The following is a list of habits that, when practised daily, will produce staggering results. Some are actions while others encourage you to cultivate a state of mind. Read through each habit and while doing so think of ways to implement it into your life.

1. Gratitude
It is important for your mental health to take time each day to reflect on your blessings. Regardless of your present situation, you have much to be thankful for: your loved ones who support and care for you (no matter what your body fat percentage is); your family and friends whom you love; your senses, which allow you to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch; your body, which allows you to move, jump, run, or walk; your freedom to be whoever and whatever you decide to be. Thinking of all the things you have to be grateful for is an important reality check. Even the smallest bit of gratitude first thing in the morning (or any time of the day) will make a positive difference in your mind and your life.

The Gratitude Infinity Loop
Gratitude lends itself to being of service to others. Being of service to others in turn leads to fulfillment. This fulfillment leads right back to gratitude and the cycle repeats. Begin your next day with a prayer of gratitude and see if it does not make a better day for you and for those around you.

2. Meditation
Reduce your stress and improve your DHEA/cortisol balance by putting into practice this age-old secret of peace. Meditation is easy and provides immediate results. Please see Chapter 3 for a meditation you can start using today.

3. Planning
You have heard it before: Failing to plan is planning to fail. This is true in many areas of life and particularly with your health and fitness. Regardless of whether your goal is to lose 10 pounds of body fat or to increase your mobility, you are going to have to plan exactly how to accomplish your goal. Write your plans down in a list and check off each accomplishment each day. This will give you tremendous satisfaction and immediate feedback as to how far you have come toward accomplishing your goals!

4. Exercise
Everyone agrees that we should all be exercising, and studies have shown a direct correlation between physical fitness and life fulfillment and success. Exercise can be fun and pays back huge dividends. In Chapter 17 you will be provided with all the information you need to begin your exercise program today.

5. Nutrition
You are what you eat. You have heard that before, but perhaps a more accurate statement is you are what you eat, digest, and assimilate. However you look at it, the fact remains the same: In order to have an energetic, high-performance body, you need to start feeding yourself high-performance fuel. A well-nourished and healthy body will out-perform an undernourished body just like a well-tuned engine will out-perform a poorly tuned engine. This performance enhancement will be both physical and mental, giving you a boost in all that you do, contributing to success in all of your endeavors. In Chapter 7 you will discover exactly what, when, and how much you should be eating in order to obtain a lean, healthy, and energetic body.

6. Valuing Time
Time is something we notice every day but rarely stop to really consider. We have all been assigned an unknown and finite amount of this precious commodity, yet many of us treat it with total disregard. Each day we all have the same amount given to us, and each day there are those who make the most of it and those who waste it. There are many thieves of time, but some of the worst offenders are watching television, surfing the Internet, reading tabloid magazines, snacking on junk food, bingeing on alcohol, and endless chatting on the phone. Lesser achievers often act as though they have 1,000 years to live by putting everything off until “tomorrow.” Well, tomorrow rarely comes for these people. Do not become one of them. Start living the life you want today.

7. Sleep
This is a very important component to success in every area of your life. As a matter of fact, sleep is essential to life, just as water and food are. The old adage of needing seven or eight hours of sound, undisturbed sleep per night is very true. Your body does all of its repairing while you sleep. The muscles you stimulate during a workout do all of their growing and recuperating during deep, dark, restful sleep. Why dark sleep? This is beneficial due to the relationship between nature’s light and dark cycles and our immune and metabolic energy systems. Our skin contains thousands of photoelectric cryptochrome cells. These cells interpret the amount of light photons we are exposed to, which in turn control the hormones prolactin, melatonin, and HGH (human growth hormone).
These hormones are responsible for proper health and vitality. Melatonin is our most potent antioxidant source, which is our passport to remaining cancer free. Growth hormone, one of the body’s master hormones, is responsible for strengthening bones, building muscle, decreasing body fat, and boosting the immune system. This means no clocks, nightlights, or flashing VCRs in your bedroom as they can all disrupt this important process.

Sleep is also important when it comes to fat loss. In a recent Nurses Health Study, researchers tracked more than 68,000 women for 16 years. These women were asked to report their weight and lifestyle regimen every two years. By the end of the study, the women who slept five hours each night were 32 percent more likely to experience major weight gain—defined as an increase of 33
pounds or more—and 15 percent more likely to become obese, compared with women who slept seven hours. And women who slept for six hours were 12 percent more likely to experience major weight gain and 6 percent more likely to become obese over the study period compared with women who slept seven hours a night.

In order to have optimum recovery of all of your bodily systems, you should adhere to the following sleep guidelines:

  • Go to sleep early in the dark cycle each night and avoid staying up too late.
  • Do not eat high insulin-producing foods (refined white flour, sugar), especially in the evening. These insulin-raising foods will shut down melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a powerful anti-cancer hormone.
  • Do not consume excess calories.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Reduce stress and do not watch television in bed as studies have shown this to increase stress. Reserve the bedroom for sleep and intimacy.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages after the early morning.
  • Ensure that daily vitamin and mineral intake is adequate.
  • Go to sleep in complete darkness. Block out all light from extraneous sources
  • like street lamps, clock radios, alarm clocks, etc. Light can also interfere
  • with melatonin secretion.
  • Get seven or eight hours of sleep each night.

8. Learning
Continual learning is a tremendous success habit. Og Mandino, author of The Greatest Salesman in the World, once said, “You will be the same person in ten years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” We should all strive to continue learning and to expand our minds. It is incredible to see the changes that can occur in people’s lives when they broaden their horizons by becoming more educated. Have an open mind to learning new concepts and new ways of doing things. In the 1980s the belief was that all fat was bad. We now know that to be completely false. Essential fatty acids are very important and are included in a healthy, well-rounded diet. Twenty years ago that would have seemed crazy, but today it is accepted as a truth. By continuing to learn and ask questions, you will expand both your abilities and your possibilities.

9. Having Fun
One thing is for sure—we all need to have fun in our lives. Do not make this new lifestyle drudgery. Instead, find enjoyment in your healthy meals, knowing that you are fueling your body’s fat loss, muscle growth, recovery, and healing processes. Take pleasure in your workouts, knowing that there are thousands of people who would give anything to have the mobility and freedom of movement that you enjoy. Find a friend to do your program with and enjoy some friendly competition while supporting and encouraging each other to victory. Smile and find the pleasure that is in the process of being successful.

10. Control Emotions
Be a master of your emotions—do not let them be the masters of you. This is very important if you wish to remain calm and on track. Do not let little things upset you and get you off course. Sometimes people use a small “crisis” as a reason to skip workouts and eat junk food. This will only cause the problem to be magnified. Instead, try another approach: Smile when you are angry, work when you are tired, and laugh when you feel stressed. By taking control of your emotions, you empower yourself to achieve your goals without wasting precious energy unnecessarily. You also create calmer waters within your life, which is more likely to attract the same from others. Try it!

11. Honor
“Honor” is a very serious word. To honor someone means to respect others’ wishes and well-being. We are told to honor our mother and father and each other. However, we must also honor ourselves. To honor yourself means to not take your health, body, mind, spirit, and mobility for granted. Treat yourself with respect and honor by not polluting your body or mind with garbage foods and negativity. Follow your meal plans, exercise consistently, practice the daily success habits, and surround yourself with positive people and positive thoughts. Do this and you will see the world change before your very eyes. Your life will become an example for others to follow.

12. Support
This may just be the most important success habit of all. Find and cultivate a supportive social network of friends, colleagues, and mentors with whom you can share your health and fat loss thoughts, challenges, and experiences. For many people, the challenge of starting and sticking to a change in dietary and lifestyle habits can initially be overwhelming. Long-term studies examining the relapse rate of people who lost weight found that 90 percent do not keep it off because they do not have the necessary long-term support and accountability. According to a study by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), 90 percent of people who attended at least half of their weight-loss support meetings kept their weight off. In comparison, of those participants who were self-monitored with no support system, a staggering 100 percent regained their weight! This study and others give credence to the fact that while it is up to you to do the proper exercises and eat the right foods, you should not do it alone. Reach out to those who share your desire for improved health and fitness. Tell them about this book and what you are going to achieve. Together you can share the motivation and experience of learning to take control over your health, body, and life.

13. Commitment
Are you ready to commit to achieving your goal body fat percentage, to maximizing your health, and to owning a truly fit body? Are you ready to do whatever it takes each and every day until you succeed? A true commitment means there is no turning back. There is no way out. It is to adopt the mindset that you are going to do this no matter what! If you are not feeling this sense of conviction, suggest that you go back and reread this section again. With the power of commitment there are no obstacles too big, no challenges so foreboding that you cannot overcome! I am ready if you are!

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