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The Secret to Looking and Feeling Great Automatically: Believe Then See

See it and then you'll believe it. Isn't that the way it typically works?

I will consider myself fit and healthy, lean and strong, skilled and agile, vibrant and vitally alive once I look that way, feel that way, perform that way, act that way. I will believe I'm fit and healthy only once I see it.

Too often we wait and watch and hope and pray that the right circumstances come along and that the stars align to make us how we wish to be. We watch and wait and hope and pray, and what happens? We grow older, heavier, and we move less. Instead of expanding our boundaries and opportunities, life closes in.

It's time to stop wanting to be happy, healthy, and fit. It's time to just be.

What do you believe in? Do you believe in destiny? The system? Yourself?

Belief is a compound word with two parts: "be" and "lief". What we "believe" is what we "live by".

Beliefs drive our actions; how we live our lives; how we think and how we act and react. More than that, we interpret life through our beliefs.

Our core beliefs set our minds – our mindset. Core beliefs are the foundation of our health and fitness. Core beliefs are your most personal and powerful beliefs about this world, yourself, and your place in this world; these beliefs are your basic programming, your operating paradigm, your default approach to life.

Your health, fitness, vitality, even your wealth, relationships, and success in life all are a matter of what you believe. Get your beliefs right.

Core beliefs are comprised of three elements:

One: Your fundamental belief about this world – is it dangerous or safe and welcoming?

Two: Beliefs about yourself – are you connected and capable or not?

And three: What you believe about your purpose – do you have a good reason for being?

Taken together, what you believe about this world, yourself, and your place in this world, constitute your core beliefs.

Beliefs manifest in two ways; through feelings, you feel and through circumstances you experience. Changing your beliefs change your experience.

It's not "see it and then believe it." It's "believe it then see it!"

If life isn't the way you want it to be change your beliefs. Envision yourself as a whole, healthy, fit, and vibrant. Create the you, you aspire to in your mind. Hold onto that vision; it will come into focus. Once it's in focus, if you hold onto it, it will come into reality.

Your beliefs determine the reality you experience. The purpose of life is to explore and experience, learn and grow, create, and contribute to express more life. What you really and truly believe about yourself, this world, and your place in this world determines how much life you express. Stop waiting to see. Believe.

You have much to do in life. Choices are virtually unlimited but time is not. Stop doing things that are harmful: stop the madness.

Every choice comes with an opportunity cost. When we commit to one option we close the door on others. Too often we choose immediate gratification and forfeit long-term benefits.

No matter what we choose we only have one direction to go and that is forward.

Don't worry about mistakes or past choices. Life is always and forever renewing. Each day is a new opportunity. Let go of the past. Let go of regrets and embrace a new you.

The N of MNOP Habits represents nutrition.

"Conventional wisdom" tells us weight gain is the result of a chronic calorie imbalance. We gain weight because we eat too much. Eating too much is believed to be the cause of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a legion of other acute and chronic maladies.

Sure, many people eat too much and for the wrong reasons. But calories; energy units of food; are not why we are fat.

It's not how many calories we eat; it's what we are eating that is making us fat.

The primary reason so many people are overweight is that their body chemistry is out of whack. Because of the inputs we provide, our bodies' automatic systems are malfunctioning. Hormones have gone a-rye. Bodies are overwhelmed by harmful inputs muddling up the system. A mix of toxics push bodies out of balance.

Smoking, drinking, doing drugs, eating the wrong foods, and succumbing to the adverse effects of stress throw off the auto-pilot. Bad nutrition habits and bad lifestyle choices punish our bodies and we pay the price in how we look and feel.

Another related cause of weight gain is that, again by what we consume, we unknowingly kill off components of that collaborative community we must sustain to enjoy health and fitness: our microbiome.

Nearly 70% percent of our immune system originates from and operates in our digestive tract. Poor nutrition habits, instead of nurturing the community of good bacteria and other organisms helping us live and thrive kills them off. Once we upset the balance of healthy organisms in our digestive tract we throw our entire system into disarray.

To maintain wellbeing, strip away what's harmful, eliminate toxins and stressors, and let your body do what it does naturally; automatically.

Don't stress over every detail; take care of the little things which ultimately drive the big things. When we get the little things right; when we develop the right habits; the big things quite naturally take care of themselves.

One of those little things to build and sustain health and fitness is play. Get out and play every day.

We've established: we must move every day; we emphasized the importance of warming up, cooling down and stretching. Now let's consider the core of strength, endurance, and flexibility what holds it, you, all together. It's all about the core.

Your core, from chest to pelvis, houses vital organs and systems, and contains the skeletal structure, muscles and joints allowing your magnificent body to twist and turn, bend and extend. Your core stabilizes and supports movement; maintains your posture; ensures balance and stability and allows you to move fluidly. Almost everything you do, all movement, involves your core. Strengthening and developing your core is essential.

We cover bodyweight and resistance activities in later sessions; for now let's look at three tools or techniques to consider incorporating into your daily play routine.

Have you heard of kettlebells?

A good kettlebell routine works your cardiovascular system, and improves muscular strength, endurance and flexibility; all while developing your core. Kettlebells come in all sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Explore the kettlebell, learn the basic moves and give kettlebell training a try.

The second tool to consider is the medicine ball. A medicine ball is just a weighted ball.

As with all exercises, proper form is essential for avoiding injury and maximizing your efforts. You can perform a wide variety of exercises with a medicine ball alone or with others. Hold it, toss it, manipulate it through multiple planes – you can't leave your core out. Try incorporating a weighted ball in your daily play sessions.

And finally I want to mention: balance and stability are key elements of movement. The kettlebell, medicine balls, and other tools can be used on or to create unstable surfaces. Incorporate unstable surfaces into your play routines. Instability will cause you to rely more deliberately on your core.

A strong core is crucial for overall fitness. A strong core will help reduce or eliminate back pain, sore necks and pulled muscles and is essential to a lifetime of mobility.

Challenge your core every day when you play.

We've come to the end of the third segment of our program.

If you've already compiled your habits inventory I'd like you to rank order habits that you want to change and then select "one" habit to replace.

Only work on changing one habit at a time.

For now, select one habit and then sketch out the habit routine for that habit. In other words, identify the four component parts of the habit cycle: the trigger or cue, the craving or feeling the trigger initiates within you; the action or activity you automatically engage in; and the reward you seek.

The task is to sketch out the habit cycle of the first habit you want to change.

Ultimately you will settle on the action component of that habit cycle – the action is what you are going to change.

Spend some time looking at your habits inventory and thinking about the habit you want to change.

In the next session, we are going to explore the role of attitude in gaining altitude.

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Written by

Scott F. Paradis