Physical Well-Being: Adjustment & Action
As we progress through successive stages, you will begin to take charge of your physical well-being and use it as a tool to boost Ultimate Well-being.
Now we will employ key practices like IF/Then, Habit Stacking, Pomodoro Technique and more.
You are putting in a lot of hard work keeping up with the check-ins and committing to the energy-intensive process of digging into yourself and your patterns. You might have identified areas where you are less than satisfied with the current state, and that’s okay! Once you have found acceptance, the time comes to adjust. Changes in physical well-being habits start with shifts in thoughts and intentions—if you have the sincere desire to change, you must devise a plan by strategizing in your mind how to care for your body.
Your strategies in this phase will include if/then statements and habit-stacking. By now you should have encountered mental stumbling blocks while trying to optimize your physical well-being routine. The next step is coming up with counteractive thoughts to get you over those blocks, if/then statements that we refer to as Jedi Mind Tricks.
Master the Mornings
- You wake up and your mind is racing. Stop it. Don’t dwell.
- The most important focus of this session is to conquer the mornings. Do 2 of the following activities. It will be helpful for the entire program.
- Meditate (5-10)
- Journal (write whatever comes to mind even for 2-3 minutes)
- Exercise: Walk, push-ups, 7-minute app; do 2-3x 20 minute workouts daily.
- Eat, smoothie, fruits. Drink full 12 ounces of water before coffee. Light stomach, light mind etc..
- Do you have a morning mantra-like “thankful to be alive.” I started waking up to the country song “It’s a great day to be alive.” My mood changed fast.
Develop an IF/Then way of thinking. But do this in advance in your journal. If you think X, then you will think Y. Let’s say every time you are scheduled to work out you distract yourself by thinking, “I can’t exercise right now, I have too much work to do.” You might overturn this by saying, “Exercise optimizes my mental performance so I can complete my work more quickly and efficiently.” Another example: you have resolved to go to bed earlier, but when the hour comes you think “I’m going to watch another episode.” You might check yourself with the statement, “I don’t enjoy any of my activities when I am tired and irritable.”
On the life side, start implementing habit-stacking. This is a very approachable, effective way to improve your physical well-being by building on an existing routine. For example, you brush your teeth every morning. What if, after you brushed them, you did 15 push-ups? Rather than intimidating yourself with the thought of a full workout so that you never end up getting started, this simple approach works physical movement into your day unobtrusively. Now let’s say you brush your teeth again at lunch—can you do five minutes of meditation before getting back to work? Again in the evening, you brush your teeth, and perhaps that is the signal to do a few minutes of a restorative yoga posture, such as child’s pose or legs up the wall, to help you relax before bed.
Devise a habit-stacking plan to incorporate micro-adjustments that feel right and suit your lifestyle. This is all about YOU and what is going to help you feel awesome! It doesn’t matter what anybody else is doing, their superfood diets or amazing workouts. It’s about maximizing your potential to feel fit and strong so that you reap the rewards of well-being in every area of life.
For work, try the Pomodoro Technique which is work 25 minutes, break for 5. Work for 50 break for 10. It has amazingly lasting effects on productivity and stamina. If your work is physical, this is also important to relax strained muscles and regain focus.
The advantage of habit stacking is that these simple, easy adjustments usher you into more profound change. One small step leads to another, then another, so that gradually you overhaul difficult areas in a gentle, holistic way. You have done all the thinking, formulated your if/then statements and strategized the habit stacking. Now it’s time for action! Let’s return to the three pillars of food, exercise and sleep for a closer look at each.
Make your body a strong point. What are your unhelpful habits around food and what mental/emotional problems might lie behind them? If you grab fast food every day on your lunch break, is this out of laziness and poor planning? Maybe you can challenge yourself to do better by setting up a new routine. If feeling sad makes you reach for a cupcake, is this part of a larger cycle of self-defeatism? Treating yourself to a special fruit smoothie might give you the desired emotional boost without crashing even lower. If you get on a diet then break it as soon as your friends invite you out to wings and beer, do you need to work on your willpower or perhaps your social circles? (link post about relationship circles.) Remember, don’t judge yourself harshly. Just honestly and objectively identify problems, then come up with solutions. “If my friends invite me to wings and beer, I will remember my fitness goals and come up with a healthier, equally fun activity this Friday night.” Whatever your well-being objectives are, ultimately you have to put them in action.
Movement is so vital to body, mind, moods—everything. Are you working it into your day? The American ideal of super-intense workouts is not necessarily the best! Global studies such as the Blue Zones Project show that low-impact exercise integrated naturally into daily life—e.g. gardening, yard work, walking or biking to work—prove much more conducive to human health and longevity. This is not about being a beast. It’s about staying in good condition, boosting energy levels and improving mental clarity through movement.
Find activities you enjoy and schedule them into your daily and weekly plans. Movement is a way of life! Perhaps you work out at the gym on Monday and Wednesday mornings, Fridays you go for a walk after work, and every day on your lunch break you do ten minutes of stretching. Saturdays you take the kids for a hike and Make your lifestyle advantageous. Take time off and do stuff you like.
Make your lifestyle a happy one. Now that you are getting better in the mornings and evenings, do more that you like. Sunday is your lounge-out day. Many people don’t do what makes them happy. Another example: 30-minute walk each morning after breakfast, an hour of gardening or yardwork a few evenings a week, and a 90-min yoga class on Saturday. What works for you? Fly a kite, play the ukulele and more. Make it a serious (though fun and flexible) practice that is founded in deep commitment to your own well-being. Don’t give way to thoughts like “I don’t have time,” as this will never serve you in the long run—do you have time to get sick or incapacitated? With the idea that true fitness means your body is able to do all the things you need/want it to do in order to live a happy life, make this the priority it deserves to be.
How much work do you really need? Are you tracking your work hours? Are you learning how much work makes you satisfied vs. angry/upset/lonely? Now that you are getting better in the mornings and evenings, do more that you like. Sunday is your lounge-out day. Many people don’t do what makes them happy. Another example: 30-minute walk each morning after breakfast, an hour of gardening or yard-work.
Making changes is not easy. Everything you are learning through this program requires a lot of effort and mental energy! Be patient with yourself if it takes some time for new habits to stick. Whenever you fall off, return to a place of understanding and acceptance, and only then get back on your horse. Being a warrior is not about ruthlessness towards yourself. It’s about wisdom, steady effort, and yes—self-love. If you find yourself sinking back into negative thoughts, return to the Jedi Mind Tricks to coach yourself out of these unproductive traps.
Remember that all aspects of UWB are interdependent: you will never reach ultimate physical well-being if your mind or emotions are out of whack, and the same goes for all the other components. So keep working towards balance!