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The Secret to Looking and Feeling Great Automatically: How To

I hope you feel like we're making progress.

I think we're making progress. Let's keep going.

The most wonderful, extraordinary and absolutely terrifying thing about life is we are immersed in it. We see, taste, hear, smell, and most of all feel it. We feel life. We feel the adventure good and bad. And we get to move. Life is a "feeling-action" process. We feel and we act. Feelings motivate us, they move us to act. Some people act more and some less. But all of us act. There's no avoiding it. We're riding the wave of life. We've traveled to where we are. And we get to choose where we go next.

Everyone wants to be happy. "Happy" however, is a loaded word. We often attach all kinds of conditions to being "happy". Let's simply define "happy" as: feeling good. We are happy when we feel, deep within our beings, connected, capable, secure and joyful. Happiness doesn't depend on external circumstances or on our environment or situation. Happiness is a state of acceptance and joy; a state we choose.

To be happy you don't have to be at your best emotionally or physically. You don't even have to be healthy. You are meant to be happy. So choose happiness.

Your body is your vehicle and that body comes with an automatic pilot. All you have to do is set the auto-pilot properly. The million dollar question is: How?

How do we adopt the right mindset, nutrition and play habits to properly set our auto-pilot for optimum results?

We all want to jump straight to the "how to". We all want to know how to succeed. How to get rich. How to find love, how to find joy, how to get healthy and fit; how to be happy. We think the "how to" is the answer. The "how to" is not the answer.

The "how to" comes into play, but only down the road. The "how to" matters only after we settle on and determine "why". "Why" is our motivation.

Why do you want to be healthy and fit?

With a powerful enough "why," a powerful enough reason, a powerful enough motivation, you move. A powerful "why" moves you to act in new ways.

Change is a choice; a choice you must want to make. You must want to change. Desire must be greater than the resistance you face. If your desire is strong enough you can overcome any challenge. When you are ready, when you are motivated to change course the "how to" speeds the process along. What's important is "why". Be absolutely clear on "why".

Most of the things we do in life – 69% percent or more – we do habitually; without thinking. We rely on habits most of the time. A habit cycle is composed of four parts:

The stimulus, cue, situation or circumstance; which triggers a feeling, desire or craving; which initiates a routine act or action; which achieves a reward. A habit cycle is automatic, no thinking required.

The habit-changing process consists of eight steps. These eight steps – or "how to" – are only worthwhile if you have a powerful "why". Your motivation – your reason to change – must be stronger than your resistance to change.

So here's the "how to"; the eight-step habits change process:

Step one: determine exactly what habits dominate your life now. With the help of friends complete a habits inventory and assess your current habits.

Step two: prioritize the habits which are not serving you; those you intend to replace.

Step three: identify the habit cycle elements for habits you intend to change. That is sketch out the component parts of each habit: the trigger, the craving, the action routine and the reward.

Step four: select a new action routine to replace the bad habit and test that routine. Create a vision of the new you, focusing specifically on your "why" – your motivation to change.

Step five: make a plan. Develop a specific habit change plan defining the new action routine, identifying a start date, the duration for implementing the new habit, a fallback contingency, and naming specific people you are going to enlist to help and support your efforts.

Step six: run another test. Run through the new habit routine a number of times to see how it feels and adjust your plan as necessary.

Step seven: enlist the support of family, friends and coworkers.

And step eight: execute. Implement the plan and adopt a new powerful, positive habit.

Step by step, habit by habit, create a whole new you.

Let's turn to nutrition for a moment.

Conventional wisdom tells us, in order to lose weight and get fit reduce calories and increase exercise. It's all about diet and exercise. You know that's not the whole story. Dieting and increasing exercise will generate results. But to get enduring results you must establish new, healthy habits.

If a person starves themselves, following the convention wisdom of dieting, once fat starts burning the body is going to pull out all the stops. Metabolism slows, cravings skyrocket and the battle of wills will be joined. The average attempt at dieting lasts about 14 days.

Dieting is typically a battle of wills. We think we can circumvent or override our habits process. We think we will. We won't.

Even successful dieters who lose weight are most often not able to keep the weight off. They typically pack the pounds back on and usually add a little extra to prepare for the next bout with starvation.

Conventional wisdom; diet and exercise, does not go far enough. We must change our eating habits; really our mindset, nutrition and play habits to be healthy and fit.

So just what does that mean nutritionally?

You've heard of all those fad diets like the Cookie, South Beach, Subway, Scarsdale, Beverly Hills or Grapefruit diet. We've got Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Nutrisystems. We've got life-style diets like Kosher or Vegetarian or Vegan, or Low fat or Gluten-free. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

What you do one time or for a short time does not matter nearly as much as what you do most of the time – habitually.

So which diet is the best, which one is right for you?

I don't have a specific answer because everyone is different, accept to say: eat a diet of fresh, whole, natural foods; foods to optimize the functioning of your body; foods to vitalize and energize you; fresh, whole, natural foods.

Once you have the right eating habits your body's automatic pilot takes control and your system will function as well as it possibly can.

Check out these diets: The DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension; Atkins, Mediterranean and Paleo diets. Each has pros and cons but they all focus on nutritionally sound dietary principles emphasizing fresh, whole, natural foods.

Now on to play.

In this OP segment I want to introduce you to two disciplines for the development of mind and body. Yoga and Pilates are both low impact practices emphasizing proper breathing, range of motion, and body control.

Over the years both yoga and Pilates have evolved. Various schools and devotees have focused on aspects of these practices and combined them with other exercises and practices in countless ways. If you were to go to different yoga or Pilates studios you are likely to find different and distinct practices and methods. You'll find much in common, but likely also find distinctive features. Variety is the spice of life. Incorporate what works best for you and discard the rest.

We're not going to concern ourselves with details. I'm just asking for you to consider incorporating yoga or Pilates or yoga and Pilates regularly into your play routines.

While there are differences both are total person programs – mind, body, spirit – emphasizing breathing, flexibility, and toning the entire body using low-impact body weight or resistance movements. You'd be hard-pressed to find more comprehensive fitness systems than either yoga or Pilates.

Look for an instructor, whether for yoga or Pilates, who knows his or her stuff. The right instructor makes all the difference.

If you've been taking action and implementing the steps in our Look and Feel Great program you are at step five of the Habit-Changing Process. It's time to craft a plan.

Consider "why" you want to change. What will the new you look and feel like? Focus on the new you – not what you are seeking to get rid of; focus on what are becoming. Write out all the details of the habits change plan: the action routine, identify a start date, the duration for implementing the new habit, a fallback contingency, and name the specific people you are going to enlist to help and support.

In the next session, we are going to focus on the little things that produce big results.

Catch you in Lesson 6.

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Written by

Scott F. Paradis