How to improve the quality of your life

To achieve this you need to improve your habits. I’ll explain why.

Years ago I was caught in the ‘lottery win’ mindset.

I convinced myself that overnight success was the result of some windfall. A brush with good fortune.

This was the reason people had aquired their life situation.

What didn’t help was that the media, movies and tabloids would all cement this notion.

But as time passed and I started researching, reading, experimenting. And speaking to the most revered in my industry (people who had achieved great levels of success). I began to form a different hypothesis.

One that was at the other end of the spectrum to ‘overnight success’.

That it takes a lot of time for overnight success to occur. It is actually the culmination of months or years of work.

It’s the small efforts repeated daily that led to a better quality of life.

I’m talking about the small actions that we don’t even think about, because they are habitual. The decisions we make in autopilot mode.

But these are the decisions that shape our future.

So how do we address them? And improve the quality of our lives?

Well, there are some steps, 4 actually. Steps that you can climb up to make change inevitable.

1. The first step is the unconscious incompetence stage.

This is when we’re making bad decisions and we aren’t even aware we’re doing it.

We just know that things aren’t working out.

Here’s were something as being cognisant can help. Bringing tracking into the equation. For our sleep, our diet, our exercise and our stress.

‘that sounds like a lot of time‘. I hear you say.

Oh contrare mon frère’.

It’s no extra time! – you’re already doing this stuff so you just record at the time.

After this you’ll then enter into the next stage which is

3. The conscious incompetence.

You start to look at the actual decision and data. It makes it clear.

This is where you are aware that you’re not making optimal decions

You can see that you’re not adhering to the plan you have, if you even have a plan.

You can see where poor choices are actually hindering you.

This is the ‘wow I didn’t realise I was having that many calories’

or ‘I thought I was getting more sleep than that’.

‘Maybe I could cancel my gym membership because I’ve only been once this month’

and the classic – ‘this app can’t be working right’.

It is, and they are! Your ego is just having a hard time coming to terms with your choices.

Remember our thoughts are not the truth but rather stories that we get caught up in!

This is the cold hard truth slapping you across the face, the reality punch to the gut!

An uncomfortable period where you realise things are not as they seem. Or rather as you ‘believed’

Quickly moving on to the next stage 🙂

3. The conscious competence stage

This is where your decisions are improving. Due to some changes you’ve implemented (through self or professional guidance).

You’re making better decisions. But they’re not automatic yet. It still requires effort and discipline to make these decisions.

This is a nice stage as you can actually see change occurring with your actions. You feel good from making better decisions.

4. Then you arrive at the unconscious competence stage.

After enough time in the previous stage. These new benficial life changing decisions become automatic.

You’ve likely amended or introduced a routine which makes actions habitual. And in this ascension you’ve form a new identity.

You see yourself as the person who eats healthy, goes to the gym, gets 8 hours sleep. And is relaxed from practicing mindfulness exercises.

You’re energetic and ethused. You have more clarity and you’re making better decisions as this 2.0 version of you.

Which stage are you in?

How to be more energetic

If you’re a driven person it’s because you’ve found your purpose.

Your purpose is what gets you up in the morning. It gives you something to work towards.

This is why looking after yourself is even more important.

Because you’ll need the energy to to propel you through the day and work on your mission.

And you don’t want to let your health tear you away from your purpose and see you miss out on achieving what you wanted.

There are many ways that health factors can take you off course.

Stress is one of the biggest obstacles. Chronic stress can derail even the best health intentions.

New research shows that stress and obesity are more intertwined than previoulsy thought.

I’ll break this research down. And give you actionable steps to make progress, despite a stressful environment.

How stress can lead to weight gain

Stress can affect a bunch of “systems” that are involved in weight control.

What’s more, these aren’t isolated effects. Each system is a feedback loop that can affect all the others.

Let’s get into the details.

*Cognition Stress can mess with your mind; executive function and self-regulation. 

Combined these include mental skills like thinking, planning, and organizing. As well as the ability to focus and manage your emotions.

*Behaviors Stress influences eating, physical activity, and sleep. And these behaviors all have their own feedback loops too.

Lack of sleep can hinder physical activity, and lack of physical activity can disrupt sleep.

*Physiology The research outlines three ways stress might affect you physiologically:

  • It ramps up stress hormones. This can make you want to eat more, and can also tell your body to store fat.
  • Stress can increase your brain’s appetite for “rewards”. Feel good chemicals, like dopamine. Which can drive you to eat foods that are highly palatable (fun food), or seek out alcohol or drugs.
  • Stress may affect your microbiome, which could make you more susceptible to weight gain.

*Biochemistry Stress may also impact blood chemicals related to weight control.

Specifically, leptin, ghrelin and neuropeptide Y, which affect hunger, appetite, and fat storage.

*Weight stigma The researchers define weight stigma as “the sum of prejudice, discrimination. And negative attitudes aimed at those perceived as overweight.”

And guess what? It creates another feedback loop!

Obesity leads to weight stigma which then creates… more stress. And round we go.

You might call it a vicious cycle. Or a nasty web. Or one big giant cluster $%#!

So… what’s this all mean for you?

And what can you do about it? 

Part 2: Important takeaways

1. Look beyond eating advice and nutrition plans. If stress is wreaking havoc in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle to make progress toward your goals. No matter how on point your nutrition or workout program may be. 

Instead…

2. Work on the biggest problem first. Find your or have a professional find your “bottleneck” or “weakest link” so you can unlock the fastest and most effective path toward your goals. 

This often means going beyond nutrition and fitness. 

So if working on food first isn’t working, dig deeper. Look at how you might develop stress management. Stress tolerance, and emotional regulation skills.

3. Work towards healthy stress-reduction strategies. When you, or your coach, identify that stress management is your biggest problem, here are some strategies you can use:

  • Meditation. Even a few minutes can have a measurable effect on stress levels. Apps like Headspace, Calm, or Waking Up are great tools.
  • Nature walks. Simply going for a daily park walk can work wonders.
  • Massage. Whether it’s self massage with a foam roller, or paying a professional, massage helps you relax, and fast.

Simple methods that can see huge changes.

Check out my 90 Day Program – The Disciplined Man

How to naturally increase your dopamine levels.

Our hormones have a big impact on our emotional state, causing both good and bad mood patterns.

Regulating your hormones significantly improves and balances your emotional health.

There are a lot of things that you are doing throughout the day that have an affect on your hormones. Without you even realising.

Dopamine is a hormone that has a massive effect on us. It’s the chemical messenger in your brain that creates feelings of pleasure and reward. Which motivates you to repeat a specific behaviour.

And modern day temptations are very effective at giving us cheap dopamine hits. They are designed to elicit this ‘feel good’ sensation. It’s at the crux of their design and marketing.

Junk food, Porn, Social media, Booze, Nicotine. All elicit these cheap dopamine hits. And these temporary feel goods are very effective.

They target your weakness and keep you coming back for more.

Alcohol for confidence.

Nicotine anxiety.

Social media for boredom.

Junk food for lethargy.

Porn for arousal.

These acute ‘feel goods’ are so common yet so dangerous. Because use of these cheap dopamine hits results in;

Excessive binge eating,

Poor relationships,

Chronic stress,

High blood pressure,

and poor health.

These cheap dopamine hits are killing you!

And without without discipline, it can be very hard to turn down these temptations because they are so effective and immediate. They offer instant gratification to a problem.

And when you start to depend on them, it’s harder to rid yourself of them.

So rather than going cold turkey – which is incredibly hard. Replace them with natural things that you natural dopamine hits.

Swapping them, so your brain doesn’t really notice.

Imagine yourself as Indiana Jones, in Raiders of the Lost Ark, in the tomb swapping that Golden Idol for a bag of sand.

(but much easier and without the tomb kicking off and trying to kill you).

Here are some easy ways to do that!

Eat a high protein diet.

Proteins are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. One amino acid, called tyrosine, plays a critical role in the production of dopamine!

Probiotics

The gut and brain are closely linked. Certain species of bacteria that live in your gut are also capable of producing dopamine.

Exercise

Exercise can boost dopamine levels in the brain. Improvements in mood can be seen after as little as 10 minutes of activity but tend to be highest after at least 20 minutes.

Quality sleep

After poor sleep the availability of dopamine receptors in their brains is dramatically reduced by the next morning.

Getting regular, high quality sleep helps keep your dopamine levels balanced. And help you feel more alert and high functioning during the day

Music

Listening to music is an enjoyable way to stimulate dopamine release in your brain.

Listening to music increases activity in the reward and pleasure areas of the brain, rich with dopamine receptors.

Sunlight

Periods of low sunshine exposure can lead to reduced levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Including dopamine. Sunlight exposure can increase them.

Start swapping the unnatural for the natural and I promise you’ll start to feel better.

How to stay consistent with exercise and diet.

This is the most common problem I encounter. ‘How can I stay consistent’ along with ‘how do I stay motivated?’.

It’s not that you don’t have the energy.

It’s that you don’t have the clarity!

It’s vital to have clarity with what you’re working towards. Because it’s going to be stressful if you are arbitrarily doing it, knowing it’s not for you or wishing you were doing something else.

Give yourself something to work towards. An event, a reason for your training. A carrot at the end of the stick!

BTW, this is on top of knowing your why. As I’ve mentioned before it’s important to know your why, your core driver. The underlying motivation (mine being my children and setting an example for them).

And I implore you to find your why for getting fitter, stronger healthier and happier.

Once you know that the next step is to direct it.

Meaningless exercise or dieting, things that you don’t enjoy will seldom last.

But if you put in place something to work towards that will give you focus and clarity. Then you’ll find the work easier.

Having a goal in place, or a milestone (whatever sporting pursuit/activity it is) is super powerful.

It will give you focus plus an all important deadline. Without a deadline you’ll never push yourself to execute said task.

Every year I’ve put in place a pursuit/event. A marathon. A weight lifting comp. A bodybuilding competition. A mountaineering expedition.

This gives me direction and clarity. This means my training never seems Sisyphean. Because I know that I’m working towards something.

Once you know your why and you give yourself a goal. You’ll have that clarity.

Then you’ll be unstoppable.

How you can reach your goals

Most people don’t know how to reach their goals or realise their true potential.

They think if they do this, a bit of that, then some more of this that magically whatever they want will fall in their lap.

That’s not how it works!

You see, there’s only one thing that must change (if you want to achieve a predetermined goal that you’ve set for yourself).

Your habits!

Take fitness as an example:

The vast majority of guys who want to get in shape will go the gym.

They go for a while and assume that one day they’ll wake up looking like Arnold in his prime. Or Brad Pitt in Fight Club (whichever floats their boat).

They put no conscious thought into changing their habits.

They won’t adjust their eating habits. And they’ll remain ignorant about their stress levels.

And a short while of after not seeing their desired results they’ll quit.

What I work on with my clients is getting them to focus on their HABITS, not their goals.

Their habits are will get them them to their goal.

I cannot stress enough the importance of your habits and routine.

Do they match your goals?

If someone looked at what you do each day would they be able to accurately guess what you’re trying to achieve?

Andrew

The Fitness Gentleman

P.S. If you feel as though you are ready to move the mental roadblocks stopping you from strengthening your body and your mindset so you can reach your goals. I invite you to a Free Discovery Call here where we can have a chat about your goals and how you can go about achieving them.

You choose.

Every day we make approximately 35,000 decisions

Decisions like:

‘how should I respond to this email’.

‘should I order this meal or this meal’.

‘do I go or not’.

These decisions range from the inconsequential to the very important.

But what we misinterpret is the severity of these ‘inconsequential’ decisions over time.

Those decisions by themselves, in isolation are not important.

It’s the compounding of those poor decisions over time that build into something formidable.

Very rarely are these decisions ‘just for now’ or ‘only this once’.

And here’s the thing, the choices you make day in day out aren’t really choices. You aren’t making any decisions. Because you are on autopilot.

You’ll make the same decision as you did last time.

It’s easier that way. And your mind loves the easy option.

It’s adverse to challenge and discomfort. Which is why it will go with the option that sees avoidance of pain.

Which is irronic because pain is unavoidable.

You can experience it now or later. But you will experience it. And thats why we need look at the choice of pain.

You get to choose your pain.

The pain of exercising or the pain of disapointment from not being able to play with your kids for more than a minute because of poor fitness.

The pain of self restraint with your diet or the pain of feeling uncomfortable in your clothes.

The pain of missing out on another TV episode or the pain of feeling fatigued the next day.

The pain of working on emotional control and stress or the pain of embarrassing yourself from losing your shit at a co worker in front of the entire office.

The pain of building self-discipline or the pain of knowing you’ve let yourself go.

It would be better that you choose the pain rather than your body and mind choose it for you!

You vs The Monkey

Most guys know what to do but aren’t doing it.

This is why your health and fitness isn’t an information problem, it’s an implementation problem.

This means it’s less about the method and more about the mindset.

What you need to realize is, that making a transformation, one that will have you looking and feeling at your best. Is achieved through discipline.

I’m not talking about being perfect 24/7.

I’m saying that the majority of the decisions you make need to be in line with your goal. And the ones that aren’t don’t undo the work you’ve done.

It comes down to an internal battle between you and your monkey brain.

You see the monkey brain wants you to relax and take the easy option.

The monkey brain has a penchant for fornication, debauchery and immediate pleasure.

Do things that will provide it with stimulus and excitement (although they won’t be challenging or uncomfortable). This is why it’s so easy to plicate.

But after a while, of giving in to these cravings they leave you feeling a little hollow and disappointed.

Because once again you’ve been persuaded by the monkey. Who has led you astray.

Yeah, it was fun and you had a good laugh but that monkey has led you so far off course you’re now a bit lost.

You’re stumbling around trying to get back to the correct path. Cursing yourself for giving in to the petulant primate. Who keeps distracting you from not doing what you said you were going to do.

Frustrated you didn’t have the discipline to ignore that wretched beast and his easy enticements.

The thing is when you start out with addressing this the monkey brain, it isn’t a cute little Capuchin. No no no it’s an adult silverback gorilla.

It’s so powerful. You feel almost helpless when it comes to stopping it from doing what it wants.

But when you have a plan and some accountability that sees you build your discipline.

That is when you’ll start to see that monkey shrink. And so to its power over you. All the way until you have only a cute little Pygmy Marmoset to deal with.

It is at this point that you’ll be at your best. You’ll be doing what you should be doing. Not what the monkey wants you to.

Which is how you get you to that place where you have the energy and confidence that you’re after. And built the discipline that will permeate all areas of your life.

Plus the added satisfaction that comes from knowing that you’ve bettered that pesky monkey!

Want to find out more about improving your vitality, confidence and performance?

Click here

How to build motivation

When I talk to people about High Performance, sometimes the word “motivation” comes up.

“I’ve tried all kinds of diets and fitness regimens,” they might say.

Shortly followed by “but I can never seem to keep up the motivation.”

The reality is High Performance has nothing to do with motivation. It’s definitely not the magic key that unlocks your potential. As so many online gurus would have you believe.

High Performance is formed from the process of building habits. Specific actions in your daily routine linked to your goals.

It’s about pursuing your potential for yourself and those that matter most.

It requires a plan, a roadmap, that sees you fine tune your actions. It’s not something you do overnight.

Think about what athletes do (some I’ve coached). They follow a specialized training program. Designed to improve their physical, psychological, technical skill set.

They support their training with habits such as getting restful and restorative sleep. They eat nutritious foods, build mental resilience through mindfulness, and foster supportive relationships.

Notice that motivation wasn’t mentioned once.

That’s because motivation is unreliable. And if you rely on it you are going to be inconsistent with your actions.

Long-term success is built upon small daily actions that move the you closer to your goal.

Modern neuroscience even demonstrates that from these small progressions you’ll be internally rewarded. Through a built-in neurochemical mechanism.

You don’t need superhuman motivation to elevate your performance (because it doesn’t exist).

The process isn’t reserved for gold medallists or billionaire entrepreneurs. All you need is a desire to pursue your potential.

If that’s something you’re interested in click here.

Information overload

When it comes to being at your mental and physical best you don’t need more information.

What you need is implementation!

There is an abundance of information out there but when you have no clue about how you integrate this information into your lifestyle, it then becomes moot.

You might as well have not read the information because…

knowing but not doing is the same as not knowing!

With working from home or hybrid working seemingly becoming the status quo a lot of people’s routines have been disrupted. 

With home and work having no clear delineation managing your time has never been so important!

It’s imperative you organise your day, implementing the actions essential to get you back to your best.

Simple practices you can factor in to ensure you are firing on all cylinders.

For example how about more activity in your day, now that commuting has gone/lessened.

You can do this by introducing something, I call a fauxmute.

You leave your house at the normal that you would have when you were working in the city. You walk for less or up the same time as your commute was. But instead of going to the office, you loop back home.

Only it isn’t home – you are arriving at your place of work.

You arrive prepared physically and mentally. You crack on at your desk in your designated place for work.

Then you do the same fauxmute when you finish your work. Leaving your place of work and returning home.

This will improve your ability to switch off when you arrive ‘home’.

Which leads me to my next implementation tactic.

Compartmentalization.

Ensuring the rooms in your home are designated for designated tasks. 

Bedroom – sleep/sex
Office – work
Kitchen – cooking
etc.

This optimises something is called your orientating perception. (Your brain’s recognition of an environment).

Once you start merging tasks with other rooms you will only add to your stress. You’ll have low concentration and poor output.

When you put in place these simple tactics you’ll be taking steps to liberate yourself from a slump, inject energy into tired days, and even give you the get-up-and-go to power up the career ladder. 

Swerve the burnout!

Contrary to popular belief, going at it hammer and tongue is not how you improve your performance.

It’s actually in the recovery where you grow/ improve.

So if you’ve ever heard the phrase ‘you’re only as good as your recovery’ it’s one that holds water!

Let me explain.

You’ll have as baseline performance level. And when you introduce physical or mental stressors this performance level drops.

Good recovery, which might include:

getting enough energy (calories) for physiological needs;

getting enough macronutrients and micronutrients;

proper hydration and electrolyte balance; nutrient timing for clients who need it (e.g., elite athletes);

supporting sleep

managing stress

These are the things that will see you recover to a performance level that surpasses where you were before the stressor.

Without good recovery you’ll experience chronic stress. And each time you subject yourself to stressors your performance level goes down.

Eventually you’ll hit a point where you’ll burn out.

You want to ensure that doesn’t happen! And that you are taking the right steps for your performance to grow and grow.

Pushing yourself and recovering better each time. So you are only experience acute stress (necessary for improvement).

Now, what if i told you that you don’t need more time to put this in place.

What if I told you that you could actually see this happen by doing less?!

You don’t need more exercise, to diet harder, to have perfect sleep or stress management routines.

You only need to improve what you are currently doing with those things!

Because the recipes you’re currently using aren’t getting you the results your after.

Which is why performance has begun to plateau. Energy levels have dropped and stress is running high.

But with the right plan and accountability your lifestyle routine can be optimisd. And take your output to a level you never thought possible.

Improved habits that will see you become:

fitter

focused

energised

stronger

confident

At the top of your game!

Click here for details