“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
- Charles C. Noble
Many of us just got finished with possibly the most unhealthy (and fun) day of the year in an American’s life – Thanksgiving. And we are all about to dive into the most unhealthy few weeks of everyone’s year – the holidays.
I couldn’t imagine a better time to talk about the most powerful habit on the planet…
The One Habit That Will Get You Anything You Want
I believe health & fitness are the most powerful tools in the world.
I guess I’m kind of fanatical when it comes to the body…
Three weeks ago I attended a TEDxSF UCSF conference on Global Health. It’s so mind blowing and encouraging to see how many bad ass, smart, talented and motivated people are tackling such a huge problem.
Then two weeks ago I went on a run with world-champion ultra-runner Scott Jurek, author of the book Eat & Run, which was damn inspiring. In two weeks, I’ll be running our second-annual Accidental Marathon with a few close buddies.
It’s why I attempt all kinds of fitness challenges like running an ultra-marathon in Tahoe, doing 31 days of Bikram hot yoga in a row, swimming from Alcatraz and across the Golden Gate Bridge and the 12-hour Goruck Challenge.
It’s why I sometimes go to the Body Composition & Bone Density Center in Redwood City to get a DEXA body fat scan (the most accurate consumer-available way to measure body fat) so that I can compete in a body-fat loss challenge with my buddy Leo Babauta… just for fun.
It’s why my favorite way to get to know a new friend or catch up with an old friend is over a kettlebell swinging session or a hard run. In fact, Leo and my friendship first started over a 2-hour trail run along the SF coast.
My wife is a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and Dailey Method manager and instructor.
We eat 90% plants (the other 10% is a little fish, cheese, pizza, wine, beer and the occasional Manhattan).
The Unexplained Power of Fitness…Explained
Health & fitness are the foundation of doing anything – and especially doing work you love.
That’s why Doing the Impossible is one of the three pillars of the Passionate Work Framework that I discussed in my recent TEDx talk (still waiting for that video to go live…).
Fitness creates a compounding confidence that can ripple across your whole world.
When you show yourself you can run a 5k when you didn’t think you could walk around the block (or maybe a marathon when you only thought you could run the 5k), you start to build up confidence. That confidence begins to compound.
If you show yourself you can lose 50 pounds (or even five or 10), who’s to say you can’t double sales in your business next year or land that dream job?
New things become within reach.
The impossible starts to become our new normal.
We just have to start conditioning ourselves to do things we didn’t used to think we could do.
It can start ever so small – a single step or a meal at a time.
And that is what begins building the most powerful habit in the world…
You Must Control What You Can Control
There are so many things out of our control. You can’t control a recession, getting fired, being hit by a car or getting some forms of cancer. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, most things are out of our hands.
This is NOT one of them.
Fitness and how we treat our body is 100% in our control.
No one can tell you you can’t eat a salad for lunch or say no to the double slice of pie after dinner.
No one can keep you from hitting the trails for a little run before you start your day.
No one can stop you from pushing you own physical limits to see what your body is really capable of.
That’s the most beautiful thing about it.
Personal fitness is the single most important factor to living a meaningful life and it is 100% in our control. How f*$/ing awesome is that?!
But so much of the world pisses that power away.
That is NOT okay. It breaks my heart to see how commonplace it is.
They find excuse after excuse….
- I’m too busy
- I don’t have the money to buy organic
- I can’t stick to my diet
- I like sweets too much
- I’m always rushed and on the go…
It’s a bunch of bullshit. If you care enough, you will find time.
If it were a matter of life or death, you would get your ass outside moving and breathing.
The scary thing is personal health is a matter of life or death. It’s just too long-term and back-weighted to motivate most people.
I mean have you ever noticed that many of the most successful people in the world all happen to be damn healthy?
And by “successful,” I mean the real definition. Not just money, but living a meaningful, fun and passionate life.
Sure, there will always be exceptions of the seemingly fulfilled author who’s 75 pounds overweight. But I bet if you could really see inside his brain, you’d realize he’s not quite as happy as he lets on.
Most smart and successful people are fit.
When Richard Branson was asked how he found the time and energy to start over 400 companies, his simple answer was “work out.”
Do you know what the following people have in common?
- Albert Einstein
- Steve Jobs
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Tony Robbins
- Cesar Chavez
- Benjamin Franklin
- Leonardo Da Vinci
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Nikola Tesla
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Mark Twain
- Thomas Edison
Figured it out yet?
They were all vegetarians or vegans.
These guys were brilliant. They also thought more about health than most realize.
Just look at Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Leo Babauta, Tim Ferriss, Chris Guillebeau or the late Stephen Covey. These guys are incredibly fit.
They will let nothing come between them and their workout.
Because they know that without a healthy, energetic and fit body, they will never be able to have even close to the impact they’re capable of having on the world.
Oh yeah, and they might die otherwise.
Fitness. Changes. Everything.
I’m not saying you need to become a vegan and start growing a garden in your kitchen. I’m also not saying you need to go run a marathon next weekend — although if someone had a gun to your head, I bet you could.
All I care about is that you take a stand to control what’s actually in your control.
Build the habit of reclaiming control of the most powerful practice of all time: fitness.
There are things that the majority of the world does every single day that are proven to kill them early.
How shitty would it be to die of a heart attack at age 54 and leave your wife and two girls to fend for themselves, when you could have avoided it completely if you would have just decided it mattered enough to you? If you would have adopted some simple fitness habits.
And it’s the simple habits that are at the root of everything.
Dr. Dean Ornish was one of the speakers at the recent TEDx Global Health conference I attended. It was probably my favorite talk of the 32 that day.
Dr. Ornish is the founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, CA and also heads up the preventive and integrative medicine programs at the University of California, San Francisco.
He is most known for directing a series of clinical research studies proving, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes could not only stop the progression of coronary artery disease, but could actually reverse it. These lifestyle changes included a whole foods, plant-based diet, smoking cessation, moderate exercise, stress management techniques including yoga and meditation, and psychosocial support.
This guy is my new hero.
We are in the middle of a national and global healthcare and obesity crisis, that has the potential to bankrupt the U.S. and destroy our families, and the solution to the whole damn thing is in the palm of every one of our hands.
The question is, when are you going to do something about it?!
We Need A System to Train the Fitness Habits that Can Transform Our World
To help solve this problem, a few weeks ago a very close friend of mine (and big part of the Live Your Legend movement), Leo Babauta of ZenHabits, launched his Simple Fitness Habits course and community, which I think is going to help a lot of people. It actually already has with over a thousand private members, but now he’s offering it to the public.
Leo is one of my favorite workout buddies in town, and we’re constantly going on runs together, trading eating ideas, trying new Crossfit routines and doing crazy events together. He’s the one who talked me into The Goruck Challenge!
He’s so crazy about this stuff that he recently created a full home gym in (what used to be) his office. I’m hoping to get a workout in with him later this week.
But what I love most about his approach to fitness is not necessarily the tactics, routines and recipes. He has all of that down cold, but to be honest, anyone can put a diet and workout routine together.
I mean we all know how to get fit and healthy. The real problem is so few people actually build the right habits to create long-term change.
That’s what I love about Leo’s approach. Everything he does revolves around very simple and proven habit change.
After all, the guy literally has the #1 single-author habit change blog on the planet! There’s a reason why Time Magazine consistently ranks him in the top 25 blogs on the web every year – he honestly helps people.
In the past few years Leo went from being an overweight, sedentary, pack-a-day meat-addicted chain smoker, to losing 70 pounds, giving up cigarettes and moving to a plant-based diet.
And he did it all through very simple, small habit changes over time.
I actually collaborated with him a bit on the course, along with some other amazing experts. I cover the module on 30-day challenges and will be doing a Q&A for his community on the same topic in December. To be honest, if I wasn’t dedicating my life’s work to Live Your Legend, the next project for me would be health. No question.
And don’t worry if you don’t want to stop eating meat. This isn’t about becoming a vegan. It’s about building healthy sustainable habits. In fact one of Leo’s experts is Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple, who’s a big paleo guy.
Anyway, I could not be more excited, especially given that most of us probably kicked off the sugar-loaded holidays by overindulging on Thanksgiving.
We need a plan to start making smarter long-term decisions.
As always, there is never any pressure at all to buy the things I mention. I’m sharing Simple Fitness Habits with you because I know how many people struggle with this topic, and I believe in my soul that it’s the foundation for everything. And Leo flat out knows how to get results.
If you do decide to try it out, you will also be supporting LYL since we are affiliated with the course (thanks for contributing to our cause!). By now I hope you know that I endorse very few people and programs on the Internet. I only put my name behind people I know and trust because I see how powerfully they are changing the world.
Scott’s Bonus for You – A free copy of Live Off Your Passion ‘Lite’
If you’re one of the thousands of people who knows you need to take better care of your body but have had trouble sticking to something, making progress or even starting in the first place, I believe what Leo built will help in a meaningful way.
If you purchase Leo’s course through my affiliate link (which I do earn a commission from – this bonus is me saying thanks!) I’ll give you a copy of the the ‘Lite’ version of our Live Off Your Passion career course, which includes a nearly 100-page written guide and associated workbooks full of exercises, activities and experiments for identifying your passion and building a career around it (The full LOYP course is $127).
I see health as absolutely fundamental to doing passionate work, so that makes Live Off Your Passion the perfect compliment to Leo’s course – there’s even a section on Fitness & Doing The Impossible as a module in LOYP!
How’s that for a fit?
In order to be get your free copy of Live Off Your Passion you must:
- Purchase the course through my affiliate link.
- Forward a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and best email address so I can send you the course download link.
You Have More Power Than You Realize
The question will always be – how will you decide to use it?
Or will you even use it at all?
Or maybe the better question is… How old will your son be when you die? Will you have taught him all you hoped to? Will your granddaughter really get to know you before you’re gone? What would your husband do if you left this world due to something you could have controlled?
What if you suffer a fate that could have easily been avoided?
I think about the people close to me and it terrifies me.
I can’t imagine what I’d do without my mother and father, two of my best friends. I know I’ll have to deal with it some day, but I hope so badly it’s not any earlier than it has to be. And that goes for everyone in my life - including every one of you.
I ask you, not just for yourself, but for everyone around you. For the impact you could have on the world if you were your best self.
There are so few things in life we have control over. What you put in your mouth and how you treat your body is one of them.
We must do everything in our power to control what we can – that is the habit that will change your world forever.
And to be honest, if you decide not to invest in Leo’s course, that’s totally fine. Sure, it will be really helpful. But what I care about is that you be intentional and start doing the things you know you want to be doing. The things you know that can make all the difference. Tackle them on your own or get some guidance. All that really matters is that you do it.
Passion and fitness really do go hand-in-hand.
As always, I am here to help however I can. I mean that.
Now go have an awesome end of the week and get out and move and breathe a bit!
As for me, the rain just cleared so I’m off for a trail run with my buddy Nic.
To our health,