When you look at most successful people, it is easy to see that they are different from the vast majority. They walk differently, talk differently, interact with others differently. It is easy to see right away when we interact with the rich and famous that they are different from the rest, but they weren’t always that way.
The greatest among us were once just like you and I; it was only through deliberate effort, through careful development and cultivation of certain habits, routines, and characteristics that these people became who they are today.
Today, I want to focus on one particular set of traits and habits that helps many of the most successful among us to deal with stress, feel better, and become more effective in their day to day lives.
Many of the world’s most successful people know how important their health and taking care of their health is, they realize that life is a precious gift, and that only in good health, are we free to truly enjoy life and all of its blessings.
If you are in bad health, you likely won’t be able to think about anything else. Constant pain, sickness, and other health problems are enough to overwhelm even the strongest among us.
When you take a look around at the successful people in your own life, you will likely see them engaged in some of the very same habits as the most successful people that you can imagine; these people exercise frequently and they tend to watch what they eat: that doesn’t mean they only eat broccoli and they run a marathon everyday- most people just simply don’t have time for that, but you will definitely see a trend that is common in success…that trend is a consciousness towards health and fitness.
A regular fitness routine paired with a healthy diet can provide:
- More energy to get things done
- A more stable and positive mental attitude
- More endurance to push through emotionally or physically difficult days and tasks
- An increased overall sense of well being
- A boost to personal discipline and willpower
- More mental toughness
Regular healthy eating and a personal fitness program boosts effectiveness and efficiency throughout your day. Getting some sort of workout and keeping your diet as healthy as possible not only boosts your willpower and discipline-which rolls over into other aspects of your days and life, but it also boosts your energy levels.
Over time your body adapts to exercise and it becomes more efficient at completing work: your circulation increases (which also adds more blood flow to the brain), your heart becomes more efficient (pumping more blood to the body with less effort), your lungs become better able to take in oxygen and send oxygen out to the body, and your glycogen stores increase (allowing more glucose to be stored in your body for energy later).
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to avoid diseases and problems like: diabetes, alzheimer’s, and even cancer. Studies have shown again and again that exercise is effective in delaying many age and health related problems that arise in people who are sedentary.
Let’s face the facts: diet and exercise sucks, it isn’t always fun to turn down the bag of chips waiting for us on the couch when we get off of work and go for a run instead- making the right decision takes a fair amount of inner strength and dedication.
One of the most powerful transformative traits of the successful people around us is willpower, and dedicating yourself to keeping yourself fit will also flex your willpower muscles. Scientists have shown that willpower is something that takes concentrated effort, and like most things in life, the more you practice discipline and focus, the better you will become at it over time.
Exercise and healthy foods also boost your mood by promoting the release of powerful hormones and neurotransmitters in your body and brain that boost your mood and increase your feeling of happiness and calm. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and relax, and it just makes you feel better. It may not feel good when you are on mile 2 of 3 on the treadmill, but certainly, after you finish and cool down you will feel better. You get a double boost from taking care of yourself, because you get the immediate chemical release in your body, but then you also get the feelings of accomplishment that come with making a good decision.
Willpower ultimately boils down to mental toughness, and few things will make you more mentally tough than pushing through the discomfort of dieting and exercising regularly and consistently. Successful people often have to do things that suck, things that drain them emotionally and physically, and things that they just don’t enjoy, but successful people are often able to tackle these tasks with enthusiasm because they have developed mental toughness through regular discipline of their bodies.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Through discipline of your body, you can learn to master yourself, because if you can’t resist the box of twinkies waiting for you at the grocery store, or if you can’t make yourself go for a run even though you know it will extend your life and add quality to your life, then what do you truly control?
Successful people understand that they can’t control everything that happens in life, they can only adapt to what happens and try to create structures and strategies that allow them to be prepared for hard times.
Like the old story of the ant and the grasshopper, successful people spend the summer preparing themselves for the times of winter, while the grasshoppers of the world live solely for the momentary pleasure of the “now”.
Exercise and healthy diet will help you build a more effective, more energetic, happier, healthier, and more disciplined person, and all of these traits add up to more success.
If you can’t master yourself, if you can’t learn to control your own impulses and immediate desires in pursuit of something better, then you are doomed to always fall short. We all have weaknesses we must learn to overcome, and maybe yours is making better food choices and working out regularly, but as always, your best self lies at the other end of the sacrifices that you make today.
Through suffering and sacrifice, we always change the people that we are into the people that we know we should become. Follow your heart and take an active stance towards changing your health and creating a life that you love.
What do you think? Do you know any successful people that this rule doesn’t apply to, or what are your own experiences? Would you like to learn more about how to create good habits to promote health and fitness? Let me know what you think, I always appreciate any comments or feedback that you leave for me below!