Good Habit 2: Elevating Exercise

YOGA! July challenge © by lululemon athletica

If I don’t get exercise I feel it immediately; my energy will drop and I tend to get a testy mood. But as soon as I go for a workout or a long run my energy comes back and after training I feel elevated. The body produces adrenaline and endorphins that make me feel happy and energetic.

Your physiological foundation depends on how strong and durable your body is. The stronger your body is the stronger your foundation is. I recommend that you aim at doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. At least three of your training sessions every week should be 60 – 90 minutes.

I have set up a couple of good training habits:

Vary your training. If you do the same kind of exercise every day then you will only train parts of your body. You need exercise that covers your whole body and that includes cardio training, strength training and stretching. Furthermore, if you don’t vary your training then your body will not get time to recover and rebuild.

Physiological habit exercise

Habit 2: Excercise © Erik Back 2011

Do specialised training (e.g. swimming technique or rowing or martial arts) Specialised training will help you setting and reaching goals. The specialised training could make up the three long training sessions. Specialised training is usually done in a club where you will build a social network as well.

Be consistent – attend training even if you don’t feel up to it. Usually you will feel better during or after training.

Have fun exercising. Play games; break a record; do crazy stuff; use your imagination and try new forms of exercise. This will also help you strengthen your foundation for developing your extrovert personality later in the process. But for now, just have some fun!

Early training sessions. Your body has its own cycles and at specific times of the day your body do specific tasks and functions. This means that the best time for exercising is in the morning before breakfast.

Confucius Knew the Secret Power of Habits

Confucius © by kafka4prez

Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”  ~Confucius

It has been common knowledge since Confucius about 2.500 years ago that your habits decide who you are and how you will do in life. Confucius’ philosophical theories were elevated to the ideology of the state in China about year 200 BC. He is one of the oldest examples of success. He belonged to a noble family but his family did not do well and out necessity he had to pick up skills that were out of his rank.

He learned a lot about people and society and in an early age he started studying rituals. Confucius lived in a time where the old order of China was crumbling. Ethical values and perfect institutions were gone; China was on its way to a turbulent period called The Warring States. After almost 300 years of instability China was reunited in an empire and Confucius’ theories became ideology.

Since the China has remained a strong empire. Today China is a republic with about 1,3 billion citizens and the ideology of Confucius is still living. One of his most known principles in both east and west is “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.”

Asian wealth

China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it has the world’s greatest export. It is, of course, not only the ideology of Confucius the can be credited for the success of China, but it have had great influence. Similarly the theories have had great influence in Japan and Taiwan. Japan was one of the poorest countries in the world after World War II. Today Japan has grown to excel in every aspect of modern technology.

I believe that some the reasons to Asian success are the way of thinking that leads to good habits that form a solid foundation. It is the belief in mastering the basics and never giving up! Japan wanted to be the world leader in the industry of steel and cars although there are no natural resources to steel in Japan. But they managed to do it anyway.

We all have the power

Both you and I have the power to excel and achieve. Like Confucius said – all men alike. If others can do it then so can we! If we cooperate our efforts will be more powerful and if we plan for the future we will build a solid foundation that will last for centuries.

Wise Words From the Shaolin Temple

Art of Shaolin Kung Fu © by kevinpoh

“To become a master you have to master the basics”

I have made it a habit, or routine, to listen to YouTube seminars while riding my bike every day. My bike is the best mean of transportation I could ever think of. I never get stuck in traffic and I am not dependent on buses or other kinds of public transportation. My bike is the ultimate mean of transportation because it makes me feel free.

I travel between 10 and 30 km every day on my bike and yesterday I had a 20 minutes ride; just enough to listen to some wise words of the Shaolin monks. There was a story about a monk wanting to teach how to throw a punch. The student had a lot of experience in martial arts and was interested in the advanced stuff of the Shaolin monks.

The teaching of the Shaolin monk was that knowing how to do advanced stuff does not make you a master. You become a master by mastering the basics. I have practiced taekwondo for almost 20 years; I stopped practicing a couple of years ago. I did not find the joy in practicing as I used to do; I did not feel challenged. It was great physical exercise and it felt good being able to do things that few can do, but after a while I wanted to do more than that. But there were not anymore techniques to learn. For about 12 years I instructed beginners in the basics of taekwondo and I found it very rewarding. By teaching others I learned much more myself.

Today I practice swimming and the first three years of swimming I felt an enormous progress, but now I am stagnating. For a while I have been thinking if I should become a swimming instructor? On the side I experienced with rowing and I became quite good at it and I also became a rowing instructor. I have proved several times that I am good at sports, but I am not a master although I can do a lot of the advanced stuff.

In taekwondo my greatest success was doing the side kick; it became good and powerful and it still is. For me it was one of the most difficult techniques to do and I decided to become good at it. Four to five times a week I practiced the side kick in slow-motion; I did hundreds of repetitions for a whole year and I finally got good at it.

I used the power of habits to learn every single movement of the leg to perform a side kick. That is the closest I ever got to master the basics in taekwondo although I was generally good at it. The words of the Shaolin monk made me think about this. He made me think about my life in general.

I think a lot of people want to be experts and masters at something and the practice hard and they learn a lot of techniques in whatever they are doing, but they never become experts; they never become masters. I think that the true masters of a discipline are not trying to become masters. They are studying every aspect of the basics; they have done an in depth research and they now everything that you can possibly know about the basics.

By mastering the basics of your life you have an excellent foundation to perform the advanced stuff upon. By mastering the basics using good habits you can become the master of your life and the master of your destiny.

I Have a Cold Because of Bad Habits

missy with kleenex © by adamdoesit

I have a strong health and last time I caught a cold was spring 2010 after a break up. When the routines and habits that form your foundation crack then your immune system will weaken and you are more likely to catch a cold. Almost two years after my last cold I have another one. I am not complaining because most people catch a cold at least three or four times a year.

But the reason I caught a cold this time is that I have been stressed. I have had too much work, too many worries and too little sleep. My to-dos have piled up and they seem endless. No matter how much I do or how much I work there just does not seem to be and end to the tasks and to-dos. I have a flat tire on my bike, articles to be written, groceries, papers to be handled, bills to be paid and invoices to send, a budget that seems unrealistic and … I could go on all day.

The problem is not that I have a lot to do the real problem is my habits. Somehow I lost control of my habits and somehow some of my habits have turned into bad habits because the environment has changed. Business has not been well for a while and a lot of changes have been necessary, but I forgot that big changes in the environment demand big changes in habits and routines. It is time to tear down some walls and build some new ones, better and stronger than before.

The sooner I change my habits the sooner my health will become strong again. In times of change the most important thing is to keep a cool head and peace of mind. If you have a cold right now, then think about your habits. I recommend that you read my article about Zen habits to get better.

Habits Are the Building Blocks of Your Life

Building blocks © by DBduo Photography

Imagine you are building a house of bricks. The first thing you do is to make sure that your house has a solid foundation to stand on. If you build your house directly on the ground you risk that your house will give in time an eventually fall apart. The ground upon which you build your house has to be dry and stable; it is almost impossible to build a house on wet and unstable ground. Well, there are ways to build the house on piles but even then the piles have to form the stable foundation.

Apart from stable and dry ground your house needs a solid foundation made of concrete. Depending on the size of your house the foundation may even have been strengthened with steel. Upon your solid foundation you build your carcass of the house; the carcass is the core that makes your house stand in the worst hurricanes; if the carcass is strong enough it will stand for hundreds of years.

Around the carcass you stack the bricks that form the appearance of your house; they give your house personality. Finally you lay the roof; the roof is often the weak point of a building; the roof is often the first to give in when nature rage. You have to make sure that your roof is laid on a strong structure of rafts and made of tiles that are fastened tight.

Your life is just like the house you build. Your life needs a solid foundation and a strong core that will withstand the trials of life. The ground you build upon has to be stable; the ground of your life is your network, your environment and your culture. You need a solid foundation for your life; that foundation fulfils your basic need for shelter, food and income. These basic things are very solid and should not change much during life.

The carcass of you life is a bit more flexible. You can change career, move to another city etc. Big changes in life will change the core of your life. The roof of your house is like your mind, it is the weak spot of the construction and it tends to fly off when nature rage. Keep peace of mind and a cool head. Do not get stressed! The bricks of the walls are all the extra things that make your life what it is and you should be ready to enhance, rebuild and change that appearance at all times in order to improve your life.

Every single part of your life is like the building blocks of the house. They are traditions of culture, network and environment – very stable. They are routines and habits that make up the foundation, core, roof and walls of your life. Some of them are solid and changeless and others are brief and flexible.