The Secret to Lifelong Health and Fitness

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What’s your biggest struggle or challenge with your health and fitness right now?

If you could solve that problem what would you do?

  1. How would you design your action plan?
  2. What would you need to do over the next 90 days to a year?
  3. How would you measure the improvements to your health and well-being?

What excuses or reasons are you coming up with for not taking action to solve that problem, right now?

Many of us have reasons for why we shouldn’t do something. Often the challenge is that we subjugate our primary needs to those of others. That could be your partner, your children, or ever the promotion you’re working to achieve at work.

How to be selfish

I’m not advocating being selfish in the sense of not caring about anyone else but you. Instead, I’m advocating that you need to take care of your primary needs first. I’m a firm believer that we NEED to take care of health and well-being BEFORE any other needs, otherwise we can’t life a great life.

For example, I need to take care of me first in the following ways:

  1. It’s vital that I sleep well and I’m well rested. Rest also includes taking time off work as well as not thinking about my work.
  2. I need to eat well and nourish my body and my mind with home-cooked meals that are healthy and balanced.
  3. I exercise almost daily to stay strong and flexible. Things like walking, lifting weights, cardiovascular training, cycling, etc.

Taking care of me first provides the following MAJOR benefits:

  1. I’m in a great state of mind and I feel good about myself.
  2. I have lasting energy throughout my day and clarity of mind.
  3. My stress level remains low and in check, and I’m better equipped to handle difficult situations.

Taking care of me first maintains and improves my health. It’s a commitment to wellness, which is a quality of life. I intend to live with vitality, of both body and mind, and to live a fulfilling life!

Many of my clients struggle with “me first” because they’re so busy all day long. They’re rushing to work first thing in the morning with “no time” for breakfast, because they have more important obligations. Their partner wants them to do something that they’ve been avoiding. They have to take their kids to a soccer practice twice per week, a tutor, and get them new clothes for a class outing. On top of that their boss needs a major project completed two days sooner than planned and they’re already working 15-hour days. Time to cook meals, eat well, or get in a quick workout?

They’ve forgotten those were once goals and aspirations. Now they tell themselves they’ll take care of their health when they have more time….

Let’s go back in time.

A short story of who I am and how I got to this point will help you understand my approach to helping people exercise their minds to eat, move, and be well.

I was born a very sickly, hyper-allergenic child. I can only imagine how difficult it was on my parents wondering why this baby was screaming all the time. As a child I had severe ADHD (on Ritalin for a period) as well dyslexic when reading and spelling. In my early teens when I was learning how to take care of my health and better manage it, my mother’s health started to decline.

At an early age I learned how to cook and two years after high school went to cooking school. I first started working out at 19, excited to finally find a sport I could do for myself and my self-esteem. I never enjoyed team sports, too afraid that other boys might discover I was gay.

After 10+ years of lifting weights, people would come up to me at the gym and ask for help and advice. They wanted me to train them, complimenting me on my physique and that I spread to know what I was doing. Wanting to change careers, I studied personal training, took courses, and hired a coach. At the same time I was working to improve my mindset through personal development. I realized, through some lost opportunities, that I need to make some big changes to become a better, happier person.

Over the last 15+ years as I’ve studied and practiced, I began to focus more on coaching models and principles. I love understanding how the mind works. In my coaching I help people flex their mind to uncover their obstacles, and take action to get out of their own way.

The obstacles in the way is always us.

In many a coaching conversation I’ve helped a client understand that some of their choices are in direct conflict with one of their core values. Let me give you a concrete example. You and I are having a conversation. You say,

“Darren, you know I absolutely value health and working out to stay in shape.”

We talk more and you tell me that you’re trying to get ahead in your career and putting in 10 to 15 hour days, burning the candle at both ends. You’re hardly home, you haven’t worked out in weeks, you miss spending quality time with your partner.”

I ask you to pause and I draw this conflict between what you most value and your actions to your attention.

“This doesn’t make you a bad person,” I say. “This is simply a reflection of what you’re doing in your life right now, and your actions make it clear your priority is your career. While your health may be a value, there’s a conflict here. So we need to consider if you can you find a solution or compromise to this problem right now. Or is this something that you’re looking to change in the very near future, and when?”

Life is like a stereo equalizer. Sometimes we focus on certain aspects of our life and push those buttons way up. When that happens we can only maintain or neglect the other parts of our lives.

The only true balance on an equalizer is when all the knobs are in the middle. If you’ve every heard music played at “flat” you know it’s lacking. Something is missing from the music, the tension between the highs and the lows, the treble and the bass. It’s the rhythm of music, the change in pitch and cadence, that’s like life. Too much bass and the vocals are dull and boring. Too much treble and the music ain’t got no beat!

Knowing what your values are is incredibly important. More so is knowing what you’re prioritizing and if those actions are in harmony with your values.

Knowing what your struggles are is also important. What’s your biggest struggle in health and fitness right now, and why would you want to solve that problem?

That’s the topic for discussion in the next post.

Be well

PS. Get my best strategies to make healthier eating choices, fit fitness into your life, and transform your well-being.

Sign up here for my EatMoveBe Well 14-day email course.

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Originally published at on October 18, 2017.

Written by

I help human-hearted creatives cultivate their purpose to experience more freedom, impact, and joy in their lives.

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