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  • Writer's pictureMike Kavanagh

I Stopped. My Life Improved.

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

Here’s something I know:

#1. Most of us are aware of the impact our mental and physical state has on the quality of our lives. We see its direct impact on our well-being, our energy, our mood, our performance, and more.

#2. Most of us also know our mental and physical state is as important to professional success as knowledge, expertise, and many other things we pay lots of attention.

#3. Most of us know what we “should” be doing when it comes to mental and physical health and well-being.

But almost everyone feels like they aren’t doing enough.

I should be exercising more. I should be eating healthier. I should be getting more sleep. I should be meditating. I should, I should, I should…

Long ago, I learned when working with people that the key to unlocking their mind-body potential wasn’t about building their knowledge. It wasn’t even about boosting their motivation, which inevitably ebbs and flows.

The kind of change we’re looking for doesn’t come from the places we typically look. We need to approach the challenge from a different vantage point.

As an example, take the most common barrier to change that I hear:

“I don’t have time to ____.”

Whether that’s objectively true or not isn’t the point. Because it is true that we’re all time-constrained and our lives are incredibly busy. And our perception of what stands in the way is, in effect, our reality.

So then I say, “Some of the most potent changes for total well-being and mind-body performance take no time. Many save time.” Here are a couple examples from my life—seemingly small things I stopped doing that made a big difference for me:

I stopped reading the news and consuming any kind of media that riles me up before bed and saw my sleep quantity and quality improve.
I stopped eating most carbohydrates that I was eating at breakfast/lunch and saw my typical daytime energy fluctuations reduce substantially.
I stopped taking a couple calls and meetings and saw these particular stress triggers disappear without any of the feared consequences.

I’m anything but perfect. I don’t always stick to habits and changes. But that’s not a good reason to avoid going for it.

Watch closely for the things you do that are a net negative. Try stopping. You don’t have to stop forever. We’re all human. We go through cycles. We break our promises to ourselves. That’s okay. Expect this. Accept it.

And try stopping anyway. See what happens.

Then, at some point ask yourself, if I can do this, what else can I potentially do?

* * *

Mike Kavanagh is an author, business & leadership consultant, mind-body performance trainer, and sought-after change catalyst.

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