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The Secret to Looking and Feeling Great Automatically: You Are Not Alone

If it's true, "We're here to help others," what exactly are the others here for? Shouldn't they be here for us; to help us?

If all those people sharing our lives don't seem to be helping, if all those people we encounter on the highways and byways, in the hustle and bustle of life seem more of a hindrance than a help, maybe it's time to consider we're just not seeing the big picture, we aren't grasping the entire truth.

Maybe they aren't the problem. Maybe our perspective is the problem.

It takes great maturity and wisdom to understand that all things, events, encounters, circumstances and people are helpful.

We are not traveling alone. We rely on other people and other people rely on us. Each individual has strengths and weaknesses, special gifts and talents. We are stronger, more intelligent, and more capable together than we can possibly be alone. We encourage each other, inspire each other, and support each other. Life is about relationships.

We are meant to operate in a setting where we are connected, safe and secure, confident and capable, excited and optimistic. We are meant to be performing at an extremely high level, but upon encountering the weight and resistance of the environment we often lose our way. We fumble around in the dark and allow fear in. Fear begins to get the upper hand and we settle. We determine just getting by is good enough. Anything else isn't worth the effort; isn't worth the risk.

Other people encourage and inspire us not to succumb. All the opportunities for achievement and success come by way of other people; no exceptions.

We secure success and happiness by cooperating and collaborating with other people. Of course the most common means of impeding our own progress and of potentially undermining ourselves is by way of the people around us; our social network. We are influenced, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, by the people in our lives, from the very beginning. The people around us influence who we become.

Are you surrounded by confident, positive people; people who see opportunity, are willing to grow, and are going somewhere?

Healthy people, fit people, balanced and centered people deliberately associate with and surround themselves with positive, uplifting, capable people. Healthy and fit people build, nurture, sustain and maintain loving supportive relationships.

A word of caution. Before you start judging people and ending relationships consider this. What we see in other people is often a reflection of ourselves. All people, all circumstances, all events are helpful. Change is an inside job. So to change the world out there, we must change ourselves.

How do you routinely present yourself to people you might see as negative? The problem may not necessarily be them.

Do you have a positive, life-enhancing support network? If not, it's time to establish a relationship-building habit.

Surround yourself with and routinely associate with positive, growth-minded, and uplifting people. The right support network of people will push and challenge you. Respond to the challenge. Get out of your comfort zone, start meeting new people, begin building and nurturing your growth network. You will not regret that choice.

This is not about the number of people on your team. It's about the quality of the people and the bonds of trust and respect you forge.

Altering the course of relationships – building positive relationships and ending negative relationships – may prove to be the most difficult component of this entire health and fitness habits journey. But nothing is going to prove to be more rewarding.

Make connecting with and interacting with positive, growth-minded people a habit. You will be better for it.

You've been listening to this program through seven sessions now. Hopefully you've even been implementing the steps in the habit-changing process.

What are you hoping to achieve?

Are you worried about weight? Obsessed with clothing size? Embarrassed by the way you think you look?

Does it hurt to move? Does climbing a flight of stairs make your heart race?

Weight or size or appearance isn't important. Focus on what matters: how you feel.

If you feel good, weight, size and appearance are just a detail, a detail taken care of for you automatically. How you feel is your gage for life. How you feel is an indicator for whether or not you are headed in the right direction.

How you feel tells you whether you are taking care of body. If you feel energetic and vitally alive you are on the right track. If you feel bad you're on the wrong track.

What matters? How you feel.

We didn't begin this program setting goals. We haven't mentioned weighing and measuring and testing ourselves to determine weight loss of fitness goals. We are what we repeatedly do. Health and fitness are the result of habits.

But by nature we are "goal setters". We establish goals automatically. Feel hungry; we grab food. Feel tired; we rest. We set and achieve goals automatically. Sometime consciously; frequently unconsciously. But often we don't set the right goals.

The right nutrition goals are:

Eliminate anything harmful; and provide your body with optimum fuel. You'll know if you're heading in the right direction by how you feel.

If however, you are motivated by tangible goals, begin with a self-assessment. Determine where you are and then use this record to motivate your habits change your journey.

If you want, you can assess and record: Height, Weight, Body Composition, Resting Heart Rate, Blood Pressure; measurements such as waste, hips, thighs, chest and so on. You can record clothing sizes and or run blood and urine tests to determine such things as fasting glucose and cholesterol levels, iron and vitamin D status, and sugar, ketones, and urine specific gravity.

Conduct a fitness test to measure cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. Do your research and settle on fitness measures best conforming to your fitness goals.

This self-assessment is your starting point. Your end state or goal is how you feel. Goals only work when you do. Set goals and take action. Focus only on what you are becoming; not what you want to change. In other words to be leaner and stronger, don't focus on losing weight; instead envision yourself as sleek and lean and strong.

Whether jumping rope, dancing, balancing on mechanical surfboards, riding mechanical bulls, dangling from suspension systems, or climbing walls and conquering obstacles; every system of play offers benefits.

Playing 30 minutes a day you will be more fit than most, but to optimize your fitness, work smarter for those 30 minutes. Intensity is the critical component of the fitness formula; not time. To get big results in less time; increase the intensity.

You may have been wondering about traditional cardio; running, biking, swimming or using an elliptical machine. Long bouts of cardio are not the optimum way to go. A more natural and effective cardiovascular form of play is to move your entire body under the added resistance of weight.

To minimize the time you devote to active play work harder. Whole-body, high-intensity, low-impact activities are the play activities of choice. High-intensity, whole-body play takes advantage of your body's natural systems. Lower intensity activities rarely meet the physiological threshold to trigger the ideal hormonal response. Whole-body, high-intensity play triggers the flow of repair, rejuvenation and growth hormones to improve health and fitness.

A high-intensity, high-impact example would be Plyometrics or jump training. Conditioning yourself to take on plyometrics is a long-term goal however. Don't start there.

Another option to consider: combat type training programs.

These range from traditional martial arts to hybrid exercise varieties; some high impact, some low impact. Traditional martial arts incorporate mind, body, and spirit into a habits formation process.

As with yoga and pilates, look around. Try some things. Test some things.

Play every day.

Make one play session per week more intense by incorporating a whole-body, high-intensity, low impact activity. Listen to your body. Don't overdo it. Proper technique and appropriate rest and recuperation are essential.

Keep exploring your limits.

We're now up to step seven in the habits chance process: it's time to enlist some support. Don't go it alone.

We're off to our final session, Lesson 8; where we bring this all home with: you know what to do.

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Written by

Scott F. Paradis