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If you have many improvements you’d like to make in your life — career, relationship, health — where should you begin? My suggestion is to start with your physical body. Improving your diet and level of fitness will produce positive results in every area of your life because you’ll have extra energy available to you every day. This means more energy to invest in your career, relationships, and mental and spiritual development.
You take your body with you wherever you go. If you’re overweight then you carry that excess with you at all times. You’ll see it every time you look in the mirror and carry it up and down every flight of stairs. An extra 20 lbs may not seem like much, but if you carry around an extra 20-lb dumbbell all day long, you’ll see that it feels burdensome and tires you out much faster. 20 lbs of excess fat weighs the same as a 20-lb dumbbell, and carrying it around all day will drain your energy.
It’s been said that people spend their first 50 years trading their health for wealth, and then they spend the next 50 years trading their wealth for health. But this isn’t a trade that you should make at all.
Losing your fitness can occur so gradually, you barely notice it. Even if you aren’t overweight, if you eat poorly and don’t exercise, you’ll suffer for it. But you may not see the symptoms of poor nutrition and fitness appear in your body right away — they’ll pop up in other areas like a feeling of malaise in your relationship, a lack of ability to concentrate well at work, a lack of ambition, or a feeling of fuzziness in your overall focus. You feel demotivated and don’t know why.
I recall that the times in my life when I exercised the most, I also had the clearest thinking, and I could concentrate for long periods without getting tired. Among the many benefits of exercise are in increase in blood flow, which helps oxygenate the body and especially the brain.
One of the key benefits of improving your body is that you’ll see physical results. When you look in the mirror or step on the scale and see that you’ve made progress, it’s very satisfying. And this self-esteem boost can lead to greater accomplishments in every other area.
Listen to your self-talk the next time you see yourself in the mirror. Is it positive or negative? Are you reinforcing the self-image you want?
Of the many stories I’ve read from people who’ve transformed their lives for the better, physical fitness was nearly always a significant component from the beginning.