The Paradigm Shift for a New Lifestyle: Why Some Fail Their Exercise Plan and Some Don't

The 7 Habits by Stephen Covey rightfully secures its place in my 3 most influential books.  While it’s inappropriate to choose the “top favorite habit” because all 7 together form 1 holistic instrument for personal growth, there is 1 habit which I have been particularly mindful of – Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw

When we put the 7 Habits diagram under scrutiny, we begin to understand the relationship between them  - which is the ethos behind Covey’s wisdom. Habit 7 encircles around the other 6 habits – which means this habit create the environment for others to happen, much like the soil, when being fertilized, helps the plant to flourish.

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Habit 7 contains 4 dimensions: Physical – Mental – Social/Emotional – Spirituality. Here, Covey highlights the significance of Physical Health by categorizing it in Quadrant II of the Importance/Urgency matrix – arguably his greatest legacy on time management:

Exercise is one of those Quadrant II, high-leverage activities that most of us don’t do consistently because it isn’t urgent. And because we don’t do it, sooner or later we find ourselves in Quadrant I, dealing with the health problems and crises that come as natural result of our neglect.

In order for you to commit to a new lifestyle, this is the shift in paradigm that needs to occur. To commit to a new lifestyle, is like to abandon your wrecked ship, step on a new one. You don’t step back. You must let your old ship – your old lifestyle – go, once and for all.


As long as this conscious decision hasn’t been made, all workout programs, all diets are merely quick fixes and a waste of time.

To the “body worshipers”: this isn’t about fitting in your bikini this summer. This isn’t about losing weight, having six-packs, a flat stomach, or a thigh gap. All these short-term goals come from a terrifying place of insecurity. Trust me, going down that road, you will never feel secure and at peace even if you have the most toned stomach in the entire universe.

On the other hand, to the “smart guys” who use your bodies as a means of transportation for their brains, and to the “hard working & passionate ones” – mostly young people like you and I – who tend to punish our bodies by 3-hour sleep in weekdays and 12-hour sleep in weekends, and often “too busy to exercise”. Here I suddenly imagine Stephen Covey's eyebrow rises a notch as he utters: “What a distorted paradigm! You don’t have time not to!”. You are missing out. Physical exercises rejuvenate the brain, enables learning, develop neurons, and guard your mind from psychological & emotional problems. Good eating, resting and exercising habits dramatically reduces the risks of most diseases.


Everything starts within you. Sustainability and compassion start within you. If you exploit and hurt yourself on your journey to success, you are likely to exploit and hurt others.

View exercising habits, eating habits, resting habits, an everything else that nurtures your physical health as a part of one lifelong commitment. Only then, your body will begin to become an instrument, it will raise you to your highest potentials. Because truth is: our body is a superb tool for this quest.

I’ve been writing every day in the last 3 months. An intense yoga session and a good breakfast immediately reflect the quality of my creative process. When the energy flows inside me unobstructed, words flow. Therefore, I exercise first thing in the morning. Much like putting oil in the engine before a long ride. The sense of centeredness remains inside me, and manifest in every smile I give to people around me, every decision I make, every breath I take. When we commit to a new lifestyle, the impact of this decision won’t stay within us. It will spill over to everyone around us. Taking care of ourselves, it turns out, is one way we can make life better for others.

What about you?

Are you ready to begin a new lifestyle?

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