with us. We cannot hope the other person will change. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.

Often we can see what other people need to do to resolve their situation, but we cannot do this for ourselves. It is because we judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intent. When you write down events as facts, using paper and pen, you can become the observer you need to be to solve your own problems. The next time you are faced with a challenge, write down the facts and events surrounding it. Write them down as if they happened to someone else. Then write down a list of ideas and actions that might remedy the situation. Last, write down the results you achieved.

If the action worked, you might use it again in the future. Recording these small wins can also be a powerful source of motivation. Small wins are one of the most potent sources of motivation. These small wins make us feel great about ourselves, which stimulates the release of dopamine. When our dopamine system is activated, we are more positive, excited and eager to go after goals. If your actions didn’t produce the desired result, you could avoid making the same error in the future. Mistakes are a part of life, but the worst mistakes are the ones repeated. There is power in putting ideas down on pad and paper.

A journal is a great place for brainstorming. If you do a lot of creative work, you might elect to purchase an unlined journal or sketch pad. It is much easier to organize our thoughts using a piece of paper. I used a page of my sketch pad to help me organize my thoughts around keeping a journal. Brainstorming is a powerful tool. Using your journal for brainstorming can improve your creativity. You could brainstorm on a blank piece of paper, but the advantage of doing it in your journal is that you create a record. When you uncover more information on the topic, you can add to your existing document. When you capture brainstorming sessions on random pieces of paper, the ideas are going to get lost or misplaced, instead of filed away for future reference.

It is often said that the best way to improve your writing is by writing. Keeping a journal will make you a better writer. As you learn how to organize your ideas and capture them in your journal, your writing will naturally improve. You develop skills through repetition and effort. We are all capable of getting better. While I am not J.K. Rowling, my writing has gotten much better through journaling. I am an engineer by profession. Engineers are not renowned as wordsmiths. All of us can benefit from becoming better writers. In addition to all of the other benefits I have already described, journaling will help you become a better communicator.

The last benefit we will touch on is the therapeutic benefits of capturing our thoughts and feelings on paper. Journaling provides a cathartic release. Journaling helps you to better deal with your emotions by getting them out of your head and on to paper. Often feelings can eat away at us. Putting them on paper gives us some objectivity and perspective. It allows us to control our emotions instead of letting them control us. It puts us back in the driver’s seat. A study by the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment found that 15–20 minutes of journaling, performed on three to five occasions, was enough to help the study participants deal with traumatic events in their lives.[i]

Keeping a journal is one of the keystone habits for living a better life. Maintaining a journal is a sign that you are serious about achieving your goals and becoming the person, you need to be, to accomplish the things you want in life. As little as 10 minutes each morning can radically improve your life. Of course, reviewing more often is even better. Reviewing your journal as part of your bedtime routine is a fantastic idea. Your subconscious will be set to work, helping you to achieve your goals that much quicker.

Life is full of distractions. If you aren’t careful, you’ll go through your life never getting to the things that matter most to you. Keeping a journal is the best way of avoiding this pitfall. It will help you stay connected to your goals and values like nothing else will. When you keep a journal, you become the author and architect of your own life. Without a journal, it is easy to get distracted and never pursue your goals. Life has special meaning for people that are pursuing their dreams. Unfortunately, most people are living unfulfilled lives, because they are too busy making a living, instead of making a life. Don’t let that be you. Keep a journal. Stay connected to your goals. It is your best defense from distraction. Don’t let distractions rob you of your dreams.

Your goals affect everything. They affect your attitude, they affect your smile, they affect your handshake, they affect when you get up, they affect your energy, they affect every decision you make. The awful truth is that most people don’t have written goals. Most people don’t even have goals at all, or their goals have no emotional intensity. For example, if your goal is to simply get out of debt, that isn’t going to inspire you to get up early or work late. Don’t neglect your goals. For people without goals, life is a chore. These are the people that say thank God, it’s Friday. Probably the same people that reach the end of their life only to say, thank God, it’s over. A lot of people don’t have goals, I suggest you don’t let that be you. Everyone hopes things will get better, unsuccessful people hope, that should tell you something. Don’t hope. Set and achieve goals. Your journal is the best place to record those goals and all of the ideas that will help you achieve them.

“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” — John Wooden

Until next week, good luck, best wishes and best health!

Change your habits, change your life!

If you enjoyed this article, please LIKE and SHARE. Our Book is NOW Available on Amazon!

Best wishes and Best Health!

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss, but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger.

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Book Introduction

 Print Book Cover 09.25.2017

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Our BOOK The Fat Loss Habit is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! We would greatly appreciate a brief REVIEW. Your feedback is our best marketing tool and it will help us to make a better product. Your review will help other people who want to make a positive change by helping them to find our book.

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#theFatLossHabit #FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitMom #FitFam #FitCouple

[i] Karen A. Baikie and Kay Wilhelm, Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment Aug 2005, 11 (5) 338-346; DOI: 10.1192/apt.11.5.338.

The Habit: Week-3 (Morning Exercise) It’s for the Mind more than the Body!

Q45-B

This week’s challenge is to wake-up 30-minutes early and exercise for at least 20-minutes. Most people that resolve to wake-up early to exercise do it with the vague goal of losing some weight and getting into shape. Those are terrible goals for several reasons. First, they aren’t clearly defined. Second, they don’t contain any emotional intensity, and last, they don’t have any deadline to create a sense of urgency. I want you to wake-up early and exercise because it will prime your mind for peak performance.

This habit has more to do with the effects it will have on your mind, and much less to do with the effects it will have on your body. Most people know that exercise releases endorphin, the body’s homegrown brand of morphine, but what most people don’t realize is that it stimulates the brain.

Regular exercise has been shown to stimulate the production of Brain-derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), a protein vital to the health and function of your brain and peripheral nervous system. BDNF has often been described by scientists as “Miracle-Gro for the brain” because it stimulates the production of new neurons. Low levels of BDNF is linked to Alzheimer’s, accelerated aging, poor neural development, neurotransmitter dysfunction, obesity, depression, and even schizophrenia. Nearly every abnormal state of cognitive function is attributed to low levels of BDNF. [1] I am not suggesting that exercise alone will make you smarter; it merely primes you for peak learning. After you have stimulated the brain, you need to take advantage of the newly formed neurons and wire-in some novel information.

After exercising, I like to begin each day by listening to an audiobook or reading a book while I commute to work on the bus. I also begin the workday with 30-minutes of professional reading before moving on to my most important task of the day. I purposely avoid checking email because it conditions you to be reactive. I want to start each day working on what is most important, and self-improvement is a never-ending priority. Researchers at the University of Muenster concluded that learning levels increased by 20 percent after strenuous exercise.[2] Exercise improves learning and brain function. Working out each morning boosts your mental and physical performance.

Exercising each morning is crucial to becoming better. If there is one thing that universally makes people happy it is progress. When we are getting better and accomplishing meaningful things it releases dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical most closely related to long-term happiness. When our dopamine system is activated, we are more positive, excited and eager to go after goals.[3]

Other benefits of regular exercise are more difficult to view under a microscope, but we all know that it improves mood, focus, energy, happiness, and creates a sense of wellbeing. There are unexpected benefits to forming healthy habits. Australian researchers, Megan Oaten and Ken Cheng, found that healthy habits lead to significant improvements in a wide range of regulatory behaviors such as less impulsive spending; better dietary habits; decreased alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption; and fewer hours watching TV.[4]

Daily exercise will naturally improve your physical performance and make daily tasks easier. As you get fitter and stronger, everyday tasks become less effortful. If you are consistent and do it every day, eventually you will become fit. I don’t know how long it will take for you to become fit, but you will become fit. We become what we repeatedly do. If you stay committed to working out daily, you will become fit. I wish more people focused on doing whatever form of exercise they prefer and being more consistent. It is essential that you enjoy your workouts. It is vital you fall in love with the process of getting in shape.

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle

When you enjoy your workouts, you’ll naturally be more consistent. Start out slow. Don’t rush or get impatient. Gradually build up the intensity of your workouts, depending on your ultimate goals. Focus on consistency. Consistency is more potent than intensity. Success is all about taking daily action, not sporadic acts of determination. You might not lose all the weight you want to lose, but you’ll be fitter and stronger. After many years of training, I have come to the following conclusions.

If you want to improve mental and physical performance, focus primarily on exercise. If you want to improve your body composition, focus primarily on your diet, energy balance. 

So what type of activity is optimal for stimulating your brain? Research has focused primarily on aerobic exercise because scientists still haven’t been able to teach lab rats to properly execute squats or deadlifts. Their attempts at simulating weight training have consisted of hanging weights on the tails of the rats and forcing them to climb. We don’t know the ideal, but as little as 15-minutes of moderately intense exercise, 60% of your maximum heart rate, appears to be adequate. Optimal stimulation seems to be 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate sustained for 30 to 45 minutes.

Exercise that requires you to think, like learning to dance, can help stimulate BDNF because you are getting your heart rate up and forcing your mind to learn new movement patterns. Exercising outside, in the sun, also contributes to higher levels of BDNF. We were designed to move and think outdoors, not sit indoors, under artificial lights, in front of a glowing screen. Exercise frequency plays a significant role in the stimulation of BDNF. The more often, the better. Three times a week is sufficient, but daily exercise is optimal. We were designed to move daily. Modern life has sought to engineer movement out of our lives. If you want to perform at your best, you must actively engineer movement back into your day.

Good is not the enemy of great. Find something you enjoy doing because you will be more consistent. I am going to give you a few suggestions, for you to consider; helping you find something you might enjoy. The longer I exercise, the more value I see in each form of exercise. I don’t believe there are any ideal exercise programs. Each type of training has its pros and cons. I like to start each day with 10 to 15 minutes of moderate cardio on my spin bike while listening to an audiobook or motivational YouTube video. Then I finish with 5 to 10 minutes of intervals in the form of shadow boxing, calisthenics, kettlebell circuits, or intermittent sprints on the spin bike. Spin bikes are great. They are simple, offer a low impact form of exercise, require very little space, are quiet, and affordable. Because my spin bike doesn’t have any electronics, I can jump off the bike, shadow box, perform some kettlebell swings, or do calisthenics without the machine turning-off. During my lunch hour, I focus on strength training; completing three to five circuits of three to five basic compound exercises.

To make getting up easier, I charge my phone in my bathroom. It forces me to get out of bed. I lay out my workout clothing and my wireless headphones next to my cellphone each night because I want to facilitate working out. Every minute of your morning is valuable. You don’t want to waste time or energy deciding what to wear or searching for clothing. I immediately put on my headphones and start listening to something inspiring while I get dressed and grab a cup of coffee. While I sit and drink my coffee I read a few pages of my journal to reconnect with my gratitude list, goals, values, insights, etc. After about 10 to 15 minutes I am ready to work out. I grab the sports bottle I always keep in our refrigerator and head upstairs to work out.

If you don’t have a great attitude toward exercise, that’s OK. You can improve it by making a list of at least ten reasons you love to exercise and reading it every morning while you drink your coffee. Here is an example:

1) I love to exercise in the morning because it primes me for a great day.
2) I love to exercise because it improves my mood.
3) I love to exercise in the morning because it increases my energy.
4) I love to exercise because it improves my focus.
5) I love to exercise because it keeps me strong and fit.
6) I love to exercise because it improves my impulse control.
7) I love to exercise in the morning because it makes me feel like I have accomplished something important before I even get to work.
8) I love to exercise because it reconnects me with my body.
9) I love to exercise because it simply makes me feel wonderful.
10) I love to exercise in the morning because it inspires me to live a healthier lifestyle.

You don’t have to do what I do. Do what works best for you. Do whatever type of exercise you enjoy most. As long as it gets your heart rate up, it doesn’t matter. If you haven’t exercised in a while, I recommend you start with taking a 20-minute walk. When you feel ready, you can begin to work in some jogging. Pick a tree or a parked car in the distance, then jog to it. After a while, you can start jogging the entire time. If you cannot walk outside, you can walk inside, and mix in some stair climbing.

no equipment cardio capture.PNG

If you prefer to workout inside, there are a lot of options. There are tons of No Equipment Cardio Workouts on YouTube. Create a playlist of your favorites.

You could download Perigee AB’s FREE 7 Minute Workout app (Google or iTunes). For a 21-minute workout, you can elect to do three 7-minute circuits.  John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain recommends this app. I like the app because I can do the exercises whenever I need a quick energy boost. A quick 7-minute workout will get your heart rate up, without getting you sweaty. My daughter often does it before going to school to prime herself to learn.

Another alternative to consider is shadow boxing. You’ll need an interval timer. My favorite is the Boxing Timer Pro by SIMPLETOUCH LLC (Google or iTunes). I will listen to music that pumps me up while performing 5 to 20 rounds consisting of 45-seconds of exercise followed by a 15 second recovery. You can vary your exercise to recovery ratios based on your current level of fitness. You can alternate shadow boxing with jumping rope or jumping jacks.

If you would like to incorporate some strength training into your morning workout, you can perform a few simple bodyweight exercises in a circuit every other day. For example:

1)    Inverted Row or Pull-up

A. Inverted row: They can be performed between two chairs, using TRX style straps, or under a table.

B. Pull-up: The Lifeline Power Up Chin-Up turns any door into a pull-up station for less than $15.

2)    Dip (between chairs) or push-ups

A. If you can do more than 20 push-ups with great form, you can make them more challenging by slowing down the negative portion of the movement, pausing, and then explode off the ground as high as possible.

3)    Bulgarian Split Squat (left leg)

A. If you can perform more than 20 repetitions, you can make the exercise more difficult by wearing a backpack, slowing the negative portion of the movement, and pausing before exploding up off the ground (Bulgarian Split Squat Jump)

4)    Bulgarian Split Squat (right leg)

5)    Plank(30-60 seconds)

I would recommend you warm-up for 5-minutes doing some jumping jacks or running in place before performing two or three circuits of the exercises listed above. You never want to lift or sprint with a cold muscle.

kettlebell.jpg

Last but not least, you could perform a Kettlebell circuit. Obviously, you’ll need to purchase a kettlebell if you don’t already have one. The general recommendation is a 15-pound kettlebell for women, and a 30-pound kettlebell for men.

Here are two circuits that take approximately 5-minutes to complete. They each consist of 7-exercises. Perform 30-seconds of exercise followed by a 10-second rest interval before beginning the next exercise. Feel free to increase the rest interval to 15 seconds if you feel the need. If you like to follow along to a video, here is the kettlebell workout video that is the basis of these circuits.

Circuit #1

Circuit #2

High Pull

High Pull

Goblet Squat

Figure-8

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Punch

Kettlebell Punch

Elbow to Hand Plank

Side to Side Planks

Ab Chop-up

V-up

Jumping Jack

Mountain Climber

I have offered these workouts to provide you with a few options. Don’t get too concerned with optimal, be more concerned with finding an activity you will truly enjoy. I want you to enjoy your workouts, so you can enjoy the benefits that working out has to offer: increased cognitive and physical performance, increased vitality, increased focus, improved impulse control, improved mood, improved happiness, and improved physical appearance.

Until next week, good luck, best wishes and best health!

Change your habits, change your life!

If you enjoyed this article, please LIKE and SHARE. Our Book is NOW Available on Amazon!

Best wishes and Best Health!

Audio Book Cover (11.02.2017)

Are you ready to reboot and reset your relationship with food and exercise? Most programs focus on the mechanics of weight loss, but fail to adequately address the psychology of change required. Most people know more than enough about nutrition and exercise to lose weight, but fail to take action. This book takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger.

Follow us on Facebook

Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Book Introduction

The Fat Loss Habit: Creating Routines that Make Willpower and Fat Loss Automatic takes a new approach to getting leaner, fitter, and stronger. The program uses high-impact change strategies that make the process of adopting a healthy lifestyle easier. The nutrition and workout program, like the change techniques have all been proven effective, and are all backed by research and scientific studies.

Our BOOK The Fat Loss Habit is NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!! We would greatly appreciate a brief REVIEW. Your feedback is our best marketing tool and it will help us to make a better product. Your review will help other people who want to make a positive change by helping them to find our book.

Follow us on Facebook

Book NOW Available on Amazon!

Book Introduction

#theFatLossHabit #FatLoss #WeightLoss #NewYearsResolution #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitMom #FitFam #FitCouple

[1] Anita E. Autry and Lisa M. Monteggia, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Pharmacol Rev. 2012 Apr; 64(2): 238–258.

[2] Bernward Winter, Caterina Breitenstein, Frank C. Mooren, Klaus Voelker, Manfred Fobker, Anja Lechtermann , Karsten Krueger, Albert Fromme, Catharina Korsukewitz, Agnes Floel, and Stefan Knecht, High impact running improves learning, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 87 (2007) 597–609.

[3] Susan S. Lang, Dopamine linked to a personality trait and happiness, Cornell Chronicle, October 24, 1996.

[4] Oaten M, and Cheng K, “Longitudinal gains in self-regulation from regular physical exercise,” Br J Health Psychol. 2006 Nov; 11 (Pt 4):717-33.