People have asked me what book has influenced me most in my career. I can think of two dozen. Yet, one book stands out in my mind. It’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.
One of the things I love about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that it is a principle-centered paradigm. Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value — they are fundamental. It ignores trends in favor of proven principles of integrity, fairness, honesty, human dignity and character. Character comes from our daily habits. Changing habits takes commitment.
If you want to change health habits, start with commitment.
- I heard a reporter say the number one New Year‘s Eve resolution Americans had is to get fit. I couldn’t believe it. So many books. So many tapes. So many fitness gurus and people STILL need help. I’m aware that hundreds, if not thousands of health and fitness books are available, but obviously people are still crying out for help. Since I’m in the habit of helping people, here is my two cents. I’ve talked to countless healthy individuals and there is common ground in terms of daily habits.
- Time to TURN ON THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY HEALTHY PEOPLE:
Habit 1. MeditatiON
Habit 2. HydratiON
Habit 3. NutritiON
Habit 4. MotivatiON
Habit 5. ActivatiON
Habit 6. CreatiON
Habit 7. RelaxatiON
Habit 8. ModeratiON
- I added an 8th habit. Covey did too. You first start with a commitment to doing these 7 or 8 things each day of your life.
- Anything of value in life takes commitment. Great health is a choice. A lifestyle. If you’re not willing to commit to something you’re what my parents call, “A Good Time Charlie”. A Good Time Charlie is the type of guy or gal that walks around the gym dressed like they’re going to work out, but they just walk around looking like a fashionable ad for Nike. Only they don’t “Do It”.
- Good relationships, good health and a good life ALL begin with having your priorities and essential values in order.
Health should be a top priority. Without it, all else can fall apart.
- If you think about each item on this list, visualize them and incorporate them into your daily life, I can assure you that next year when New Year’s Eve rolls around you won’t be back to the same old resolutions regarding your health, wellness and fitness. Instead, you’ll be balanced happy to do what you’ve always done and able to focus on Creation, Relaxation and Moderation instead.
- The above are 7 simple principles that have kept me fit and healthy since I was a kid. I don’t believe in extremes. I don’t believe in fads. While those things can be fun, I believe that ultimately it’s your daily habits that define how you feel. In health, self-mastery is key. Covey says private victories precede public victories. He’s right.
- If you can get through this checklist in one day, that’s a private victory. Do it again the next until you get through a week. Before you know it a month has gone by. Tell me how you feel after a month. Too many people give up after a few days or a week. Jeans still don’t fit. Don’t go by that. Remember, healthy doesn’t wear tight. Healthy wears comfortable. Healthy is confident.
- While making the list, I couldn’t help but notice each chapter title ends with the word ON. I don’t believe that’s an accident. It’s because you need to turn each habit ON every day in order to achieve a long-term healthy lifestyle.
- The key is waking up to a mental Checklist. I’ve placed the items in the order you do them each day. Meditation comes first. That means you don’t wake up screaming, rushing or doing anything. You wake up calm. You breathe. You give thanks and gratitude for just being alive.
- Give gratitude for nature. Another thing to turn ON. AppreciatiON. You close your eyes for a moment and fill your mind with positive thoughts about your new day. I don’t care if you only 2-minutes to do this –that’s enough time to make difference. Just do it.
- The next item on your list is Hydration. Here’s where YOU have another CHOICE. You wake up thirsty. You can grab 1. coffee 2. orange juice 3. energy drink 4. water. You’re hungry. Another choice. 1. Nothing 2. Cereal 3. Eggs 4. Bagel 5. Donuts.
- I don’t even have to tell you which item is the best choice on each list. You already know. In case you don’t, I’ll followup with another post about Nutrition since a lot of people ask me what I eat every day. I’ll share that in my next post. I understand how it’s gotten to the point where you can walk into a grocery store and feel overwhelmed, not knowing what is good or bad for you anymore.
Next is Motivation. Activation. Creation.
- Motivation requires pumping yourself up. Affirmations are a great way to do that. They seem silly, but they’re not. They work. Your mind is a sponge. Negative in. Negative out. If all you’ve ever heard is you’re dumb, ugly and fat — your mind starts to believe it and you act accordingly.
- If all you’ve ever heard is negativity — start to replace it NOW. Surround yourself with people who see the best in you and celebrate you. Be that person for yourself. If you can’t think of anything, let someone help you.
- Today on Facebook, John Assaraf, another favorite self-help author of mine, posted some sample affirmations you can use daily (from pg 140 of his book Having It All): I live each day with passion and purpose. I am a success in all that I do. My life is now filled with prosperity and abundance. Day by day, in every way, I am better and better.
- Start with the Meditation. Hydrate with water. Fuel hunger with nutritious foods. Fuel your mind with positive thoughts. After you do this for a while your motivation will kick in to take action. Action involves moving, which gets your heart pumping. It will release natural feel good hormones in you.
- Those feel good hormones are the ones that fuel creation. Suddenly, your mind is clear. You can think. You can create. Never underestimate a good night’s rest every night, which is why I added relaxation to the list. The goal should be between 8 and 10 hours a night.
- I’d like to talk about Activation a little more as it involves being active. Yes, exercise. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Every day make a commitment to walk at least 30 minutes until you can get that up to one hour. You can break it up into four 15-minute intervals. That’s all. It’s that easy.
- At the end of the year, you will be amazed at the long-term change. You don’t have to belong to a gym. Walk around the block. Walk to the store to get water. Walk around the house. Walk around your kitchen counter. Just walk. Stretching and walking are amazing and my primary modes of exercise. Anything else I do is icing on the cake.
- If you review Covey’s list for being highly effective, you will notice they too can be applied to health, wellness and fitness. The first one is be proactive. Absolutely. The second says to begin with the end in mind. That’s why gyms have photos of fit people hanging on the walls.
- The third says put first things first which is about priorities. You can’t function at your best if you haven’t gotten enough nutrition, exercise, hydration or rest. First things first. Think win-win can be applied to your health because you being fit means you’ll have more energy to give to others. When you feel better, your mood improves, your work improves and people around you are happy to be around you.
STEPHEN R. COVEY is a best-selling author, speaker, international entrepreneur, father of 9, and grandfather of 44. He doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk. He is as committed in his personal life as he is professionally. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.” When you think of Covey it’s the opposite. Who he is speaks so loudly, he doesn’t even need to speak. That defines presence.
- If you’ve never read Covey’s book, here’s a quick refresher. The 7 Habits are: 1. Be Proactive 2. Begin with the End in Mind 3. Put First Things First 4. Think Win-Win 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood 6. Synergize and 7. Sharpen the Saw.
- Clearly, I’m not the only one influenced by this book. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey is recognized as the #1 most influential book of the Twentieth Century. It has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication. Covey is recognized as one of Time magazine‘s 25 most influential Americans. He proves how every person can truly control their destiny with profound, yet straight forward guidance.
I believe the same principles can be applied to your HEALTH.
- Whenever I scan the bookstores for health and fitness books they all appear to be a bit gimmicky to me. They make you change who you are to achieve what you want. If you are not a gym rat, you’re not suddenly going to become one. You’ll do it with gusto for a while, but your old habits will kick back in. If you follow these 7 Habits of Highly Healthy People, the change will begin from the inside. That’s what you want. You will get to a point where you wake up and are mindful of what you do. Your mind is connected to your body. Time to turn it ON.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Dorfner is a multi-award-winning medical/health journalist and television producer, who has specialized in health for three decades. Her health stories and series have aired nationally on NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CNN and DISCOVERY HEALTH. Turn ON: The 7 Habits of Highly Healthy People is her first book, which she hopes will provide a daily reference towards long-term lifestyle changes instead of quick fixes that make people have the same resolution each year. She says, “When people are fit and healthy, their New Year’s resolution can then be other-focused. They will have the natural energy they need to be of service to others. Ultimately, that is what great health is really all about.” If you enjoyed this blog, please follow for updates and to receive notifications of new posts. Thank you.