How we define progress, is a very personal experience, molded from our past, born in our personal present, and imposed on our unique futures. With all the well-meant advice flying at us, it can be bewildering to know how to proceed on your journey. We come across daily little gems and tie these to the chariot of beliefs that drags us through our day, looking more like a runaway coach from the wild west rather than the smoothly honed chariot we wish it to be.
The reason here is alignment. When your ”belief horses” are not pulling in the same direction, the conflict will arise and your progress will be halting and sporadic.
The question then begs – How do we become aligned? I’ve been wrestling with this for years because I am all too aware of my own shortcomings. Some days I leave the stable and my horses are literally pulling in opposite directions. I can’t tell you where to go, but perhaps I can help you to name your horses and groom them a little.
Each of the 4 horses represents an aspect of health, be it mental, physical, or both… I call them the 4 F’s
The first is FAST,
– if you want to live long and stay strong, adopting a practice where you abstain from food for a given amount of time, is without question, one of the best things you can do to ensure a long life. If I had to list all the mental and physical advantages you derive from not stuffing your face indiscriminately from the moment you open your eyes, I’d be here, long after the sun has set. Autophagy is your aly in the pursuit of a long and disease-free life.
*Teach yourself to NOT eat
The 2nd F is called FEAST.
When it is time to eat, there are 2 guidelines that, if you adhere to them, will ensure that you stay trim. Get to know your body’s maintenance calories. There are plenty of online calculators. Once you know how much you should be putting into your body, you can tweak your levels by eating less than maintenance to lose weight, or you can eat more than maintenance to gain weight.
If you’re into gym, then keep an eye on your protein consumption, with a rule of thumb being that you should have about a gram per lb of bodyweight.
*Learn about calories in vs calories out
*Develop an understanding of the calories found in the foods you eat
*Eat protein for a strong body
Getting to the 3rd F, we call FIGHT….
– no, I don’t want you to pick a fight with your mother in law. – Rather, get physical. Get your sweat on. Resistance training prevents the wasting away of muscle as we get older and has been proven to keep the brain firing – what’s not to like about being a strong silverback with a strong back?
*Put stress on your muscles to prevent hypertrophy
*Remember that a robust temple can endure more
*A toned body implies discipline, and that’s sexy
The last F concerns itself with the state of FLOW,
which is slightly abstract and can be elusive. Call it Flow/Focus or fabulousness, but it’s about grounding the mind with a morning routine. Get up a little earlier. Take some time for yourself. Plan your day, meditate, and focus on your goals. Do this consistently and you will find that your day has a purpose and that your horses are more likely to be heading towards the same destination.
*A morning routine will calm things down when life gets tough
*Try quieting the monkey mind with reflection or mediation
*Spending some time in thought puts things into perspective when the little things become big things
You could adopt one of these practices and your life would improve. The magic in this little system lies in the fact that being deliberate in all 4 of these areas has a cumulative effect, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. If you were to adopt one habit a week, across each of the 4F’s… you’d find yourself on a completely different trajectory.
It’s not sexy, it’s not flashy, but it’s going to give you structure that ensures you’re making progress. Your inner horses will be aligned and when they’re all trotting in unison, and you’re more likely to yippee kay- ye your way to success.