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Habits, Goals, and Your Most Important Muscle

Just as physical conditioning tones the body, mental conditioning tones the brain. You can physically measure your muscle mass and BMI, and you can physically measure the neurochemistry of food and hard wiring that influences how you feel and what you do.

Exercise releases endorphins, and proper nutrition can improve your energy levels. If you’re overweight, the fat in your body triggers different hormonal patterns, making you feel less energized. Sometimes motivation isn’t just mental - it’s literally physical.

We can provide all the tips, tricks and techniques to get you motivated and keep you in the zone. Ultimately, your internal state will drive peak performance. Here’s how to raise your state quickly when you need a boost:

When you’re not active, you need to generate inertia. Newton’s first law is pretty straightforward, and is a great analogy for motivation. It states, “An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. Once something is moving, it maintains the same speed and direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Things tend to “keep on doing what they’re doing.”

That’s why habits are self-sustaining. Here are several actions to move you past the inertia of a new plan, and into the momentum that will sustain itself:

Momentum VS Inertia in Motivation

Imagine a full shopping cart. At rest, it takes effort to move. Once moving, much less effort is required to keep it going (assuming the wheels are good, the floor is smooth, etc). Getting off the couch and working out for 20 minutes might seem like a ton of work: While sitting, your inertia is effectively 0.

Stand up. Raise one arm. Raise one leg. Jump three times.

Now you have some inertia. Each of those actions was insanely simple, but now you have blood flowing. Can you manage 5 jumping jacks? Can you keep going for 30 seconds? Try it.

You’ve just started the Scientific 7 Minute Workout. In 6.5 minutes, you’ll kickstart your metabolism into higher gear. This will last for two days.

Standing up was activating the inertia. Back on the couch, the thought of doing push ups intensely until your arms burned, might have been “ugh. Nope!” If a complete workout is 60 mph, you were trying to imagine yourself going from 0-60 in one motion, which was a huge hurdle. That’s a lot of inertia to overcome.

Instead, standing up took an inertia of, say, 5 mph. Once there, the same amount of micro-effort will maintain your momentum all the way to 60 and beyond.

Build Confidence with Body Language

Many martial arts poses actually release hormones like cortisol and testosterone that will make you feel more confident, present and in control. Next time you’re feeling sluggish, throw a few punches and kicks. Exhale strongly, and dominate the space around you. Even if you do this in a bathroom, this activity can be very grounding and surprisingly inspiring.

Martial Arts Poses to Boost Confidence

A few martial arts postures that can boost confidence

Don’t worry about how you might look; take any energy of discomfort and turn it into something you can punch. In The Charisma Myth, Olivia Fox Cabane discusses this technique along with alternatives that might last minutes but make you feel more confident for days, like dancing, martial arts, and power poses.

Confidence leads to higher motivation and increased energy. Best of all, using movement to feel more confidence is quick, free, and portable.

How to Build Good habits

“Be patient” isn’t exactly new - nor is it actionable. Habits take time to form, and your brain is wired to prevent habits from changing. How to get over the hump?

Just start. The rest will come. If you see new activities as a tremendous challenge, requiring you to be in a certain state of life and mind, you’ll wait. “I’ll start dieting next week/month/year.” Nope. It’s not the diet: it’s a single meal. It’s that first bit of inertia.

You can find great fitness app for your ios. Following the whole program instantly - or any complete lifestyle shift - might be overwhelming and unrealistic. If you want to adopt it or any aspect of our fitness and nutrition guide into automatic, consistent habits, start with the practice you know you can do, now, consistently. Start with that small bit of inertia, and make it so routine it’s just like brushing your teeth.

Know what you want. Write it down - along with all the benefits and positive changes in your life that will result. Create a story of your life in the future, seeing yourself living as you want yourself to live. Read this out loud, every morning and night, in the mirror. Sound weird? It will make you smile. It will keep you connected.