I'll bet each of us spend most of our days doing the exact same thing - sitting. We sit to commute. We sit at our desks. We sit to relax at the end of the day. And it's literally killing us. Study after study has documented the results, and more time at the gym probably won't help either. Thankfully, there are some simple things you can do.
I'll get right to the point. For one reader, I'll buy your groceries for the month of October - up to $800. There's no catches, fine print, or series of hoops to jump through. For four weeks, I'll reimburse your grocery receipts up to $200. I'll also provide personalized meal plans and weekly coaching. Here's the deal: Too many of us are sick and unhealthy, and it breaks my heart. Just over three years ago, I was there too. My clothes were always too small. I had headaches every afternoon. My digestive system was a mess. Nearly every day, I took some sort of pill to feel better. I never had enough energy to do the things I wanted. Today, I know it doesn't have to be that way - for me or for you.
Let’s start with a phone call that changed my life. “Kendra, I just want to thank you,” she began. “I was so anxious when you had your retreat here in December and wanted those special recipes. I had no idea how to cook them, but we’ve been eating that way ever since, and it’s literally saved my life.” I had no idea how to respond to that. She kept going, “I just got back from my doctor’s office, and he was downright giddy. He shook my hand and told me that he’d never seen results like this before.” The caller was my Mom’s best friend, Vickie. Three months had passed since I’d hosted a planning retreat at her bed and breakfast. I’d asked her to prepare specific recipes for the group. I knew she was amazing in the kitchen, and it never occurred to me that this would be stressful for her. I never saw her sweat, and every dish she prepared was as delicious as I’d imagined. But no one else seemed to take particular interest in their selection, and I’d almost forgotten about our experiment. She hadn’t. Vickie and her husband Marshall have been eating “paleo” ever since. In just a few months, she’d lost over 20 pounds. That wasn’t even the best part.
Most of us have a complicated relationship with sleep, and our cultural norms don't help either. It's common practice to share with friends and coworkers about how little sleep we can function on. Often, we wear the martyr badge proudly, sharing the sacrifice we're making in support of a nobler goal. Would we do the same if we'd been out drinking? Probably not. But the effects are nearly identical and sometimes worse. That's right. If you've had less than four hours sleep for a few nights in a row, you might as well be drunk. You're functionally intoxicated. Ouch. Let's set our beer goggles aside for a bit and focus on a few other myths.
Do you believe that you were put on this earth for a reason? I do. I believe that if you’re alive to read this, you still have a mission to accomplish. You may not realize it, but you have a light to shine. Without it, someone else lives in the dark. But many of us aren’t shining very brightly. Stress and health problems dominate our lives. Overflowing inboxes and paperwork paralyze us. Incessant entertainment crowds out any original thoughts. A plethora of surface relationships prevent us from having deep, meaningful ones. We’ve dimmed our lights because we can’t overcome the challenges of modern life. We barely have enough energy to get ourselves through another day, much less empower someone else. It doesn’t have to be that way.
On Monday, June 25, I left Tool, Texas, at a few minutes before 6:00am. I arrived at my office at Port Royal during lunch and kicked off what's shaping up to be the most productive 10-day stretch of my working life. I would have never predicted it, and I didn't even realize it until I started preparing for my next Weekly Review. In fact, my previous experiences would have led me to think just the opposite: a period of burnout or sickness was likely. It's been intense on just about every front, and I've had very little rest. But just the opposite happened. And I think I know why.
It's really that simple. That's because the overwhelming majority of actions we take every day are based on our habits.If you're like me, that thought sounds scary at first. But it can also be awesome. Because you can pick and choose your habits. You can work out every day. You can eat healthy. You can earn more. You can spend more time with your family. You can have stronger faith. The great news is that you only have to use your willpower at first. Then, you can let your habits take over, and you'll take those same actions automatically. It works. Like magic, only for real. And you can see the proof for yourself.
Today's my 33rd birthday, and I've decided to celebrate it. I was terrified of my 30's, dreading every birthday for months ahead. My Nana had breast cancer at 32, and my Mom collapsed at 35 with what was eventually diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. I had let each of those creep inside my head. Then, a few months ago, a new realization hit me. They're both doing fantastic today, so they'd both defeated whatever health curse I was fearing. Perhaps that strength was the legacy I should focus on. This last year has been a lot like that, so I wanted to share 14 big things I've learned from my 33 years of life.
Lately, I've been asking my tribe what they want me to write about. It started selfishly, knowing that I would be more likely to accomplish my goal of writing if I had a topic and at least an audience of one. What I didn't expect is that their requests would match so closely with what I'm passionate about. Two weeks ago, a friend asked how for suggestions on how to workout every day. I really enjoyed sharing the strategy I use and how you can easily apply it so that it works every time. Last night, another friend asked how I stay motivated in general. As he put it, "I seem to be able to do things other people won't do." My answer may surprise you.
Wow. Even that title is intimidating. But this is probably the question I get asked most often. First, let's break it down. You only have to "make yourself workout" until it's a habit. After that, your habit takes over and you just have to keep the train on the tracks. Much easier to do. So, the focus needs to be on step one. Habits have three components: the cue, the routine, and the reward. I attack all three.