I just finished reading a book written by John Izzo, Ph.D. called “The five secrets you must discover before you die”. The book is based on over 200 interviews that John and his team conducted with people between the ages of 60 and 106. Through his research he found 5 key themes that came up over and over again for these senior people who were able to find contentment in their lives. I will not give the essence of the book away because I think everyone should read it for himself or herself. Each of us needs to find our own purpose, come to grips with how we want to live until we die and what are the true joys that bring us peace.
What I will share with you is a tip he revealed at the end of the book that was so simple and yet so powerful that I felt it was worthy disclosing. When we want to make a significant change in our lives, whether it be to change our eating habits or exercising more. we need to pay attention to the goal.
Here’s a simple how to…
In an experiment one of the groups was given cards and asked to write down a few key words or phrases that would remind them of their goal. For example, I want to be more active every day. They were then asked to carry the cards with them where ever they went for the next 12 weeks. Ten to twenty times per day they were supposed to take the card out, look at it and be aware of the choice. They were not to berate themselves or think negatively but just to acknowledge the goal as they went through the day.
The second group was asked to set specific goals, write them down and review them once a week for twelve weeks. For example, I will run 2 miles everyday.
Surprisingly the card group achieved a great more change, as much as three times more, than the second group. Why? Well, Izzo hypothesized that rather than setting specific goals that could ultimately lead to a black and white failure, the suggestion of a life change allowed for a rainbow options.
I’d like to suggest that we all become card carrying believers of this philosophy. Lets make a commitment to a healthy and fit life. Every time you look at your card throughout the day make a concerted effort to make a different choice. So, if you are at the grocery store pick the fresh fruit section and pass on the ice cream isle. At the mall take the stairs instead of the elevator and on your coffee break skip past the vending machine and take a walk around the building.
Each of these small modifications will accumulate into one significant and life fulfilling transformation.