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 increase your testosterone levels.

High testosterone is essential for a man, and if you aren’t optimising yours you’re leaving happiness and success on the table!

Healthy levels of testosterone are so important. For general health, disease risk, body composition, sexual function and just about everything else.

Additionally, increasing your testosterone levels can cause rapid gains in muscle mass and vitality in only a matter of weeks.

But how can you boost your testosterone levels? And how can you do it naturally so you can avoid hormone replacement therapy?

Let’s have a look at some lifestyle factors that will remedy the situation.

First up is exercise, to be more specific resistance training/weights.

People who lift have higher testosterone levels. Not does exercise increase testosterone levels, and fitness but also reaction times.

Factor into your week a minimum effective dosage. Resistance the urge to go full banana and instead commit to an amount of sessions you can realistically stick to. Even if only 2 sessions per week.

A Balanced diet,

to clarify, is eating enough protein, to aid satiety to aid weight loss, and muscle repair. Having enough carbohydrates also optimize testosterone levels during resistance training. And a balance of fats which are also beneficial for testosterone and health.

Combined with an energy target for your goal you will have a ‘REAL’ healthy diet.

Stress management

Natural elevations in cortisol can reduce testosterone. These hormones work in a seesaw-like manner: as one goes up, the other comes down.

Chronic stress and high cortisol can also increase food intake, weight gain, and the storage of fat around your organs.

This is why it is paramount you input into your day time for actions that will see you decompress, away from stressors and stimulation.

Sleep

Getting good sleep is as, if not more important for your health as diet and exercise. It also has major effects on your testosterone levels.

The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person. But one study found sleeping only 5 hours per night caused a 15% reduction in testosterone levels!

This is why it would be prudent to implement a bedtime routine that will improve the duration and quality of your sleep. Why not set an alarm at the same time each day to start your bedtime routine

For more help with these lifestyle factors download a free copy of my guide The Gentleman’s Vitality Handbook

How to get fitter.

One of the most important books I’ve read is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

It cemented the benefits of having a daily routine. And how important our habits are.

For example, so many people say things like:

“I want to have more money”, “I want to lose weight” or “gain some kind of result.”

The truth is your bank account is a lagging measure of your finnacial habits.

Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits.

Your fitness is a lagging measure of your exercise habits.

Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning and reading habits.

And we get it wrong when we think the thing that needs to change is the bank account, the test score or the number on the scale.

Actually the things that need to change are the habits that proceed those outcomes.

You come to realise that your habits reinforce a particular identity.

Sometimes this can be positive and sometimes it can be negative.

The story could be things like ‘Im bad at math’ or ‘I’m terrible with people’s names’. It’s an internal story that you tell yourself.

And each time you have an experience it reinforces that. The story gets solidified.

The takeaway here is that every action you take is a vote for the type of person you become.

And if you can master the right actions, if you can master the right habits

Then you start to cast votes for this new identity, the desired person you want to become.

This is why small habits matter so much, they don’t transform your life overnight.

One workout or healthy meal does not transform your body. But it does cast a vote for being the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts and eats healthy.

Over time these votes compound. And as Einstein said:

‘Compounding is the eighth wonder of the world.’

The goal is not to run a race or complete a sporting pursuit. The goal is to become an athlete.

Once you’ve adopted that identity, you’re not looking to change anymore.

You’re merely acting in alignment with the type of person you see yourself as.

True behaviour change is identity change.

Once you change that internal story it get’s easier to show up each day.

Motivation becomes irrelevant.

It’s just who you are.

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!

How to improve your energy, confidence & performance.

When we look past the superficial of aesthetics or leanness – is when when we get to the root of our desires.

Going beyond the norms of what society tells us we want, to find our true reason to improve our health and wellbeing.

Which is why want energy, confidence and better performance.

And this is coming from someone who has competed in Body Building.

I’ve attained much more enjoyment from pursuits that have been performance based i.e. Marathons, Power lifting. And I’m even more excited about upcoming open water swim and Mountaineering pursuits.

In terms of physical fitness and performance I’ve never been better than I am now.

And this will only improve because of the compounding effect of the day to day actions that are part of my routine.

I emphasise MY routine because not one size fits all. It has to be bespoke for you!

What you can commit to with exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress management is unique to you.

And you have to optimise those pillars to see you be at your best, to be on top of your game!

And hear me when I say it’s got to be bespoke because when we try and conform to something that is so far removed from our lives it won’t last!

That’s because the regimes and protocols out their are cookie cut on someone else’s plan. And to adapt and adhere to it you have to be at your best or nigh on perfect!

For success a plan needs to work even when you aren’t at your best. What you can be consistent with on your worst days.

Factoring in a margin of error!

Because we don’t rise to our goals we fall to our habits.

Which is what my coaching program The Performance Project is all about.

Devising a plan for you to help you build habits that will see make progress even when life gets hectic.

A plan that works in the face of high pressure and adversity. Taking into consideration all the obstacles that life is sure to throw at us.

Paired with accountability and support to see you break through plateaus and perform at your best.

For more info click here

Single player game

Most people are playing a multiplayer game.

Comparing and contrasting against others.

‘What have they got?’

‘I should have that too’

‘I need to better them’

If you want to progress what it would be prudent to realise is;

You’re playing against yourself!

No one else.

The people that progress in their lives are playing a single player game.

By adopting this approach only then do you win.

You will no longer be making uneven comparisons. And you’ll find yourself making better decisions.

Decisions derived from the principle of;

short-term pain long-term gain.

When I say pain I’m not talking about the searing pain of exercising whilst injured. Or other methods of seld destruction.

Because those things have no long term gain!

I’m talking about the acute that leads to future returns.

The healthier meal option

The workout.

The decision to turn off the TV and go to bed on time.

The decision to put down a device and think.

So when faced you are faced with your next decision. Ask yourself which has more short term pain and long term gain.

The bet.

How’s it all going with your health and fitness drive?

Whatever your reason behind it. Maybe it’s your self-confidence; you’re not over enamoured with what you see when you look in the mirror.

Maybe it’s stemmed from you getting dressed in the morning and thinking to yourself ‘hmm this top wasn’t this tight before Christmas.’ 

It could be that your partner is highlighting stuff by making subtle hints. Maybe that Peloton bike they brought you for Christmas had an ulterior motive behind it?

Whichever it may be, these all feel pretty shit.

And maybe your new year’s resolution efforts have waned?

If they have don’t beat yourself up. It’s not you, it’s the method/strategy you chosen.

What you’ve tried hasn’t been sustainable.

Mainstream weight loss or fitness programs are nothing more than a roll of the dice!

They’re not a sensible bet!

The odds of you achieving success with these methods are minuscule.

Without accountability, a proven strategy, and support, you’ve got little to no chance.

How about rather than taking a punt, a flutter, a spin you make an investment?!

An investment in a strategy that will be the last you will ever need for your health and fitness.

No more confusion about what to do for getting fitter healthier, performing better looking good, and feeling great.

I know that taking that first step is the hardest. So I’ll make it easy for you. Click here

The weigh in

On your weight loss journey, there are many ways to keep tabs on your progress.

If you’re going to be stepping on the scales to gauge your progress keep reading, I’ll tell you how to do it so you get it right!

Firstly, stop weighing yourself at every possible opportunity. After a workout at the gym, when at the pharmacy, at random times of the day, or any time you see a set of scales!

There are so many variables that go into the number you see on the scales.

Weight might be down if you’ve been sweating a lot. Weight might be up if you’ve eaten a lot. Weight might be up from water retention if you’ve had a meal high in sodium or carbohydrates.

So to cut out these variables weigh yourself at the same time of day. I would advise that be first thing in the morning after going to the toilet. In minimal clothing and before you have anything to eat or drink. This weigh-in should be the only one you record.

Then it’s on you to resist the urge to step on the scales at other times of the day! As these readings will be irrelevant.

Next, when it comes to the frequency of weigh-ins I’d recommend you go for daily. Making it part of your routine. The reason being is; I don’t want you to miss a new low!

And the most important thing to bear in mind is that you will see fluctuations daily. Up one day, down the next. Going forward you are looking for a trend, a new low each week! Not each day! This will mean that what you are doing is working!

I wish you all the best with your progress.