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The Exercise of Living Happier

With January comes the onslaught of TV ads aimed at workout videos and ‘get thin quick’ products.  I confess I am fascinated by these products and have in my younger years gotten hooked by these ads and purchased one or two of them (ok more like 5-10).  In my obsessive viewing I have found, the marketing for these ads seems to go one of two ways.

The Extreme Workout Trend. These workout videos are extreme.  The message is you have to work out to the max in order to have a healthy, sexy body.  You have to put your body through the ringer and give 60 minutes a day of HARD exercise in order to be thin and beautiful.

or

Just do a few minutes a day. This is the ‘in as little as 15 minutes a day’ you can lose weight and get fit’ idea.  These ad show people working out and moving around but they are no where near the extreme version of option one.  The message is just do something and you are bound to get thinner.

The flaw is in the design, in the extreme version you see results quickly but you get burned out, injured or just plain exhausted.  In the few minutes a day video it might work at first but the more in shape you get the more you need to challenge your body, so you won’t see results as quickly so you get discouraged, you give up.  Truth is and we all know move your body eat less and you will lose weight. You don’t have to be extreme but you do have to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone.

Why am I talking about workout videos on a live happier blog?  Well, I think we tend to take these extreme ideas when it comes to our own mental health or growth.   We are either EXTREME about changing old habits, being intentional or building awareness (borderline obsessive) or we are more laid back about it, only doing it when it is convenient.

Wanting to Live Happier is in many ways similar to wanting to build a strong lean body.

It is about:

  • building awareness and paying attention to the voices taking up residence in your head,
  • being intentional about how you spend your time,
  • living from your values and being congruent with what you want from your life and what you are putting out into the world
  • greeting yourself and the world with love, acceptance and curiosity.

Similar to exercise, Living Happier is a daily practice.  It takes time, effort and diligence.

Just like the exercise programs, if you took on all 4 of those goals above you would burn out, and give up and if you just committed to it a few minutes a day you won’t see any real change.   All change is incremental and all change takes time and commitment.

So if you are new to the Live Happier concept pick one of those goals and throughout the day pay attention to yourself and how well you are living up to the goal.  Once you get that idea incorporated into your life pick another goal.  Be patient, be intentional and be committed.  Soon the goals of Living Happier will be part of your daily routine.

Too often I see clients saying they want to change, they want to live happier and start changing everything at once (they take the extreme workout version) and so they are overwhelmed and overwrought.  Living Happier and losing weight require tremendous amounts of self love and acceptance.  If you work so hard you end up hurting yourself it isn’t worth it and if you aren’t committed it won’t work.

What tends to be your ‘change’ style? What tips do you have for Living Happier? What changes have you made in your life to Live Happier?

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