In my late 20’s, my brother, Esteban, an amazing athlete, came to visit me. The first thing he said was “you have terrible posture and if you continue like this you will not be able to walk by the time you reach 45”. He recommended small changes in my life style…” I do not want you to go crazy but be consistent in doing just one thing a day." He suggested I do a few push ups and sit-ups everyday. On the first day I did ½ of a push up and a couple of sit-ups. On the Second day 1 more push-up until I build enough strength and endurance. I have kept at it everyday and today I easily do 45 to 50 pushups and over a hundred sit-ups.
After seeing the physical changes, I reflected on my mental state and decided to change negative habits in my personality as well.
How am I going to accomplish it?
In order to move away from bad habits, I must replace them with good ones. I need to shift my routines.
Simple… find good habits and with will power and determination, replace them... easy to say!
In fact it is all about determination and your willpower. It only works if you have made the resolution to change and ready to evolve in small steps instead of expecting instant gratification or miracle results. It goes for loosing weight, drinking, smoking or any difficult challenges.
21 days rule: for anything to become a habit, good or bad you must practice it consistently for 21 days. When you want to start a habit, don’t try to do it for life. Just focus and convince yourself to stick to it for 3 weeks. After you see the results, your unconscious will continue with it and will become one of your habits. I was taught this rule when I used to be a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman to pay for my College. Tom, our manager will tell us…” stick to the routine for 21 days and you will become a top seller”. I did… and became the top seller in my team.
Another way to break a habit is to make a public statement and recruit people to constantly remind you. I made a deal with my kids that every time I use a curse word I would pay them a dollar. $300 later I am almost done with cursing… 1 dollar at a time.
Today, I constantly fill up my brain with constructive and positive readings like The Greatest Salesman of the World, Blue Ocean Strategy, The Compound Effect, and others. Also I enjoy listening to TED and similar talks. My exercise regime has increased to 6 days a week for 2 to 3 hours per session… running, cycling and swimming. My diet has also improved; I stick to baked vs. fried, grilled proteins, multy grain flours, and some greens. I have substituted alcohol consumption with herbal infusions.
The effect on my attitude has been tremendous. I am more positive and have gained a lot of patience, which is one of my shortcomings and I think that I have become a little wiser. My physical condition has improved 10 fold. Last week, I had a physical and was told my metabolism is of a 23 year old, body fat is at 14%, and a strong heart. I thought to myself, not bad for an old man who a few years ago was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and anemia.
This did not happen overnight. It was a long process with small changes and more changes until I had a routine that became part of me. I still have a lot of work ahead and occasionally have some setbacks, but the key is to accept it and move on instead of giving up!
At 45, my posture is great and still able to “walk”… with a great perspective on life!