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In it to win it

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 09:00

We’re now in month three of 2022 and most of us are fully aware of how our New Year intentions are panning out.

I love Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ for its practical applicability – we all want to look good, feel great, lose weight, build muscle, make more money, be popular, etc. but we forget or don’t give enough cognisance to the why.

This is where Stephen’s habit number two comes in – ‘begin with the end in mind’. The most impactful way the military facilitates long-term, big picture thinking is by focusing on the end goal. While specialised formations focus on short-term goals like taking a beachhead or knocking out a key enemy position, the Army as a whole is always focused on achieving victory in the long term.

This is an important approach to adopt in your life; we can all maintain our focus on our end goals by becoming proactive and self-aware. Our many good intentions aside, what we spend the bulk of our energy striving for diverts our attention from the underlying scripts which inform our desires and provide us with a more purposeful existence.

Many of these scripts manifest as goals/values foisted upon
us by society – family, peers, pop culture and social media. Everywhere we look there are people or organisations trying to influence us on how we should live, what our body should look like or what we should value.

These scripts are what cause us to participate in status competitions (e.g. ‘likes’ on social media) that deep down we shouldn’t even care about. It’s for this reason that when we accomplish something special, we still feel like we haven’t achieved anything of significance.

Choose where you focus your time and energy

You only have a limited amount of time and energy in the day, so it’s important to choose where you focus them. Stephen Covey’s habit number one comes in here – ‘be proactive’. Have a plan, act and review it to improve it!

For those who chose the new year goal of losing weight, you’re either nearing the end of an 8-12 week ‘diet’ that may or may not have worked for you, or despairing at the thought of having to sustain a grim eating regimen to maintain your weight loss.

Fundamentally, if you want to lose weight, the most significant factor is creating a caloric deficit in your body. This means consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain a healthy weight while sustaining bio-energetic needs. If you don’t have that dialled in, it won’t matter if you do intermittent fasting, keto, vegan or any other ‘commercial’ diets – you won’t lose weight!

Whether you’re starting a diet or coming to the end of one, the key to your success lies in ensuring you’re maintaining a sustainable caloric deficit. Remember, you must be able to adhere to your eating (and exercise) plan in order for it to be successful and sustainable in the long term because this is what brings the best health outcomes and results.

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