I was thrilled to have this article published recently in Z-LIFE Magazine. I'm always grateful for every assignment, but this one is extra special because it's an original concept I've been honing for years. It's a framework that helps guide my life, and it's one of the tools I teach clients. Though I've come up with zillions of these lessons, we narrowed it to seven for the article. I will post them one at a time. Here's the first lesson, after the intro of the article:
You already know that working out can make you look and feel great, add years to your life and even give your sex life a boost, but did you know that exercise is an excellent life coach? As a psychotherapist and fitness fanatic, I’ve discovered that the lessons I’ve learned from exercising reinforce some important life lessons. Read on for some crucial lessons, and remember the most important theme of all: In fitness and in general, balance is key.
1. When you focus only on results, you miss the best part.
It’s tempting to think about how great you’ll look if you just buckle down and get through a certain number of workouts, but this makes exercise seem like something to be endured rather than enjoyed. By the same token, focusing only on your next goal in life robs you of the thrill of the journey itself.
At the gym: If you usually set your sights on just getting through your workout, note how strong and healthy you feel as you do the exercises, and marvel at how your body responds to the challenge. Besides making your sweat sessions more meaningful, a recent study found that awareness correlates with long-term commitment to exercise. “Being in the here and now while you’re working out keeps you mindful of your form and breathing,” says Elisabeth Halfpapp of Exhale Spa, co-creator of the “Exhale: Core Fusion 30 Day Sculpt” workout.“When you’re fully aware of these components, you’ll stay safe and see results more quickly.” Rick Mayo, owner of Northpoint Personal Fitness in Roswell, Ga., agrees. “Keep your eyes on the prize as far as your long-term goal is concerned,” he says. “Just don’t forget that it’s the sum of your small daily accomplishments that gets you there!”
In life: Occasionally step back from figuring out how to get or do more, and remember that there is more to your existence than the items on your to-do list. Make time to truly focus on the people you care about, and be grateful for simple pleasures.“The only thing you really have is the present moment — the name is fitting because it truly is a gift,” says Halfpapp.