I often hear people talk about working out and eating healthy as a way to get physically fit and for good reason. Exercising along with a healthy diet will put you on a path of looking and feeling better than you ever have before. You will begin to notice muscles in your body you never knew you had as you feel them pulsate after a workout. When you look at yourself in the mirror you will be in disbelief at who is looking back at you. You will begin to notice your common daily tasks like walking up stairs or picking things up become much easier and more enjoyable. Throughout your day you will be entertained with the thought of how amazing your body looks and feels, increasing your confidence and positive energy that everyone around you will feel. Others will begin to notice your results and acknowledge you for your hard work making you even more dedicated to living healthy. The physical benefits of exercise and clean eating are very clear and enough to encourage individuals to begin their journey into a healthy lifestyle. Although, once a person begins to dedicate themselves to a healthy lifestyle they often realize that the physical results are just the tip of the ice berg. There are a great deal of underlying benefits associated with exercise and clean eating that an individual learns with experience and time which create a deeper, more unique attraction to the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
YOUR THOUGHTS DO NOT DEFINE YOU, YOUR ACTIONS DEFINE YOU.
“I can’t hold this yoga pose for another breath, I need to come out now”. This is a common thought that comes into my mind when I am practicing yoga. It used to be a thought that I was a slave to when I began my journey into yoga. This thought was the puppet master holding me hostage with strings made of inferiority. When this thought infiltrated my brain I ran away from the sensations that I was feeling in order to slump back into my comfort zone. It wasn’t until around my tenth yoga practice that I built up enough courage to challenge the thought of giving up. As normal the thought of “come out now” came into my mind but I didn’t listen. To my surprise my heart didn’t explode, my lungs didn’t collapse and I didn’t involuntarily lose control of my body but instead I was met with the realization that I am stronger than my thoughts. I was alive and healthy even though my mind just moments before was being bombarded with stimuli as it panicked and began flooding thoughts of doubt into my body. As I laid on my sweat filled mat at the end of my practice I relished in the discovery that I was holding myself back by listening to these automatic thoughts that my mind created. This is when I began questioning my thoughts not only in yoga but in my life. How many times does my mind come in and tell me that I have had enough and it is time to give up? How many opportunities have passed me because my mind told me it wasn’t worth the risk or I wasn’t good enough? What have I given up because of my choice to live in fear and doubt? It is difficult to say exactly what I have lost by allowing my automatic responses to have so much control over me but to acknowledge this knew discovery is to be aware of it and to be aware of it is to give it less control over me.
In my yoga training I was taught many things. One concept that stuck with me was “doubt your doubts”. I realized that once I hit a certain threshold of uncomfortability and uncertainty my automatic responses would kick in as I began to question my abilities. It wasn’t until I began to practice the process of doubting my doubts that I began going deeper and longer in every pose I was in. To doubt my automatic response that once controlled me was one of the most important steps I took in creating who I am today. Once I successfully overcame the thoughts that hold me back in my yoga practice I came to a hard realization that my thoughts are not real. They are simply thoughts and I choose to bring them into action or let them stay as thoughts. Working out to me is a practice of controlling my thoughts and actions. It is a realization that the fake limitations created by my mind and the real limitations of my body are not in sync. It is the understanding that my mind is almost always the one to quit before my body quits. This piece of knowledge has and will forever affect me. I understand that my mind has a need to keep me safe and comfortable. When I begin to step out of my comfort zone my mind will speak up and question everything. It will create “dangerous” scenarios that could happen in order to try and convince me I need to pull back into the safety of my comfort zone. This used to have a greater effect on me until I learned the simple concept of “I am not my thoughts”. Instead I choose what thoughts I give energy to and what thoughts I discard. I choose which thoughts I take seriously and acknowledge when thoughts are mere distractions. Working out whether its yoga, weight training or cardio is my way of training this mindset and helps me solidify the principles that “I am in control of my actions” and “my character is defined by my actions, not my thoughts”
One of life’s best gifts is that you have the opportunity to inspire others around you. Yes, you have the ability to live so greatly and virtuous that when others see you they feel a strong urge to also live greatly. One way to catch the attention of the people you interact with is by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. You will radiate positive, healthy energy that will get people to ask you questions as they are curious about why you decide to exercise regularly and why you curb your diet towards a healthy direction. They will ask you how it makes you feel and how you conjured the discipline needed to accomplish such a feat. People are attracted to doers because doers allow their actions to speak louder than their words. This is a trait that helps push humanity in a positive direction. Now, if you have another message you are passionate about you can attach it to your healthy lifestyle and help promote virtue. When I think of inspiration I think of a rock being dropped into a still pond. As the rock hits the water the water ripples outward exponentially. Be the rock that affects the world around you. Stand up for yourself and pursue your greatest visions with passion and fire and inspire those who allow themselves to be inspired.
A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING WHAT STICKING TO PRINCIPLES AND GOALS DOES FOR YOU IN THE LONG RUN
When I decided to commit myself to principles in order to help guide my life in a direction I wanted to go in I realized that it will take a long time for me to see the results. Principles such as the non-aggression principle, moral courage and honesty take a long time to have a noticible impact on life and sometimes it can be discouraging when you put in a great deal of work and discipline to these principles with no immediate results. This is yet another reason why I pursue exercise and healthy eating as principles to my life. Although it still takes time to see results from my decision to eat clean and exercise it takes much less time than life principles. Working out and seeing my results creates within me a desire to stick to principles no matter how hard they may seem in the moment. When I notice the time it takes me to bike up a hill decrease, or when I have more control in my movements when I practice yoga or the amount of weight I can lift increases over a period of time, it shows me that I am growing and developing in a positive direction as my principles intended. Living a healthy life solidifies to me that if I stick to my life principles and put in the hard work now I will see concrete results in the future. Goal setting in your physical workouts can put you on track to goal setting in your life. Working out to obtain a goal shows you that by putting in the work day after day will allow you to obtain your goal. When you turn this goal oriented lifestyle from the gym to other parts of your life whether it be finances, relationship building, career, etc you will feel more comfortable taking your goals day by day as you inch closer and closer, even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment. Keep living virtuously, stick to your principles and when you look back ten years from now I’m sure you will be glad you did. Keep living philosophically my friends!