The 3 Things You Can Change to Become Fulfilled
At the beginning of our journey to understand the Pyramid of Vitality, we started by talking about the seemingly unrelated topics of purpose and values. On the surface, it doesn’t make sense why purpose and values has anything to do with your physical fitness or your lifestyle decisions. At least until you dig into it.
The last of the 3 characteristics of vitality (if you missed the other articles on the previous 2, you can see them HERE and HERE) will almost assuredly fit into this “unrelated” category as well. We talked about it briefly in the last article, which gave us an understanding of what happiness and fulfillment truly are and how we change and adapt to our situations over time.
The reason that I include fulfillment, the 3rd characteristic of vitality, in the Pyramid is simple. When people come to Thrive, they come because they want to lose weight or look better naked or get rid of their bingo arms. This is all surface level stuff (which is still important to a degree). But what we slowly find out about many people is that they aren’t satisfied with their life and are hoping to use fitness to help fill some sort of void and pull them out of the funk that they’re in. And even though fitness and lifestyle development are wonderful ways to do that to attain happiness in the physical part of your life, I want our members to be able to be happy with every part of their lives. And without that, without truly being happy (not content, that’s dangerous) in all aspects of your life, then simply losing weight will not be what pulls you out of the rat race.
What Are Aspects That Impact Our Fulfillment
Last time I quoted Tony Robbins in saying, “success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure”. In my opinion, coaching someone on how to be successful in losing weight or how to coach someone on how to build a 300lb deadlift is easy. There are certain strategies that pertain to everybody, and then you may have to fine some a few things here and there to the individual. Overall, though, the strategies that you need to lose 20lbs or to deadlift 300lbs are consistent from person to person.
When it comes to fulfillment, there’s a whole other ballgame. What fulfills me will not fulfill you (or maybe it will because we share similar ideologies or hobbies or passions). So teaching someone how to be fulfilled is much more technical than showing someone how to lose weight. None the less, there are only 3 things that have an impact on whether or not you are fulfilled with your life:
#1) How You Think
This is #1 for a reason. How you think drives #2 and #3 on this list. Your mindset is the most important thing that you can develop to help you be fulfilled. Just to break it down a little more. Genereall speaking, there are 2 dominant mindsets in this world: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that they have no control over their circumstances. They believe that they were dealt this hand and that’s all the cards they have to play with. A growth mindset, on the other hand, lets you understand that you are control of your destiny. No matter what happens, you have the opportunity to either learn from a given situation or let it eat you alive. This is my basic belief on my mindset is so important.
#2) How You Feel
Feeling follows thinking. First you decide what something means. If you lose your job, you may decide that that means your incompetent. Once you’ve decided that, then you will decide how you’re going to feel about that meaning. So if you decide you’re incompetent because you lost your job, you may decide to feel angry or depressed or resentful. This is the basis of how you feel. And you can decide how you feel at any given moment.
#3) What You Do
The last function of fulfillment is what you do. Once you’ve decided that you’re incompetent for losing your job, and then you decided that you’re angry about losing your, the next step would be to decide what you’re going to to about it. For a lot of people in this situation, they may sit at home for a couple of months collecting unemployment while feeling sorry for themselves. This is a strategy of sorts, but probably not a strategy that will get you anywhere fast. None the last, the last thing you do is decide what to do.
How to Improve Your Fulfillment
Now that you have a basic understanding of the 3 functions of fulfillment, let’s see what we can do to help improve each one. Like I said before, fulfillment is an art, not a science. These strategies are very much on the surface of things that you could (and probably should) be doing to improve the overall happiness and fulfillment you have with your life.
#1) How You Think
Your mindset is above and beyond the most important part of your mental wellbeing that you should work on on a regular basis. Your mindset allows you to either grow beyond your potential, or stay in the rat race. Developing the mindset that you need in order to sustain you on a regular basis takes time and effort. It’s something that you have to do every day, day-in and day-out.
I would start by reading the book, Mindset, by Carol Dweck. In the book you will develop a better understanding of what I mean by growth and fixed mindset. Along with reading the book, I suggest you start a regular meditation practice. Meditation is one of the most underutilized practices that can help with so many different aspects of your life. And it doesn’t take much to do…and it’s free. Meditate first thing in the morning. This will put your brain into an alpha wave state, which means you relaxed and non-judgmental of your thoughts and the day ahead. Start with just 5 minutes. Once that’s easy, add 1 minute. Continue to add 1 minutes a week until you find the right spot for you.
#2) How You Feel
Emotions are wonderful things. No matter if you’re angry or happy or resentful, your emotions can help in in some form or fashion. The goal with emotions, though, is to make sense of them and why you’re feeling them in the first place. Which is why I suggest that you start to journal. Your journaling doesn’t have to be anything intricate. Again, this may only take 5–10 minutes each morning or evening (or both).
The goal with your journaling should be to make sense of the thoughts and feelings you had during the day, especially during big events throughout the day. For instance, if you went to the gym and had a bad workout, maybe that made you feel inadequate. Why did you feel inadequate? Is it because you think that every workout should be a record breaker? Or because you think that the rest of the world is going to judge you because you didn’t go as hard as you could? Take 5–10 minutes to figure out these emotions. And once you do, you’ll start to see that you can control your emotions, and your emotions don’t have to control you.
#3) What You Do
Okay, there are a lot of avenues I can pursue on this one. For the sake of consistency, we’ll continue with our sequence of events that we’ve gone through so far. However, if you’d like to learn a little more about what to do as far as time management goes, read THIS ARTICLE.
What you do in a given situation has a lot to do with how you feel (and how you think), especially in that moment. One of the best ways to understand what your feeling in a particular moment is to be mindful, or, more directly, build mindful awareness.
Mindful awareness is the ability to notice exactly what’s happening and how you’re feeling and thinking in a given moment. It’s being able stop when you feel your judgements rushing over you and deciding to take a different path. Being mindful is something you have to work on every day. A great way to help build mindful awareness is to do a 5 second pause. Let’s say you’re in an argument with your spouse. They’re not happy with the clothes you’re wearing to a party, and you think that they are being ridiculous. In this moment, most people’s gut reaction is to argue and argue and argue, thinking that, eventually, they’ll get their point across. But for those of us who have been in arguments with our spouses before (everybody raise your hand), it rarely turns out that the other person stops and goes “you know, you’re right”. So next time you’re in this situation and you feel yourself start to argue, pause for 5 seconds. During that 5 seconds, think about what you’re actually trying to accomplish in that situation. Are you trying to argue or are you trying to make it to a party? Decide what it is you really want, and you may change your course pretty quickly.
Now that we’ve covered every characteristic of the Pyramid of Vitality, you have a better understanding of some of the steps you can take to start to become the best version of yourself that you can be. Every single one of these characteristics is an ongoing process. Your fitness and lifestyle and fulfillment should all be attended to on a regular basis. If you want to be truly vital in your life, you will take this to heart. Remember, always choose to live with passion.