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Gray: Exercise your brain to a better life

October 15, 2012
Trina Gray , The Alpena News

I ran into him in the marble lobby of the hotel. I clasped my hand over my mouth. The only words I could muster were: "Wow, you are really fit and your book changed my life." The words rolled out in one, incoherent sentence.

Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, just stared back at me with a slight smile. I was disheveled and blurry eyed from my late night, cross-country flight to California and he was as crisply put together as the glossy pages of his magazine.

I have read almost everything he has written and had the pleasure of hearing him present at a small leadership convention in California, where I, too, was a speaker. He is the author my favorite book, The Compound Effect. You should read it, live it and share it.

It might not be the book you cuddle up with on the couch with hot cocoa, or the book you skim while sunning at the beach. It's a book you devour with a pen in hand, ready to bunny ear pages to visit again. Why? It is so simple and so powerful. It gives me butterflies in my stomach. Each time I read it or listen to it on audio, I can actually feel myself growing, changing, progressing, expanding, digging deeper and reaching higher.

Let me share four of my favorite points for you, so you can enjoy the taste of reading for success, instead of just reading for leisure. When you read to exercise your brain you can change your life.

So, can you use these principles to improve your health?

Yes, it's actually the easiest example to illustrate. You cannot drop your cholesterol by 50 points in week. You cannot drop 50 pounds in a week. You cannot turn your attitude around in one week. However, you can do all of these over several months with simple changes in your daily habits. How? Take a look.

Cut out a soda and replace with a glass of water.

Cut out a small bag of chips and replace with an apple and peanut butter.

Cut out croutons, heavy salad dressing and shredded cheese and replace with a vinaigrette and light feta.

Cut out the mindless snacks on the couch and replace with hot tea.

Cut out 20 minutes of computer time and replace with a jog, fast walk or strength training. Cut out 20 minutes of a television time to pack a lunch for the next day and plan ahead for dinner.

Cut out 20 minutes of phone calls to get more sleep.

Cut out 10 minutes of errands and replace with relaxing stretches, deep breathing or journaling to calm your body and your mind.

Cut out 20 minutes of commercials and background music and listen to an audio book on self-development.

Let's take the first example further. If you cut out a soda from your diet every day, you'd save100 calories. Over a year, you'd lose more than 15 pounds with this one simple change. Let's say you also add 20 minutes of activity to your schedule, you'd lose another 15 pounds in a year. This has an impact on many other things in your life.

With 30 pounds off, you now have more energy, greater confidence, stronger relationships, less medication and more joy. That is the Compound Effect in motion. Small changes in daily habits yield the greatest results. Start today, continue tomorrow.

Trina Gray is the owner of Bay Athletic Club, a mother of two, a national presenter on fitness and wellness and a change agent in the community. Her wellness column appears monthly.



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