5 Diet Questions You MUST Ask to Lose Weight

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5 Diet Questions You MUST Ask to Lose Weight

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What is an Unexamined Life Worth?

I think the hardest part of doing anything, big or small, can be getting started.

This means you have to take time (or make time) to question what it is that you want (goal or outcome) and how you’re going to get there (behaviors or plan of action).

You can’t always choose how long it’s going to take. You can’t even decide whether you’re going to get the thing you set out for.

In other words, after you complete a scan of your life and begin to set goals and take action, you are taking control of your life.

After you’ve figured out who do you want to be, you can begin to become that person.

I think this expressed well in the commonly known life and death of a famous teacher. A teacher who encouraged his students to challenged beliefs that were, at the time, accepted. He wanted them to think for themselves. You probably feel that this sounds like any good teacher, right?

The words, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” cost Socrates his life. Even in death, the ultimate cost, he had a choice of suggesting an alternative punishment for his heresy. There are a million things that are severe, but not as permanent as death.

Life in prison. A forced exile.

Maybe right, but not for Socrates. He did not want to be robbed of the only thing that made not only his life but life in general, useful – examination of the world and exploring how to make it a better place.

For him, “the unexamined life” was not worth living.

So, he told the Athens to reward him for his service to society, and as then dealt a voted to be punished by death.

Today’s teachers and students don’t have to choose between a life worth living and death. Still, I’d argue most people prefer to avoid the examined life. It’s not a matter of time (having it or making it). They strongly withdraw.

  • Do you think about where you’ve been?
  • Do you wonder how you’ve ended up where you are today?
  • Do you what to know where your life is going?

If you said “yes,” I know you are more courageous than most people.

Neither you or I or anyone else has all the answers.

You, I and everyone else has to live life, which is hard in different ways for different folks.

One thing I know for sure is that – people who have a sense of belonging in the universe also have an ability to see how the seemingly random connections in their life matter.

As an explorer, wouldn’t your rather have a compass to increase your chances of reaching your destination?

Of course, right?

What I’ve learned, from my journey, is your courage to question is your compass and with it, you’ll reach your destination – and if you don’t, you’ll know why the world is a better place because of it.

As I said, often the hardest part is getting started.

For now, sit comfortably with no distractions. Yup, turn off the tv. No music. Put your phone in the other room. Just relax. If you don’t know how to relax, just breathe. You’ve got nowhere to go, for now, and nothing to do, for now.

Don’t Set Goals: do this because it works

Let’s pretend for a moment: you completely ignored setting goals, while entirely committing to a system.

Would you still get results?

January 1st is known as New Year’s Day and the time to set resolutions. The word resolutions, after all, means to “settle or find a solution to” something – usually a problem. It is supposed to the time to decide on a course of action.

Traditionally, the plan starts with setting a specific goal that you can apply and measure.

  • If you are a business owner, your goal is to increase sales.
  • If you are a writer, your goal is to write a book.
  • If you are an athlete, your goal is to improve a skill.
  • If you are overweight, your goal is to lose weight.

Again, the old way is: set a goal, put in work.

While that is better than doing nothing, there is a better way to reach your goals.

Systems beat goals, even when goals are not set. Goals are met when systems are used for success.

Difference Between Goals and Systems

Above, I listed four goals. Now I will list the systems, that could accompany each goal, instead.

  • If you are a business owner, your system is a process for marketing and sales (your goal is to increase sales).
  • If you are a writer, your system is a daily schedule for writing (your goal is to write a book).
  • If you are an athlete, your system is regular practice (your goal is to improve a skill).
  • If you are overweight, your system is what you eat, how you move, and manage stress (your goal is to lose weight).

Now let me reframe the opening situation in another way:

You completely ignore having a system and only focus on your goal.

Would you still get results?

Hell no. This is not my opinion. Numbers don’t lie. Unfortunately, this is what happens every year, beginning in January and little by a lot all year.

Here’s the rate of resolution failure:

  • 27.4% after the first week
  • 31.6% after the 2nd week
  • 41.6% by February
  • 55..2% by summer

Here’s an example, if you were a coach and ignored a goal of winning the championship and instead put your focus on making sure your team had excelled in practice, every day, do you think you would get results.

Of course. That is how winning is done.

Take me for example. For years, I had the goal of being a blogger. I’d set a goal in the fall, plan all winter, launch in January and by the summer, I would have fallen off.

It has happened three times: Facebook Notes, mispibo.com, and fitcitymke.com.

As they say, third time’s the charm.

January 21st, 2015, before I launched www.ambrosewb.com, I focused on my system for blogging. The three main parts of my system were:

  1. Writing in my journal, daily.
  2. Saving health and fitness articles to Evernote.
  3. Scheduling 2 hours blocks of uninterrupted time, for writing

By December 21st, 2015, I had written almost 100 articles!

I focused on the process, or work, clearly laid out in my system. One year later, I am still blogging. With over 60 articles posted to my site in 2016, I still have another 50 or 60 of my saved articles that I can use for inspiration in 2017.

Regardless of your goal, here are three facts that should help you focus on systems for success:

Expectations kill your joy.

My meditation coach, Bill, told me, “Expectations kill your joy.” Goals work the same way. When you are expecting to reach a target, your happiness attached to the completion of that goal.

This mindset is problematic because it forces you to expect your happiness later while working hard now. The expectation of success and happiness in the future will kill both.

Instead of thinking, “Once I have [my goal], then I will be happy,” winners already see themselves as successful because they are doing the work that comes with success.

ANSWER: Progress over the prize.

Goals can put much unnecessary stress on your mind. You would not be reading this today if I had made it my goal to write 100 articles in less than one year. As I write that, I realize it would have been entirely unrealistic if I did.

So why do we burden ourselves with goals every year? Losing weight, succeeding in business or mastering a skill. This year, reduce your stress by keeping it simple. Focus on your process daily, and let the goal come to you.

When you focus on progress over perfection, you can enjoy that you are getting better every day.

Goals can be at war with your long-term development.

When you set your goal, you are motivated. You think you will stay motivated over time, but this rarely happens.

Think about someone training for a bodybuilding competition. They would have to work extremely hard, for months, even years to complete. As soon as they walk off stage, they stuff their face. Their goal was to get in the best shape as possible, and now they have completed it, what’s the motivation?

When you achieve a goal you have focused and worked hard for, there is nothing left to push you as you move forward.

This is what happens when people “yo-yo” diet. People go up and down as they work on a goal and then stop working towards a goal. This type of roller coaster makes progress a wild ride that eventually halts to a stop.

ANSWER: Give up the need for instant gratification

In the past, I have injured myself either in the gym or recreational activity. There has been a moment where I could stop, but I wanted “it” now. “It” for me, is to perfectly execute or plan or perform at a high level. Instead, I found myself not working out at all.

Now, I remind myself that I am going to be physically active for a long time and I need to be able to perform as I get older.

In the case above, when you are focused on a goal, you will push yourself hard at the moment thinking it will help you reach your aim. A goal-based mindset means you are a failure unless your reach your goal.

Now look at the systems-based mentality. Today, I have no problem easing off of my training intensity. Because my system does not put my focus on specific numbers or performances. Instead, my intention is moving every day for at least 20 minutes.

Is that all that I do? Of course not. It’s just one way that I can be self-aware that my lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint.

Goals give you a false sense of control

No matter how hard you grind, you will never be able to predict the future. Some things are outside of your control. This includes the result.

Goals suggest you are in control.

You plan this, and you plan that with the idea that it will lead you somewhere. If you are like most, you set benchmarks for success even though barriers and obstacles always arise.

ANSWER: Use a feedback loop to stay on track

At the end of each week, I spend 20 minutes punching numbers and color-coding a Google Sheet. There are essential metrics that I need to run my business.

For example, I am tracking the conversion rate (the percentage of website visitors who sign up for my free email newsletter). Early on, I had the number “100” stuck in my head. For whatever reason, I thought I should not launch my blog until I reached 100 subscribers.

Now, I rarely think about this number. On the other hand, I track this metric so that I can improve my opt-in forms and free resources. When someone signs up, I know I am doing something right, and I can continue to create good content.

Feedback loops allow you to keep track without the extra pressure of trying to predict the future. At the same time  – you know what’s happening. Use a system that will allow you to assess and make the adjustments.

Date, Engage and Marry The Progress

I am not saying you should not use goals any more than I’m saying you should not fall in love.

I am saying that love will help your marriage like systems with will help your progression.

People who create specific resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than people who do not. Plans do have power. However, you do not set goals just for planning. Use a system if you want to make progress.

In the short-term, goals are useful for providing direction, but behind every winner is a well-designed system.

Systems matter more.

Make the decision that process makes you stronger than planning.

Got Bad Habits? Good. Own Them. Then Succeed

Why do we have such a hard time accepting responsibility for our actions?

Do you have any friends, family or coworkers who complain every New Year that they are out of shape and unhealthy? Maybe that person is you.

At what point does a person, who complains yet takes does act, accept full responsibility for their own involvement in the situation they find themselves in?

  • They could have started with the wrong mindset
  • Maybe they picked the wrong place to train or gym partners to depend on
  • It’s also possible they miscalculated the time and effort it takes to reach their goals

I know – that’s a lot of speculation, but these are all scenarios that play out every time someone owns their health.

Wanting to feel secure, attractive, and vibrant is a part of the human experience.

Yes, there may be problems that come with an over-inflated view of yourself. I’d argue a low self-esteem and depression are far worse. Either way, at both extremes, we find the foundation for denial or the false view of one’s self and the ability to accept the truth.

When living in denial, the truth hurts. It’s too painful to accept your own mistakes or vanity, so you point the fingers at other whenever possible.

If you are doing curls for the girls, fine. Own it. If you are lazy and doing to change, okay. Own that too.

Seeing your life as it actually is,  and what you make believe, is nearly impossible when you refuse to think with an open mind.

All curls and no squats will lead to weak, little legs. Let me tell you, buddy, the girls aren’t fooled by your baggy sweats. Naturally, you can’t expect to be fit when you aren’t taking the consistent action, over time, to improve your health.

That’s just the truth. There is no need to continue feeling self-conscious about it.

The result of feeling insecure is the inability to accept responsibility. Some people feel weak and inadequate when taking personal responsibility. The idea that they may fail and others will judge them is tied to their sense of worth and significance.

What these people don’t understand is respect is earned from taking responsibility. You will not get it right all of the time. Mistakes are what is required to become successful. While we all know this, it’s harder to practice it.

If you take responsibility, you get the blame that comes with your actions as well as the fame. Both are used in the development of the person you want to be (and the body you want to have).

Personal responsibility measures your self-worth, level of security, and courage.

No scale can measure your self-worth. Competitions for confidence don’t exist There is no one-rep max for courage.

When you nurture your ability to respond, you empower yourself to develop in a way that will reap the rewards and praise for yourself. You can curl and take responsibility for a balanced body.

Will it be easy? No.

Will it be worth it? Yes!

Who deserves their dream body, a person who owns their actions, accepts fault, and knows they will do better in the future, or someone who denies the truth that they are where they are because of themselves?

Accepting personal responsibility is a sign of strength. It calls for a growth-mindset in a mature person.

Work on this mental skill and next year this time, you will have met your New Year’s resolutions.

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