5 Reasons Why Body for Life is Still a Great Program

“When you gain control of your body, you will gain control of your life. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, you absolutely, positively do have the power to change. Focus on progress, not perfection.”

-Bill Phillips, Author of Body for Life

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Body for Life was written almost 20-years ago, but I still believe it is one of the best fitness and self-improvement books ever written. If you want to transform your body and your life, the book’s program will deliver.

Is the program perfect? No, but it is still better than 95% of the current programs in circulation. The most common criticism of the program is its simplicity, but I think too many people make getting in shape overly complicated. Do I agree with every aspect of the program? No. I would have to disagree with a few of the book’s assertions, based on the extensive research I conducted during the writing of my book, The Fat Loss Habit, but these are mostly minor flaws. We shouldn’t devote major time to minor things, so let’s focus on why the program is so effective.

Five Reasons why the Body for Life is still a fantastic program.

  1. The program teaches us “How to cross the abyss.”
  2. The program emphasizes strength training.
  3. The program sponsors a fitness competition that creates a sense of urgency.
  4. The program is simple and effective, with an emphasis on effort and progress.
  5. The program provides all the tools you’ll need to monitor your consistency and progress.

#1 The Program Teaches You How to Cross the Abyss

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do. There is a world of difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.” Bill Phillips

The book begins by asking you if you have made a real decision to change. After training thousands of people, Bill struggled to understand why some people made amazing transformations and other’s didn’t. They were all given the same information and tools; so what was missing?

He concluded that what was missing was the person’s ability to “cross the abyss.” Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied. No program will work unless we do the work. Crossing the abyss is when we execute the program. That is why my book focuses on forming healthy habits. We form habits; then they form us.

To help us cross the abyss, he recommends we:

  • Make a decision to change.
  • Identify our reasons to change and write them down.
  • Focus on our future vision.
  • Identify OLD patterns of behavior that may hold us back.
  • Identify NEW patterns of behavior that will help us achieve our goals.
  • Set goals and review our progress daily.

He provides tools for recording your goals and progress on the Body for Life website. We fail to act when our reason for changing isn’t strong enough. If our reason isn’t big enough, our excuses will be.

Before even considering an exercise and nutrition program, I recommend that the person put on some swim trunks and have somebody take a photo of them. Then take a good look and ask yourself: Is this who I really am? If you don’t see yourself as that, you have the opportunity to change it. But you need to change your mindset.” Bill Phillips

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Learn more, Focus on your WHY – It is so much more important than your WHAT & HOW

#2 The program emphasizes strength training.

“If you start an aerobic exercise program shaped like a pear, the most likely result is you wind up looking like a smaller pear – which is fine if that’s what you want. But that’s not what I would call a transformation.” Bill Phillips

When Bill Phillips wrote his book, the mainstream fitness industry was still overemphasizing cardio training over strength training. He was one of the first to popularize High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) over slow, steady-state,”fat burning zone,” cardio training. He understood that cardio alone doesn’t reshape your body. He emphasizes strength training as the best way to transform your body and rev-up your metabolism.

He explains that looking good isn’t a number on a scale. It is a product of our body composition, our ratio of muscle to fat. The best way to improve our body composition is a combination of strength training and cardio training, with an emphasis on strength training.

#3 The program sponsors a fitness competition that creates a sense of urgency

“Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Jim Rohn.

To help people cross the Abyss, EAS sports and performance nutrition sponsors the Body for Life competition. In my book, it is one of the three body transformation contests I recommend people participate in to create the necessary sense of urgency around their goals. If you are like me, you had always gotten in your best condition when you had an event or competition you were preparing for. A goal needs to have a deadline. A deadline helps create a sense of urgency. Deadlines help establish priorities and prevent procrastination.

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#4 The program is simple and effective, with an emphasis on effort and progress.

“Focus on progress, not perfection.” Bill Phillips

Some have criticized the program because of its simplicity, but I feel that it is one of its greatest strengths. While planning missions in the military I was taught to keep our plans as simple as possible. We were taught the acronym KISS, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Simple plans are easier to execute. Complexity is the enemy of execution.

It isn’t the complexity of your program that produces results. Complexity is no substitute for effort. Many people endlessly search for better workout programs with the belief that it will help them achieve better results.

Their time and effort would better be spent pouring more effort into setting new personal recordsfollowing a simple program, like the Body for Life program, or my program, which you can download Free.

The training logs help you track your food intake and workout performance.The program emphasizes setting new personal records, which he calls “High Point” training. Strength training isn’t an endurance sport. Your goal is to get stronger. Getting stronger is the foundation of progressive overload.

The cardio training emphasizes intensity over duration. The HITT cardio training sessions are relatively short, 20-minutes, with a few one minute’s sprints. This type of training has been proven highly effective at promoting fat loss as well as building cardiorespiratory capacity.

“FOOD is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug in America, and EXERCISE is the most potent yet underutilized antidepressant.”  Bill Phillips

The program’s diet is also very simple. Instead of counting calories, you count portions. This is a great approach for people that hate to count calories. When he wrote his book, we didn’t have smartphones, with Apps like MyFitnessPal, which make food logging a lot easier so I can not fault him for this approach.

The program uses simple rules of thumb to determine portion sizes; a portion of protein is roughly the size of your palm, and a portion of carbohydrates is what will fit in your cupped hand. Portion control is very effective for people that are overweight or for people on a maintenance diet, but I recommend people who want to take all the guesswork out of achieving a strong lean body log their food. Learn more, If You Aren’t Logging Your Food You’re Flying Blind.

#5      The program provides all the tools you’ll need to monitor your consistency and progress.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do. There is a world of difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.” Bill Phillips

The program provides all the tools you’ll need to set goals and track your progress. These tools are missing from most programs. The Body for Life provides these tools FREE through their website like we do on ours.

“What gets measured gets managed.If you want it, measure it. If you can’t measure it, forget it.” Peter Drucker

 Q15

Reading a great self-improvement book will NOT change your life. Consistently applying its principles WILL change your life. These tools help to bridge the gap, “cross the abyss,” between knowledge and action. Tracking our consistency will make us more consistent. Monitoring an activity increases our awareness of it, and modifies our behavior. Awareness is the beginning of transformation.

Images below contain hyperlinks.

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“Most people are in favor of the change, as long as they can continue to do things the same as they always have.” Bill Phillips

Change your habits, change your life! 

Learn more Why Creating a Sense of Urgency is so Important

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I encourage you to visit his website, https://www.transformation.com/.

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Book Available on AMAZON [Paperback, Kindle & Audible Audiobook]

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  #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #bodyforlife #EAS #BillPhillips

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The Habit: Week-11 (Develop a Few Guiding Mantras)

Don’t follow, lead.
Don’t copy, create.
Don’t start, finish.
Don’t sit still, move.
Don’t fit in, stand out.
Don’t sit quietly, speak up.
Seth Godin

This week’s challenge is to jot down a few powerful mantras and read them each morning. When I say, “mantra,” I am referring to a statement or slogan repeated frequently to help us make better decisions.

If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Zig Ziglar

Mantras can help us to navigate our lives; like navigational beacons that help keep us on course. They help to guide our everyday actions like written goals do, so we don’t get lost in the world wind of daily distractions.

Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. Warren Buffet

Adopting a mantra and repeating it to ourselves throughout the day can help us make better choices. An effective mantra will guide our actions when we are confronted with an unexpected situation that is tempting us to stray from the path. They remind us of our broader intent.

Effective organizations ensure that everyone knows the intent of the CEO so they can make decisions that support the overarching goal of the organization. Southwest Airlines’ intent was once to be the lowest cost airline. Therefore, any decision that would have added to their operational cost was not in line with the CEO’s intent.

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The military developed the concept of a commander’s intent to empower subordinate leaders and guide their initiative. The commander’s intent describes the desired end state of a successful mission. For example, a company commander’s intent might be to secure Hill 81 by destroying or forcing the withdrawal of all enemy forces.

Few plans survive contact with the enemy, but armed with the commander’s intent; all the soldiers can take actions in the absence of orders. Each soldier is empowered to improvise, adapt, and take actions that will result in securing Hill 81 by destroying or forcing the withdrawal of all enemy forces.

Great sources of mantras are leadership lectures, self-improvement seminars, motivational speeches, and books. Here are some examples.

Self-improvement Mantras:

  • Don’t be lazy about learning. Jim Rohn
  • Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up like compound interest. Warren Buffett
  • We become what we repeatedly do. Aristotle
  • For things to get better, we must get better.
  • If you don’t have the success you desire, it is because you aren’t the person you need to be, YET.
  • Consistency is more important than intensity.
  • Today I will do, so tomorrow I will become.
  • Hard work always pays.
  • Success must be earned daily.
  • Do not think about it, be about it.
  • Success requires doing it; whether you feel like it or not.
  • You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.
  • If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Zig Ziglar
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky
  • If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. Thomas Jefferson
  • Nothing will work unless you do. Maya Angelou

Leadership Mantras:

  • Leadership is a privilege, not a right, and I must earn it in the arena of action. Mark Divine
  • The best leadership tool you have is your own example. John Wooden
  • A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. John C. Maxwell
  • I will seek to improve myself, my team, and the world every day. Mark Divine
  • Be the leader you would follow.
  • Exude the traits and behaviors you want in your followers.

Fitness Mantras:

  • Just do it. Nike
  • Embrace the suck.
  • Set small goals and build upon them.
  • No growth without resistance.
  • Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate.
  • No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.
  • Create healthy habits, not restrictions.
  • You cannot outrun a bad diet.
  • Strive for progress, not perfection.
  • Do better today, be better tomorrow.
  • You don’t have to go fast. You just have to go.

Success Mantras:

  • Dream big. Start small. Act NOW! Robin Sharma
  • It is not over until I win. Les Brown
  • The old ways will not open new doors.
  • The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. Thomas A. Edison
  • The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. Chinese proverb
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit. Aristotle
  • Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Oprah Winfrey
  • Don’t wish for it, work for it.

Financial Mantras:

  • Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. Warren Buffet
  • If you want to be rich, you need to create multiple income streams. Bo Sanchez
  • If you buy things you don’t need, soon you will have to sell things you need. Warren Buffet
  • Building wealth is a marathon. Not a sprint. Discipline is the key ingredient. Dave Ramsey
  • The Stock Market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient. Warren Buffett
  • If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die. Warren Buffet

I begin each morning reviewing my journal for 10 to 15-minutes. I read my gratitude list, my goals, and a series of inspirational mantras. When our minds are left to their own devices, they focus on lack, which leads to negative feelings.

Better gratitude, better attitude.

My gratitude list helps remind me of all my blessings. A spirit of gratitude chases away negative feelings like anger, frustration, and depression. Gratitude is the light that chases away the darkness of these negative feelings. Gratitude helps us to connect with our higher self.

My list of goals and mantras help to guide my daily decisions and actions. They allow me to reconnect with my values and priorities. The goals provide direction, and the mantras provide guidance. Both help us to establish priorities based on the life we want to create for ourselves, instead of being a slave to the demands of others. Most people are either pursuing their dreams or helping someone else pursue theirs.

blank desk blotter.jpgBesides writing my mantras in my journal, I use a blank desk blotter at work. It is great for capturing notes and brainstorming. I often write a few of my most important mantras in the upper corners of the blotter as a constant reminder of my values.

Until next week, good luck!

First we do, then we become. 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 take action. 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 #mantra

 

WHY WE CANNOT RELY ON DISCIPLINE OR MOTIVATION ALONE

We all need motivation and discipline in our lives because we are creatures of both emotion and logic. The more disciplined we behave, the more rationally we behave. If we were all completely logic driven creatures, everyone would be disciplined in all areas of life. We know that isn’t the case. Even the most successful people have areas of their life where they lack discipline. They are successful in the areas where they cultivated discipline, and failures in the areas they became slaves to their emotions.

We are both logical and emotional, but our actions are fueled more by our emotions. That is why we need to keep our emotional tanks full of daily doses of motivation. If our emotional tank is empty, it doesn’t matter how logical our goal is. If you have big dreams, but you aren’t obsessed with their achievement. If your necessity level isn’t sufficient, you’ll fail to do what is required.l

It is important we follow a consistent, disciplined approach to achieving our goal, but if our reasons aren’t strong enough, our excuses will be. Motivation is fleeting, and discipline is hard to sustain, but habits aren’t. People don’t act in a disciplined manner because they are disciplined; they act in a disciplined manner to become disciplined.

We don’t do because we are, we are because we do. We become, what we habitually do. Discipline is a habit, not a personality trait. Anyone can become disciplined because we can all change our behavior. That is mankind’s greatest gift; the gift to become what we wish to become. It is never too late to become the person you always wanted to be. Old habits are more difficult to break, but they can be broken, replaced with new ones.

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A useful analogy for a person with a goal is a guided missile. The target in this analogy is our goal. The guidance system locates the target in its environment and locks on. It stays focused on the target until it strikes the target. The target can move, but the missile will make course corrections because it is fixed on the target; not a specific path. To propel the rocket, it needs sufficient fuel. The further the target is, the more fuel it will need, the longer the missile will have to stay focused on the target, and the more course corrections it will have to make.

In this analogy, the guidance computer is the logic driven part of our brain. The course corrections are the strategies we use to keep us heading toward our goal. When pursuing a goal, it is important to maintain flexibility in our approach as conditions change or we learn new information, but our goal must be fixed. We want to be persistent in our pursuit, not dogmatic in our approach.

Having a goal and staying focused on that goal is critical. The bigger the goal, the longer we must stay focused on it; the more fuel we will need to sustain the long journey. The fuel is our emotional necessity. The bigger our goal, the stronger the emotional commitment needs to be. A simple recipe for success is to set a goal, identify what it requires of us, develop a plan, and generate enough emotional commitment to do what is required.

Learn more, Discipline & Procrastination are Habits, NOT Personality Traits

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Printed Book Cover (09.08.17)

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  #GetHealthy #HealthyLife #Fitness #FitnessAddict #Nutrition #FitQuote #GetFit #NoExcuses #TrainHard #GetStrong #WeightTraining #Workout #Motivation #Positive #Inspiration #Habit #Happiness #YouCanDoIt #Success #BodyTransformation #FitGirl #FitFam

 

Attitude & The story of Three Bricklayers

Our attitude affects everything. It effects when we get up each morning, our work ethic, our dedication, our energy levels, our smile, our handshake, and our results. It is easy to say have a good attitude, but how do you improve your attitude both for yourself and the people you lead.

The first step to improving your attitude is to become more grateful for what you already have. See my blog post. THE HABIT: Week-1 (Gratitude).

The next step is to find meaning in what you do. The more meaning you find in your work, the better your attitude will be. The story of Three Bricklayers building a church demonstrates the importance of finding meaning in what you do. All three men were doing the same work, but when they were asked what they were doing, the first bricklayer replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The second bricklayer said, “I am feeding my family.” The third bricklayer said, “I’m building the house of God.” Which one do you think took the most pride in his work?

Too many managers only think of monetary rewards to motivate people when they could motivate their employees by teaching them to find meaning in what they do. When people see how their work is making a difference to the company or to their community, it will motivate them to take more pride in what they do. Unless you are financially independent, you work to earn a salary, but I hope that isn’t the only reason you do what you do.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy.He held a staff meeting and explained the role passion would play in revitalizing the brand.

“Apple is not about making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. Apple is about something more. Its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs prized passion over all other personality traits. It was the characteristic he valued most in employees.[i] He cultivated it. He ensured everyone understood they weren’t creating products, they were changing the world. Who wouldn’t want to shape the world?

He believed that smart, passionate employees don’t need to be managed. Their passion, intelligence, and drive will guide their actions; they simply needed to understand the company’s vision.

If we want to improve the attitude of those that we lead, we must lead with passion and ensure our team understands how our work adds value. It is simple to do, but how many managers do it. Perhaps they assume everyone understands how their work plays into the company’s mission. In my experience assumption is the mother of misunderstanding. If you want your people to be inspired, you must communicate your vision with passion.

Poor attitude, poor results. Great Attitude, great results. Improve your attitude, improve your life. Change your habits, change your life! 

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Printed Book Cover (09.08.17)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

[i] Betsy Mikel, 1 Personality Trait Steve Jobs Always Looked for When Hiring for Apple, inc.com

Steve Jobs prized passion over all other personality traits. It was the characteristic he valued most in employees. He cultivated it. He ensured everyone understood they weren’t creating products, they were changing the world. Who wouldn’t want to shape the world? Steve Jobs prized passion over all other personality traits. It was the characteristic he valued most in employees. He cultivated it. He ensured everyone understood they weren’t creating products, they were changing the world. Who wouldn’t want to shape the world?

PAIN & PLEASURE -USE THEM OR THEY WILL USE YOU

“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In words a man may pretend to abjure their empire: but in reality, he will remain subject to it all the while.” Jeremy Bentham

At the most fundamental level, PAIN and PLEASURE are the two forces that motivate us to do anything. Every motive can be boiled down to an effort to avoid pain or seek pleasure. Our desire to avoid pain is powerful, even more, powerful than our desire to seek pleasure because it is more closely linked to our survival.

From a survival perspective, avoiding pain is a higher priority than seeking pleasure. Whenever we experience pain, our mind immediately analyzes the situation and determines the cause of the pain and creates a linkage; the same is true for pleasure. When we experience pleasure, our mind will determine the source and associate it with the pleasure it produced.

Our mind is constantly making linkages of pleasure and pain to our actions. These linkages can occur at the conscious or the subconscious level of thought. What separates us from animals is our ability to exert control over these linkages. Our success in life is dependent on how often we exert control over these linkages.

When we make linkages that go beyond our instincts to do what is immediately gratifying, we make better decisions. Over time these better decisions become habits which produce better results. Success is the accumulation of small decisions made correctly over time. We are successful in those areas of our life that we create productive routines. Our areas of weakness are where bad habits were permitted to take root. Our ratio of good habits to bad habits ultimately determines the quality of our life.

Our minds are constantly linking our behavior with either pleasure or pain, with or without your conscious input. This is critical to understand. Awareness is the beginning of transformation. Most people are unaware that this is occurring, which is why these linkages are so often made at the subconscious level. If we understand these linkages are constantly being formed, we can begin to exert our control over them; if we don’t, bad habits will form. In the absence of light, there is darkness. In the absence of diligence, is neglect. Now you know it is occurring, but knowing is not enough.

We must exert our will over these linkages. We must equate massive PAIN with poor decisions and massive PLEASURE with good decisions. Ask yourself, “what is the behavior costing you?” The more pain you can associate with the behavior, the sooner you will quit the behavior. The association of pain with the bad behavior will help you to stop doing it, while the pleasure you associate with the new behavior will help you sustain it.

Find pleasure in the new behavior. This is crucial to permanent change. Imagine your desired outcome and link it to the new habit. This linkage of pleasure is real, but it is being made at a higher level than our primitive instincts to equate pleasure to things that produce immediate gratification. Ask yourself, “how will my life be better if I did this every day?” The stronger your association, the better; the easier it will be to stay motivated. The stronger your desire to do it.

When we do something that we know is good for us, we need to congratulate ourselves for taking positive action and linking it to achieving our goals. Congratulating ourselves for a job well done; celebrating each small victory will give us a sense of accomplishment. It will cause us to link the activity to the pleasure it gives us. It releases dopamine, which motivates us to pursue our goals and is closely linked to long-term happiness.

Animals act out of instinct, but as human beings, we can choose our actions based on our ideals. When we make decisions based on our ideals, our ideals become in-line with our values. Ideals reside in our head, they are our concept of what is perfect. Our values are our standards of behavior; based on our decisions. Values can be observed and evaluated by others. It is easy for us to say we want to get promoted, but if we aren’t showing up early, working hard, and getting better at our profession every day, our values are not aligned with our ideals. Values have nothing to do with what we say. Values have everything to do with our actions. We cannot fake our values. We can’t fake showing up. We can’t fake doing the work. We cannot fake getting better.

The ability to override our instincts in pursuit of an ideal is what separates us from other creatures. We are able to project and link our behaviors with the long-term results they will produce. For example, the student that links studying hard each day to the pleasure of becoming smarter, earning higher grades, getting into a good college and eventually pursuing a fulfilling career will form the habit of studying hard every day. The student that doesn’t make these linkages will not form the habit of studying hard. They will only link studying with the discomfort involved with developing their mind. They will gravitate to activities that produce instant gratification, like playing video games.

Show me your schedule, and I will tell you what your values are. We beat ourselves up when our ideals and values aren’t in alignment, as well we should. We have neglected to live up to our ideals. We are not operating up to our potential as human beings. Getting better is a never-ending struggle. When we give up the battle, we are forever lost. No one is perfect, but we should strive for perfection if we want to be successful.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi

The teams Vince Lombardi coached achieved extraordinary success. If we want to be successful, we should become our own life coach. Praise yourself each time you live up to your ideal. Promise yourself that you will work out every day for a month, even if it is just taking a 10-minute walk; then reward yourself for hitting your goal. What gets rewarded gets repeated. We must motivate ourselves like a good coach or business leader would her team.

A great coach knows when their team is giving their best effort and when it is not.  When a coach knows that their team isn’t performing to the best of its ability he lets them know that it is unacceptable. When a coach knows his players are doing their best, but not experiencing success, they tend to encourage more and criticize less. We should adopt the same mentality. We know our capabilities. We know when we are giving our best effort and when we aren’t. If we are getting better, we should recognize that we are improving. When we start repeating the same mistakes, we need to make the behavior painful. We need to put it on ourselves that this isn’t who we are; this behavior is unacceptable.

When we fall short of our ideal, we need to chastise ourselves for not giving our best effort; for letting our willpower lapse, but we should do it like a coach and not like our worst enemy. Say, “I am disappointed in me, I can do better. I will do better; starting now. Tomorrow is a new opportunity to do better and I will. I am not perfect, but I am getting better. Each day I win, I am one step closer to becoming the hero of my life. Tomorrow I will take another step.” The key is to never give up. There is a victory in the struggle. As human beings, perfection is forever out of reach, but improvement is always within our grasp. Keep striving for perfection, and you will certainly improve.

The higher our standards are, the happier we will be because we are living up to our ideals. The more our values match-up to our ideals the better we feel about ourselves. Nothing makes us happier than progress. For those that are hard on themselves, life becomes easy. We shouldn’t wish it were easier, we should wish we were better. The harder the challenge, the sweeter the reward. The best reward for achieving our goal isn’t the accomplishment itself, but the person we are forced to become in the process. Success is always intentional because getting better; becoming the person that success requires is always a result of consistent, deliberate practice that pushes the limits of our capabilities.

When linkages of pleasure and pain are made at the subconscious level, the linkages focus on the immediate pain or pleasure, the activity produces. This is the low-level thinking that allows bad habits to form. Every bad habit provides immediate gratification. If we allow this linkage to form unconsciously, without thinking, pain and pleasure become our masters. We are operating at the level of our instincts and not our ideals.

When we neglect to exert conscious control over these associations, we become a slave to pain and pleasure. Our feelings control us. We are operating at the lowest level of our existence. We are allowing our primitive programming to control us, unfettered by higher-level consciousness. Allowing these linkages to form mindlessly, is a recipe for disaster. This is how we form bad habits; through neglect.

Good habits are never formed by accident. They are always intentional. Good habits require motivation and discipline to form. We must override our minds primitive programming which results in poor decisions based on immediate pleasure and comfort. The more pain we can associate with poor decisions and the more pleasure we can link to good decisions, the easier the process will become.

In time, the good decisions will produce good results. These positive results will encourage us to keep making good decisions. Nothing makes us feel better than making progress and living up to our ideals. In time the good decisions become good habits. Good habits require much less effort to sustain than to start. We thrive on habits and routines because our minds are not forced to make decisions on the conscious level. Our conscious mind fatigues very quickly when we force it to make too many decisions at the conscious level. Habits allow our minds to make decisions at the subconscious level.

According to Charles Duhigg, author of the New York Times Best Seller, The Power of Habit; 40 to 45% of what we do each day is out of habit.[i] The basal ganglia (primitive areas of the brain) control the performance of repetitive daily activities which frees our conscious mind from making countless decisions each day, which would lead to decision fatigue and mental exhaustion. The great news is that once good habits are formed, the activity will eventually transfer from the conscious to the subconscious level. We only need to exert our willpower long enough for this to occur, approximately two months.

A useful analogy for our day is a field. Our days are filled with routines that represent the crops we plant. We are the farmer. We can plant whatever we want to grow, but if we do nothing, our field will be overrun with weeds. If we want our days to be productive and produce positive outcomes, we must sow the seeds of good habits. Productive habits require care and diligence to grow and flourish. Neglect allows weeds to grow. The longer a habit is allowed to grow, the deeper its roots will become, the harder it will be to uproot it. Even after we plant, we must work to keep our crops from being destroyed by the weeds that will surely grow if we neglect our linkages of pleasure and pain.

Productive habits are formed at the conscious level. After they take root, we perform them like any other habit, but they are always initiated at the conscious level. Good habits like waking up early, working hard, reading, studying, and working out are all formed through diligence. Once these activities become a habit, they don’t require as much motivation and discipline to maintain.

Neglect is no match for diligence. Darkness can only exist in the absence of light. Everyone can remove weeds and plant a harvest. Weeds can only survive when they can grow through neglect. Everyone forms habits and routines. The difference between success and failure is how many of these habits could form through neglect and how many were formed through diligence.

The seed of these habits are the linkages of pleasure and pain with the activity. If we want to operate at the level of our ideal, and not our nature, we must exert our will on these associations. If we want to achieve our potential, we cannot be enslaved by our feelings, we must exert conscious control over these linkages. Use pleasure and pain, don’t let them use you and rob you of your happiness.

Exert your will and break the chains. Longterm happiness stems from taking disciplined action; ignoring our weak feelings to satisfy our cravings for instant gratification. Make linkages based on the long-term results the actions will produce, not the immediate pleasure or discomfort they generate. Better linkages produce better decisions. Better decisions produce better habits. Better habits produce a better life!

Better habits, better life!

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Best wishes and Best Health!

Print Book Cover 09.25.2017

The book contains:

  • 7 Change Strategies for Adopting a Healthy Lifestyle
  • A Flexible Diet Program that Doesn’t Put Any Foods Off-limit, including Alcohol
  • 20-Week Workout Log with Progress Assessments (Downloadable PDF)
  • 3 Strategies for Resetting your Body Weight Setpointto Keep the Weight Off
  • A Nutrition and Training Program Based on Science, not Bro Science.

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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Book Introduction

[i]Charles, Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Random House Trade Paperbacks (January 7, 2014).