Changing Habits by Changing Perspective

I have every intention of exercising. It makes the top of my to-do list daily, but inevitably it falls off the list as more urgent things take its place.

I reread Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and the method of dividing up your day’s tasks into quadrants really spoke to me. Keeping quadrants 1 & 2 is the challenge for me. How do I stop urgent and important things like meetings, giving classes and the frequent fires in my business life from derailing the more mundane but equally important tasks of exercising, accounting, housework and planning?

On Sunday I was one of the presenters privileged to be at the Heart’s Fire retreat in Vic West. In talking with one of the participants afterwards she said something that completely changed how exercise, specifically yoga, fits into my life.

She said ‘Yoga is my foundation if I miss yoga in my morning the rest of the day just seems to fall apart.” It was the word foundation that caught me. It triggered a gut level paradigm shift. I’ve always known that exercise is important …yadyadayada…I’d never been hungry for it though, I’d been force feeding myself exercise.' Exercise' was another chore to fit in the day. I’d never felt a need for it.  But this idea of foundation really resonates in my being. It took exercise out of the chore category. It wasn't an intellectual shift, it was a fundamental gut shift.

It's difficult to explain, for me 'foundation' is a different category. It's a mind/spirit connection that resonates more deeply with my own meaning and purpose in life.' Exercise' was no longer about my physical body, it had become a homage to the body as a temple.

When I held exercise as a physical chore to be done, I had to utilize willpower and discipline to achieve it. When exercise shifted to being a foundation of my life it could be accomplished by an inner motivation.

Bringing those things that we know to be true, from the intellectual to our core values and needs is when we change from using sheer willpower to having an inner motivation. And this is the KEY! How do we move important things in our lives from being extrinsically (externally) motivated to intrinsically (internally) motivated to do? When things are intrinsically motivated we don't face resistance in accomplishing them.

My busy schedule hasn’t slowed but somehow a 20-minute yoga routine effortlessly surfaced in my life. This is a foundation, and when the foundation is strong everything else is supported. Exercise is actually the most joyful period of my day now.

I don’t know how to trigger a core paradigm shift in your life around something that you use sheer willpower to accomplish. But aligning a necessary 'chore' with a core value may be a step in creating a needed paradigm shift.  Paradigm shifts of this nature support our authentic being and I believe that when we are tapping into our core strengths we are able to better separate the important from the urgent.

A dear friend and colleague of mine, Angie Bull specializes in counselling people on their core strengths using the VIA (Virtues In Action) methodology. If you're curious about your Core Strengths you can reach Angie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

My good news is that I’m down 2 pounds since this paradigm shift…yeah!


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