Heart and brain that dance exercise brain spark

EXERCISE IS A BRAIN CHANGER

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.” Plato

Burning calories to lose fat is just one reason to exercise. I am going to give you better reasons because if it’s your only reason to exercise, it won’t become a habit. I’ll give you reasons that go far beyond the fuzzy notion of runners high. I am going to share the science with you, in hopes that it makes exercise something you WANT to do. Not merely to lose a few pounds, but to be your absolute best. After you discover all the benefits of exercise, you will understand why I say choosing to NOT EXERCISE is like taking a depressant that erodes self-control and impairs cognitive function. A small dose of daily exercise is the absolute best way to improve your life. The brain runs the show, and as you’ll soon see, exercise promotes better brain function. Our brain loves physical activity. It increases blood flow to the brain, delivering nutrients and removing the waste products of normal neuronal activity. Vigorous movement keeps our neurotransmitters in balance, strengthens our synaptic connections, and even stimulates the production of new brain cells. Some of these neurotransmitters, like endorphins, provide a powerful incentive to exercise. They act on our opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects, making strenuous physical exercise pleasurable.

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LET’S GET REAL, LET’S GET MOTIVATED

External motivation can fire us up temporarily, but sustained motivation must be manually coaxed into existence through disciplined effort. When your workout alarm goes off a 5:00 AM in the morning, don’t wait for motivation to get you up. You’ll learn strategies that will make getting up easier, but ultimately, you’ll have to push yourself. You set that alarm for a reason. You don’t need motivation to get-up. You need discipline. Each daily workout will be another small win that will provide a little more inspiration. As you begin to feel and look better, you’ll become even more motivated. After you have pushed yourself enough times to make daily exercise a habit, you’ll need less and less willpower to get-up each morning. You will begin to crave the way you feel after your morning workouts. It will become a positive addiction. Continue reading LET’S GET REAL, LET’S GET MOTIVATED

Elephant - Rider - Path

CHANGE IS DIFFICULT, BUT WITH THE RIGHT STRATEGIES AND A LITTLE MOTIVATION, WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF GREAT CHANGE

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What you are going to learn:
  1. Why Habits are so Powerful and Potentially Dangerous
  2. The Three Elements of a Habit
  3. How a Better Understanding of Habits can Help Us Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones
  4. A Simple Approach to Overcoming our Natural Resistance to Change
  5. Why We Often Blame our Lack of Willpower when it is usually our Lack of Commitment that is to Blame    

People often say that change is difficult, and they are correct. Change is difficult, but we are all capable of change. Our lives are continually changing, learning to drive, marriage, having children, new job responsibilities, and new technological tools. Initiation is the most challenging phase of any change because when we are learning to perform new tasks, it is mentally exhausting. Learning to perform a new activity requires our cerebral cortex (“Conscious Brain”) to do the heavy lifting.

As the new task becomes routine, the more resilient basal ganglia, (“subconscious brain’), takes over. The action becomes easier and easier to perform. Our conscious brain essentially goes on autopilot, and the actions flow almost effortlessly. You undoubtedly experienced this when you were learning to drive. In the beginning, it required all of your mental focus, but now you can drive, adjust the cabin temperature, tune the radio, carry on a conversation, and heaven forbid, use your smartphone while driving.

Change is possible, but it starts with awareness. The hardest part of creating a change in behavior is just not repeating the behaviors of the past. Approximately 40 to 45% of the decisions we make are out of habit.[i] Unfortunately, these aren’t conscious decisions. These are decisions our conscious brain has delegated to the subconscious brain. Our subconscious mind controls the performance of repetitive daily activities which frees our conscious mind from making countless decisions each day, which would lead to decision fatigue and mental exhaustion. For this reason, we aren’t mindful of actions we have repeated enough times to make them habits.
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DISCIPLINE IS A HABIT, NOT A PERSONALITY TRAIT

Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.

Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.

Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.

Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.

Chinese proverb

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The biggest lie about discipline is that it is a personality trait. It isn’t. It’s a habit. When you repeat an action enough people will attribute it to your personality. If someone works hard every day, they’ll say she is a hard worker.  Our habits are eventually assigned to us as a personality trait, but we weren’t born with them. We developed them through repetition. Habits and routines are what determine what we will achieve in life, that is why they are essential to our success and happiness. The excellent news is that we can choose to form whatever habits we want by shaping our environment to support them. Continue reading “DISCIPLINE IS A HABIT, NOT A PERSONALITY TRAIT”

MOTIVATION IS LIKE STEAM IN A BOILER

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Motivation is powerful, but unless it is put to work, it is wasted. Motivation is like steam in a boiler. Unless it is driving pistons and producing mechanical work, it is wasted. We want to put our desire to good use by consistently executing the daily actions that will produce results. We don’t want to be merely busy; we want to be productive. I recommend you start each day listening to motivational speeches because it will help keep your motivational tank from running empty. Cultivating motivation daily is easy to do and will drastically improve your outlook on life. We need to develop motivation daily, but more importantly, we need to put it to good use.

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