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Habits as blueprint: triggering results that optimize outcomes

There's a basic principle that I apply to my own approach to health and wellness as well as to my coaching philosophy, and it goes like this:

"Trigger results that optimize outcomes."

Whether it is nutrition, exercise, sleep hygiene, stress reduction, or any other aspect of my well-being to be addressed, the strategies used are designed to produce a result that leads to the best possible outcome. This is not a novel concept but one that trades on the grand idea of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause or trigger. What am I doing that serves as a trigger for certain effects?

It's easy to see how this applies to anything we set out to do, isn't it? For a straightforward example, let's relate this to the realm of fitness. Strengthening your musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, bones, and connective tissue that, when functioning well, enables you to better operate in the space you inhabit, requires a commitment to engaging in planned, structured, and repetitive movement. That's the clinical definition of exercise, by the way!

To get even a bit more technical, a well-rounded exercise program should hit the basic health-related components that include cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and strength, and flexibility. When it comes to an exercise program that meets the basic guidelines for health, which do vary a bit based upon certain factors such as age, exercise history, medical issues, etc., the research is overwhelming that benefits to overall health and wellness are pervasive and can be profound.

  • Enhanced mobility and balance

  • Better sleep quality

  • Improved weight management and body composition

  • Reduced susceptibility to injury and chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer

  • Upticks in mood and in stress tolerance

  • Improved cognitive function

The data clearly reveals that exercise triggers what can produce optimized results in so many areas. Again, this is not a new and certainly not a complicated concept, and the underlying principle can be applied to most worthwhile undertakings.

What can I do to cause the effect that optimizes my hoped-for outcome? What am I doing right now in some of the most important areas of my life? When it comes to my approach to the pillars of what is a life lived well, what results am I triggering that are leading to the outcomes that I, and those I love most, then have to live with? This extends to my personal health, my relationships, my work and study, my fill-in-the-blank.

This is where the willingness to look in the mirror to do a brutally honest self-assessment is critical. I use the term brutally somewhat reluctantly here because it carries some baggage. Being honest with yourself about your overall approach is imperative if you're going to make the lasting changes that lead to enhanced health and wellness, but brutality in the sense that the word might convey, such as intense negativity, lack of kindness, and being overly critical is nothing but a defeater; it's not only a bad strategy, but can be a soul killer.

Let that go! Do not say to yourself what you would not say to the most beloved person in your life. The very thought of relating to that person with any sense of brutality would be unthinkable to you, wouldn't it? Think of that person right now. Think of him or her stumbling in some area pertaining to personal development. You probably aren't eager to scold and ridicule them as if that's one of the love languages that gets them to win.

What do you want to say? You want to encourage them, help them get back to their feet, give them a hug or fist bump, inspire them to stay at it, and maybe offer some ideas on how to have a better go of it. You might even try to connect them to someone or a group that has some expertise in that area and can offer instruction, motivation, and accountability. But you're not going to call them a loser, an idiot, a moron. It's a brutality-free zone!

Now apply that to the person in the mirror and set out to start working on developing better habits, which is the key to thriving in all dimensions of living. Patterned behavior is the blueprint for results, whether good, bad, or somewhere in between, so the key is to develop the habits that lead to optimized outcomes. And once again, this applies to every aspect of living.

One of the interesting collateral benefits in all of this has to do with those times or seasons when circumstances are rough and you have to go into survival mode. By developing excellent habits and productive behavior patterns the mechanisms are already in place that will enable you to endure and push through when you're in that valley.

So start now! But instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the thought of the 387 different habits you have to build into your day-to-day life, just pick one or a few to get working on today. It helps to be willing to include those that cast a wide net over everything else related to your overall wellness, such as sleep, nutrition, and physical activity, that will better enable you to then go and hit others as you develop greater capacity.

And if you're looking for some tips on getting that going please consider downloading my free guide, the 14-day Wellness Jumpstart. Nothing necessarily radical or revolutionary there, but it may help to trigger what can then lead to somewhat of a reset! You can also check out my coaching packages and schedule a no-strings-attached 15-minute discovery call to see if partnering with me as your guide-on-the-side might help you move toward taking control of your overall health and wellness approach. Either way, have a look at the guide and try what I outline for two weeks as your own wellness experiment.

And remember, treat yourself with dignity, respect, and mercy, just like you treat those you care about the most. Sure, make some demands of yourself, but do so in a positive manner with the goal of gaining traction to move toward better things. Believe that you can, because it's true! Start today, my friend.

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