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Where do habits come from and how do they work? How is self-honesty key to learning how to improve your overall well-being? Can “pause” help you to make more informed health decisions?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about How to be a Healthy Happy Human with Paul Levitin.
Podcast Sponsor: Brighter Vision
When you’re in private practice it can be tough to find the time to review your marketing efforts and make improvements where needed.
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Meet Paul Levitin
Paul Levitin is a health and happiness coach, and the host of “The Healthy Happy Human Podcast.” Through his podcast, his coaching, and his online courses with “The Healthy Happy Human Academy,” he seeks to help people get un-stuck, and take active control of their lives. After a decade as a personal trainer and nutrition coach, and now a board-licensed health and wellness coach, Paul is an expert in helping people create positive behavioral change. Paul educates on topics from fitness, nutrition, mindset, habits, and more — all with the goal of helping you to be a healthier, happier human.
Connect with Paul on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Listen to The Healthy Happy Human Podcast.
“Win the morning, win the day” — Paul’s free morning routine checklist
In This Podcast
- Habits and goals
- “Focus on how it feels”
- Paul’s advice to private practitioners
Habits and goals
Everything is the same when it comes to habits: the habits that you use to help you become a successful entrepreneur are the same habits that you use to become healthy which are the same habits that you use to be a good partner, and so forth.
Humanity works on habits for a reason.
Habits are at their base-level an evolutionary mechanism [designed] to save space and energy. Everything comes down to … biological imperative, and that’s survival. (Paul Levitin)
Your body and brain create habits to save energy and time. Therefore, habits become unconscious while things that are difficult or new require consciousness.
The goal over time is to make the things that are harder, that right now are conscious-level effort, and make that as much of a subconscious thing that I can. Then, take those other things that are subconscious … whatever that negative thing is to make it a conscious thing that you [consider]. (Paul Levitin)
It is important to remember that there is no one right answer when it comes to understanding what works for your body and your mind in forming habits.
You have to get to know yourself because that is the key to learning new skills and integrating them into your routine effectively.
“Focus on how it feels”
Intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation
People mostly make their choices based on how something feels for them, and if they want to do it, then if someone tells them to.
Internally, I’m doing something if I’m going to change because I know it’s the best thing for me and I’m doing it because living my best life is what I want — that’s going to be really when I’m able to [make that change]. (Paul Levitin)
Listen to your body as well as your mind
Notice how certain activities and food make you feel afterward.
When you align your actions with the desire to improve your life overall and you listen to how things genuinely make you feel afterward, you can make some serious positive change.
Use a “pause” to let your logical brain catch up with your emotional brain to help you make more informed decisions.
Paul’s advice to private practitioners
You cannot pour from an empty cup. When you take care of yourself as a mental health practitioner, you can show up for others more powerfully.
It is in your interest and the interest of those around you that you take proper care of yourself.
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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Well, I’m Joe Sanok, your host, and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast, where we cover everything private practice from starting growing, scaling, and exiting your private practice. We talk to lots of business leaders, health leaders, just awesome people with good stories, because I firmly believe that we don’t have to just stick in kind of our column. We can learn from a lot of different other industries what’s working, what’s not working. and how people got to where they’re at.
I heard a saying that a healthy person has a million goals and an unhealthy person or a sick person has just one goal. I don’t remember who said that, but I’ve heard it said a lot. And that idea of when you’re not feeling good, you just want to feel better. I’ve struggled with back issues since when I was 19, I had a really bad snowboarding fall, eventually I had to go to the Mayo Clinic and have this big back surgery. So I’m always like a day away from not being able to put my socks on. And man, when I have a back flare up it’s just terrible. I’ve actually found that when we got back from our road trip that the bed that I had slept on before we went on this massive road trip for 2020 and 2021, when I got home, it was just way too soft and within a day I couldn’t put my socks on.
It was such a pain. It took a good couple of weeks and changed out the bed and then I’m like back to normal. But today I’m really excited because my friend Paul Levitin, who is a health and happiness coach, he’s also the host of The Healthy, Happy Human Podcast is joining us today. Through his podcast is coaching and online courses with The Healthy, Happy Human Academy. He seeks to help people get unstuck and take active control of their lives. So Paul, I am so excited to have you on the show, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[PAUL LEVITIN] Wow. Thank you, Joe. That was amazing and I love that intro. Thank you for having me.
[JOE] Yes, absolutely. Well, I know we all have different stories as to why we care about certain issues in the world. Why do you care about health and happiness and wellness and all of this?
[PAUL] So I’ll get into my story actually right now, but it’s actually, I love that quote that you just used right in the intro that a healthy person has a million goals and an unhealthy person only has one and that kind of sums it up right there. Because, and that’s everything to me. I want people to be able to go after more than just their health. And I think happiness is a part of that, but the way I got there, I started as a personal trainer. I was personal training in New York city at a big box kind of global gym for a long time. And through personal training, I got very into fitness, I got corrective exercise, the whole physical therapy route. I was very much into helping people, but the next logical step to me was nutrition.
Every personal trainer has to learn about nutrition, because what do people want to do? They want to lose weight? So I got into personal training, I got into nutrition and then through nutrition, I kind of learned about habits and human behavior. And I came to the understanding of why is it that I can give someone a perfect workout and give someone the perfect diet, but they’re not going to do it even though they’re paying me to give them that thing? So, and again, anyone who’s listening to this who might have some sort of a counseling practice or a physical therapist know this very well therapist. That to me, when I came to that question, that is the root of the human condition. It’s why do we do things that are counter to not only what we want, but what we say we want and the actions that we take.
And from there, I got very into psychology and again, behavior change and human motivation and that kind of thing and I became a board, licensed health and wellness coach through the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches. That introduced me to things like motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy. And all of this is just a fancy way to say like, how do we get people to do you what they need to do, which seems like it should be simple, but is the hardest thing in the world as is understood when you see that something like 70% of American adults are obese or overweight and we are dying at an alarming rate from “lifestyle diseases,” which are diseases that are not from anything, but our poor lifestyle.
And people are out of shape and overweight and I don’t care about overweight from the stance of like how people look. I care from the state, from the place of living a higher quality of life. So to go back to that quote from the beginning of a healthy person has a million goals and unhealthy person only has one, that one goal is to get it healthy. So when someone has that, when they’re in a state of dis-health, when they’re in a state of lowered health, for whatever reason, you are not living your fullest life. And to me, that’s a sad thing and that’s what I work with people to get; is to live that higher level of life, a full and fulfilled life.
That comes to me, two things, health and happiness. And there are two sides of the same coin, because I don’t believe that you can have a full life, a full, healthy life if you’re not mentally happy and I don’t believe that you’ll ever fully be mentally happy if you’re not physically healthy. So I combine the physical training from that, from my years as a personal trainer, nutrition coaching, but also the mindset coaching through my health and wellness and created The Healthy, Happy Human.
[JOE] Now, were you always into kind of health and working out or was that something you came to later in life?
[PAUL] So I definitely wasn’t. Actually, I was the stereotypical kind of chubby nerdy kid in high school playing video games and playing Magic, The Gathering and drinking too much soda. I actually came to working out because when I graduated from college, I graduated with my degrees in business administration and communications, but I graduated in 2012 when it was just coming out of the recession. And those degrees, in case you’re not aware communications and business administration are two of the most BS degrees that you can get. So they were kind of just like a, I floated by in college and just got these degrees and then I graduated and there was like, “Oh, I have to get a job.” No one was hiring those degrees at that time. So I just started exercising and working out in the gym because I was like, well, at least if I’m going to be unemployed, I can look good.
I was 21 at the time. I was like, I need to have something going from me if I’m going to pick up the chicks. And then when I still didn’t have a job, I was like, okay, like I kind of got into working out. So I was like, let me see if I can just do this for a time. And I got a job as a personal trainer with my idea always being like, okay, I’m just going to do this until I use my degrees to get into the business world. Like I bought a bunch of suits, I was ready to like go, I live in Brooklyn, I was ready to go into Manhattan and like be like the nine to five business guy. And then I fell in love with personal training. I fell in love with helping people. I started to get my clients real results and I started to really change and affect people’s lives. And I was like, “Ooh, maybe this is something that I could really do.” I leaned into that, started learning more investing in my education, going for certifications and just reading and that kind of stuff and it just spiraled up from there.
[JOE] I always love when someone’s work comes from some sort of, kind of personal story where they said you know what, I’m just going to start working out because I’m unemployed anyway. And then it’s like, wait, I really like this thing. It’s funny that business administration and communication, now you’re a podcaster and you’re now running a small business. So those skills still come in handy. It’s sort of like every single report card when I was probably second to fifth grade said Joey taught talk to his peers too much. And it’s like, now I get paid to talk to my peers. So Paul, when you’re thinking about habits, I like how you kind of go back to habits, when someone has a goal, whether that’s health or happiness or even business goals, what are some things that you’re seeing in regards to habits and what works for your clients?
[PAUL] For sure. Well, one is exactly what you said. It’s health, it’s happiness, it’s fitness, it’s nutrition, it’s business. I say on my podcast a lot, if you listen to my podcast, you’ll hear me say almost every episode, everything is the same. So that’s why I like to get granular with habits and things like that, because you can take what we’re talking about now and plug it into your business. Being a success entrepreneur is the same habits you need to be a successful fitness person, which is the same habits you need to have a successful diet, which is the same habits you need to have a successful relationship with your significant other. Everything is the same. Habits are habits and doing the right thing is doing the right thing.
So when it comes to habits, there’s a few things. One is we have to understand that habits are there for a reason. What I mean is habits are at their base level, an evolutionary mechanism to save space and energy. Everything comes down to what I call biological imperative number one, and that’s survive. So survive long enough to reproduce technically from a biological sense but everything comes down to that. So everything our brain, every day, our brain comes with a million decisions and all is deciding, is that is this worth me spending my energy on? And if I do something enough, my brain is going to go, okay, I’m doing this all the time. I’m going to take this out of my conscious decision. So I don’t have to spend precious energy on this and I’m going to relegate it to my subconscious level of thinking. So all of these things that we do over and over and over, they become subconscious.
And the things that are usually hard are things that are conscious, so meaning I don’t have to think about getting up, brushing my teeth, doing whatever, picking up my phone, scrolling Instagram. That just happens. I don’t think like, “Hmm, I should scroll Instagram today.” Because I’ve done it so many times that my brain just makes it a subconscious effort. But now what I have to think about getting up and going to the gym and working out for two hours or an hour and a half or whatever it is, that’s a very conscious effort that I have to think about. I have to weigh the pros and cons. So what I want to do with habit building, if I work with a client or someone who goes through one of my online courses is to flip that. So the goal over time is to make the things that are harder that right now are a very conscious level effort and make that as much of a subconscious thing as I can and then to take those other things that are subconscious, something like smoking a cigarette, something like that afternoon stone that you just always have on the way home from work or whatever the negative thing is and make that a conscious thing that you think about.
Because, Victor Frankel, the famous psychologist who survived the Nazi death camps has a quote where he says between stimulus and response there’s a pause and in that pause, that’s everything. Because most things are just like, I want something, I have it. Netflix is, are you still watching? I say, yes. Logically, we know if we think about this, like going back to how I got into all of this with diet, with nutrition, this is why this whole thing makes sense to me. Everyone knows how to eat right. No one comes to me as a nutrition coach and it’s just like, “Paul I just don’t understand why I’m gaining so much weight.”
They come to me and they say, “Yes, I know I’m supposed to be eating like this, but I eat like this.” I’m like, “So, well, you already have the answer. What do you need me for?” Well, it’s because clearly it’s not that easy. And in that moment, when I’m driving home from work and I’m busy and my kids are screaming in the backseat and whatever, my automatic subconscious thinking just goes, okay, grab McDonald. It’s like, don’t even think about it. Now again, if I can just logically pause for just a moment and think like, “Hmm, I’m trying to lose weight. I want my kids to be healthy. I know that when I eat McDonald’s I actually feel crappy because it makes me feel sluggish and I actually want to have more energy,” it would probably be better to go home and make myself a salad.
But we’re not thinking logically in that. It’s that, whatever you want to call it, the lizard brain or the monkey brain, there’s a lot of different ways that people phrase it. But it’s just that subconscious thinking that takes over. So if we can change that and again, bring that to our conscious brain and then make those other habits like drinking more water, waking up earlier, whatever the thing is, subconscious, that’s when we start to see real growth and forward progress. Does that make sense?
[JOE] Yes. I would love to have you weigh in on something I heard recently where the researchers were talking about how some people need really extreme, almost grenades to make habit change on one side and other people need incremental changes. So for example, on the grenade side that might be, when you see people say, I’m cutting out all sugar, all flour, all, like it’s very extreme and I’m going to do it for 90 days to try to develop that habit, to have a big explosion to the system. And then other people need to haves small incremental changes. So I would say I typically fall in that category, like instead of having just coffee in the morning I started adding collagen and then I saw this bulletproof shake where I add greens and peanut butter to it. And it’s like, it’s still coffee, but it’s a little bit healthier coffee now. What do you think about people naturally fall into one area or the other?
[PAUL] Well, 100%. So this is the thing. And again, this is why this stuff is so simple and yet so complicated because nothing is that simple and that’s exactly right there. Everyone is different. So there are no rules of like, oh, just do this to make a habit and like, it’s like the whole thing about, okay, does it, you know people will always say, oh, well, it takes 30 days to do a habit. Or it takes 60 days to build a habit. Or it takes whatever, 45 days to build a habit. Those numbers get thrown around a lot and I hate that stuff because that makes it seem like, okay, it takes 45 to days to build a habit. I’ve gone to the gym for 45 days and on day 46, now I don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s a habit now.
That’s not how it works. That’s not how humans work. There’s no one set thing that works for everyone. And this is what makes things for frustrating and complicated. Because we all have that friend who is like, what do you mean you can’t go to the gym? I started going to the gym one day and I never stopped. And it’s like, they are the person, like you said, who takes that bomb of, just throw it at me and I’ll take it. And then most people though are not like that. So everything exists on a bell curve. So there’s always going to be those outliers, there’s always going to be those long tails. So there’s the big in the middle where that’s the average person is and then there’s the long tails.
And this is the thing, people tend towards extremes. When we’re looking for an answer we want all or nothing, we want this or that, we want black or white, because it just makes sense to our brain. But for the most part, most people are going to fall somewhere in the middle of that bell curve. So, and again, I get this a lot in the fitness world because there’s people like David Goggins, I’m sure you know who that is or Andy [inaudible 00:14:48]. These are these guys who, are just like, they’re very big in the like just man up, just do it and just wake up at five o’clock in the morning, run 20 miles and then like you mind over matter, like I can do, I did it so you can do it.
And, yes, theoretically, that’s true. If anyone can do it, that means you can do it. There are no super humans, but we also have to understand that most people are not built like that. Most people mentally are not going to do that. So this is why things like coaching are so important because this is what makes people frustrated and makes people give up because they’ll go, well, my friend just went all keto and cut out all carbs and they stuck with it for six months and now they lost so much weight. But then they’re going to try to go a keto, cut out all carbs, they’re going to have carb cravings. They’re going to find themselves snacking at midnight in the cookie counter when everyone else is asleep, they’re going to feel bad about themselves, they’re going to beat themselves up about it.
They’re going to go, “Well, they did it. Why can’t I do it?” And then they’re going to quit because they’re going to go, “Well, this isn’t for me.” But humans are we are literally all unique individual snowflakes and we all have different things and different pluses and different minuses. And that that’s not right or wrong. That’s just life and it has to be respected. So that’s the thing, it’s that people like, people always have this, there’s a saying, I’m sure you’ve heard it in counseling or that I like people say is like, you can’t should all over yourself. Stop. The word should imposes something of the way things are supposed to be.
So it’s like, again, if I saw 10 people who just said, I’m just going to go all in on bulletproof coffee and it worked for me, so then I should be able to do the same thing. And yet that’s not how it is. So it’s just the kind of understanding that we are so different and we are unique and there is no one right answer, which is frustrating because it would be nice to, oh, if I want to build a habit, just do it exactly like this and everything will be all sunshine and rainbows, but that’s just not how it is.
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[JOE SANOK] Yes, I feel like when I’ve made the shift from shoulding on myself or saying, here’s the kind of body type I want and it’s like very goal-driven, when I shifted away from that to being more present-driven, where I think about how does it make my body feel? Like I feel better when I have this coffee milkshake in the morning. This doesn’t have milk in it but coconut cream. But like when I have this, it feels better than when I have just a regular cup of coffee. or when I have my big water bottle here and I start the day with green tea, before I dive into that coffee, I just feel better. So focusing on how it feels, I think has been such a shift for me.
I even did this little experiment with my girls. We were on this two week road trip where we went to Death Valley and Sequoia Kings Canyon Yosemite and then we went whale watching in Monterey. It was two weeks and I just said to them, listen, one of the rules is you can eat whatever you want whenever you want. Just listen to your body. And this one morning, my daughter Laken, who was six at the time, she had Pringles and bacon for breakfast and I’m just like, oh geez. She’s like, my body feels great and then later in the day she had three full bowls of goldfish and I’m like, what am I doing as a father? Then she’s like, laying in bed, shaking, going, I hate too many carbs. She’s not going to over carb again and that was like proven on the last day of the trip where I was getting a coffee and I said, “You guys have been amazing. Do you want a cake pop?”
They each said , you know our bodies don’t need a cake pop right now. It was like, I have won as a father. But I think even just that shift with my kids to say I’m trying to teach them to eat healthy, but then also there’s a moment when they turn 16 or 18 or whatever age that they make all their food decisions. And do I want that to be an abrupt change or do I want it to be something that they’ve been able to over time, figure out, oh, my body feels like junk when I eat this. My body feels way better and energetic when I eat this, like, just teaching that throughout a lifetime to me is such a shift compared to like, I mean, I was raised in a clean plate club, like, don’t listen to your body. Eat the food that’s on your plate. We made it. So what do you think about that shift of thinking about your body and being more present-focused versus just goal-oriented? I have to hit this weight or things like that.
[PAUL] Yes, 100%. So that’s one kudos to you because that’s, you’re exactly right. So that, and the way that you’re doing that with your daughters, you’re putting them on the right track, for sure. It is 100% about that. It’s about how do I feel? So one just understanding again, human motivation. Ideally, we respond better to intrinsic motivation to extrinsic motivation. So intrinsic motivation is motivation, I do something because I want to, extrinsic motivation being an external reward. So that’s usually money to people, it’s status, but it is also how I look. So if I’m working out to look good, I’m not doing it to look good for myself really. I’m doing it to look good for others so I can be again, get more girls or be lauded on Instagram or something like that.
It really is still external validation. So internally, if I’m doing something, if I want to change, because I know it’s the best thing for me and I’m doing it because living my best life is what I want, that’s going to be when I really am able to do that. And now, in terms of food, eating with things like that, listening to your body, it’s exactly like you said, like I said before, it’s like when someone comes to me and they’re like, “Oh, I know I shouldn’t be eating so much McDonald’s.” And I go, well, how do you feel after you eat McDonald’s and they’ll go, oh, I feel so sluggish. I feel crappy. So it’s like, we already know the answer to this stuff. No one says, when people come to me and they, they say like, I do coaching and people will tell me what they ate.
So they’ll go, and they’ll feel bad. They’re like, oh I crushed half a pizza last night. And I’m like, just listen to the way you’re saying that. You don’t even feel happy. Like if you came to me and you said, oh my God, Paul, like I ate half a pizza and it was a great party and I felt so good and then this morning I woke up and I jumped out of bed with energy, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Because then clearly that’s something that was a net positive for you. When you’re eating something and not only do you physically feel bad, but now you mentally feel bad because you fell off your diet because you’re not supposed to, because now you’re beating yourself up over it, it’s like, there’s nothing good about it.
So this comes back to a very simple thing of delayed gratification. All we’re getting in that moment is that in the instant gratification of that bowl of goldfish, it’s five minutes of enjoyment. But understanding that right after that becomes shame, which, I don’t even want to talk about the shame part because we shouldn’t have shame around food, but more not shame from the thing of like, oh, I’m not supposed to eat that again. We’re going back to shoulds, but knowing what is best for me. So it’s not like you shouldn’t eat pizza. The thing is if I want to live a healthy life is pizza the best thing for me? And if I’m being honest with myself, usually.
No. Once in a while, yes. So that’s the decision making process that I want to go through. But now again, nothing is so simple because again, you’ll get someone like that who’ll say, “Well, what if I feel the best of my eating McDonald’s?” And it’s like, I mean, you could say that, but most likely after time, just like your daughter found out, that’s going to come back to bite you. And again, if we’re honest to ourselves again, this has nothing to do with anyone else. If I’m honest to myself about what makes me feel best, right after that moment, again, the second the meal is over, how do I feel? Do I feel overstuffed? Do I feel like I want to puke or do I feel good and invigorated? Some people are like I ate that then I had to take a nap. Well, I was like, I mean, do you want to nap right now? Like stuff like that is how we think about, and again, that goes back to what I was saying in the beginning of, can I separate that immediate subconscious decision and think about it logically.
Because again, in that moment, when the pizza gets delivered, you walk into your office, let’s say and there’s all those cookies on the table and it’s group cookie day. Immediately, you have an inclination, I want to eat that. Then that’s your subconscious thinking, that’s your lizard brain going, Ooh, nutrients, I need energy. Say more, more, more. You know that the second that you eat that, that you’re going to feel bad, you’re going to feel sluggish, you’re going to wish that you didn’t, but you’re not making that logical decision in that moment. So if I could think about it logically and I can just give myself a pause, so this is the first, if you want something tactical, the very first habit I work on with clients, when we’re talking about eating is just pausing. It’s just putting some space, like I just said, the space between the impulse and the reaction.
So if I see the cookies, all I want to do is pause to let my logical brain catch up with my emotional brain. Because my emotional brain is going to say, Ooh, cookies. And if I always listen to my emotional brain, I don’t give my logical brain enough time to catch up, where if I can just say 10 seconds, 15 seconds a minute, I mean the longer you do the better obviously, but if I can pause even 10 seconds to just go, is this something that I really want, is this really serving me, is this taking me in the direction that I want to be going right now? Sometimes the answer is yes. Sometime’s like, yep, I want a cookie and I’ll feel better about it. I’ll eat one cookie and I’ll feel good and then I’ll be all right. Sometimes you’ll say no, but you have to think about things logically and let your brain and your body catch up to each other.
[JOE] Hmm. I’m wondering for you, the fitness industry, especially on Instagram or on social media is so visual. It’s so shaming. There’s just so much in it. How do you, with this mindset, especially when you’re talking about external motivations, like the whole industry of kind of fitness and wellness basically makes it that you have to be external. You have to take all these selfies and show you’re working out and this and that. How do you personally deal with that pressure that you didn’t ask for but that it’s kind of natural within the fitness industry?
[PAUL] Yes, it sucks. It’s hard but that’s why I’m the healthy, happy human. That’s why I say all the time, my podcast is not the fit, healthy human. It’s not the healthy human with abs. It’s healthy and happy. To me, that’s the greater goal. And I have to have this conversation with people because I’ve had people for my entire career as a personal trainer who would come to me, they’re like, “I just want abs.” What’s the number one thing guys want? They want abs. What’s the number one thing girls want? They either want to lose weight or they want a big butt. It’s like three things and I have to have this conversation. I’m like, “Listen, we can get you there, but understand that fitness health, there’s a bigger thing there.
Like you being able Joe, to go and run around with your kids, that’s what fitness is about to me. I had a client who, we were working together for about three months and he went on vacation to Disneyland with his entire family, and extended family. So he has two young kids, I think five and seven, something like that. They went with his brothers and sisters and they brought their kids. So it was all the cousins, the aunts, the uncles, they went to Disneyland and he called me after the weekend and we were just catching up and he goes, “We were at Disneyland all day on Saturday,” and it’s like a big thing you’re walking, you put in miles in Disneyland and one of those theme parks and he’s like, “I was the only adult in the group who didn’t have to sit the entire time, who was able to keep up with the kids for the entire day.”
That to me was better than any AB shot or any bicep that I could ever, like, that’s what I want for people. Now, again, that’s a hard thing for me to sell someone when they’re like, well, no, I just want biceps. But that’s the people that I choose to work with, the people who understand that health is a key to a better life. It is not the end goal. The end goal is not to look a certain way. The end goal is to be healthy so that I can then go out and do my life, so I can go on hikes with my kids, so we can go on bike rides, so that I can pick my kids up on my shoulders and walk around for five hours and not have to worry about my knees giving out or something like that.
It’s like, there’s so much more to it. Yes, we have to dig a little deeper. Yes, people often don’t like to hear that, but people tend to be receptive when I start to really break it down for them. And I’m like, the thing about it is when you do that, when you work like that, like my client did, or when you work for that stuff about being able to walk longer, being able to climb, being able to go rock climbing, you get the aesthetics. The aesthetics have to come. If you’re living a healthier life, if you’re eating right, if you’re exercising, you’re going to lose weight, you’re going to get muscles. That’s just how it is, because that’s how the human body is made. We were made to be active. That’s why we need to exercise.
So it’s like that, it’s like, not even the icing on the cake. It’s not even the sprinkles. It’s like the candle, like the aesthetics are like, it’s like the birthday candle. It’s, yes, it would be cool if I have it but even if I don’t get it, the rest of the cupcake is still delicious. I don’t think it’s a cool look, but it’s not really a part of the overall experience, but you get it anyway.
[JOE] Yes, I mean, for me to just be able to be around my kids and to do those activities and to feel grounded and all of that, if you’re not changing the inside, it’s not going to really help you feel better on the outside because I mean, all of us as therapists know, especially if you’ve worked with people that have disordered eating in any way. They can be 90 pounds and still think they’re fat. So it’s like this internal work is such an important equation for our happiness. And I think that even, and we haven’t even gotten into kind of the business outcomes, but when you overall feel happier, healthier, more grounded, you’re doing things that you know just help, you have peak performance without it being I have to optimize everything. But coming from a place of, I just want to feel good, you’re going to create better work over and over, whether it’s in my book, Thursday is the New Friday or other things. Slowing down to me then allows us to do our best work. So to me, this fits right into that equation, Paul.
[PAUL] Right. And it’s exactly like you said, and this is why I say everything is the same, when you are healthier again, losing weight, I only use weight loss because I’m not talking about from the thing of like, okay, again, you have to fit into some aesthetic of what society says. But I mean, again, if you’re 300 pounds, then you go down to 220, you lose 80 pounds, your performance in life will be better. It’s just that that’s just an unavoidable fact of life. And that goes into work. My clients, who, again, we’re working on eating, we’re working on a morning routine where they’re waking up and they’re exercising first thing in the morning, they’re doing gratitude and they’re doing their other things, they’re working on their health and their happiness. That shows up at work.
So if you’re an entrepreneur, your client, not your well, your clients, but also, but your workers, your subordinates, your family, everyone sees that radiating out of you. We are naturally attracted as humans to healthy people. There’s a reason why you see someone who looks fit and you’re just like, Ooh, that guy, that girl, that they just look good. It is again, genetically bred into us for reasons about, of mating and things like that. But it’s like, you radiate. When you have more energy, when you’re not filling your body with sludge, like McDonald’s and pizza and you’re eating fruits and vegetables, and then you’re also exercising and now you’re walking more. And because you’re walking more, you’re feeling better and because you’re feeling better you’re going on bike rides with your kids.
And because you’re going on bike rides with your kids, you’re not arguing with your spouse as much anymore. And because you and your spouse is now, instead of just staying on your phone at night after dinner, you guys are going for a long walk and you’re communicating more, like all of that stuff is all connected. There’s no one piece it’s like, oh it’s just fitness. It’s just nutrition. It’s just gratitude. Everything is connected. It’s one piece of a giant puzzle and people feel that. When I talk to someone, hey, if you want to talk about business, when I sell people coaching, this is what I talk about. I’m like, this is, and they can hear it. They can hear it in my voice that like, this is real to me.
I don’t have to. Now I don’t have to do any sleazy sales pitches. I don’t have to do anything weird because I’m like, you need this. Every human deserves to have this. This is my goal and this is my mission. It’s that like, I’m good. I’m healthy. If someone, if one of my friends calls me right now and say, “Hey, you want to go on a 20 mile hike?” I would, I would say no, but I can. I physically have the ability to right. I can do whatever I want because I am in control of my life. I’m happy. I wake up every day ready to take on the day and that’s because of how I’ve built my life and that’s what all of this is about to me. And again, that radiates to your kids.
If your kids are watching you do this stuff, if they’re watching you wake up, do some pushups, do some squats, do some gratitude, write in a journal, like you said, Joe, and if you’re telling them you need to make decisions around your food just like I do, because yes, I could eat chips all the time. But you see daddy doesn’t do that because he knows that it’s going to make him feel bad. Kids, there’s a quote that I love where it’s like, your children will almost never do what you say, but they’ll always do what you do. And that’s how kids watch. So yes, I mean, that’s our kids learn. They learn by watching..
Again, so do your employees. If you’re a boss, if you’re a manager and you’re coming in and your employees see you, like you come in and you just sit down and you’re just being sluggish and you’re like whatever, or they see you, you’re coming in, you’re hitting the floor, you’re doing the work with them, that stuff makes a difference. So while this is about fitness, technically this is about nutrition, whatever, but it’s also about energy. It’s about how you show up day to day in your life. And everything is connected.
[JOE] Ah, so awesome. So Paul, the last question I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world we’re listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[PAUL] Every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want to know? I think that just, to emphasize that my favorite saying is secure your mask or you can’t pour from an empty cup. Because people about like, again, especially mental health practitioners give so much to others and it’s their life’s work. It’s their job and that’s a beautiful thing. But just like I was saying, you can show up for others better when you show up for yourself more powerfully. When you take care of yourself, because again, moms have this, therapists have this, doctors have this, they give so much to others and at the end of the day, they’re like, “Well, I don’t have time to work out. I don’t have time to cook a healthy meal.” But understand that by taking that time and giving it to yourself, you then have more energy.
You then show up more powerfully for the people that you need to show up for. And then when you understand that it actually becomes a disservice to them to not do that. To say like, “Well, I don’t have time to exercise,” it’s like, you’re actually harming them. You think you’re doing them a service because you’re like, well, I’m giving all my time to all these other people, but it’s like, but you’re showing up as half a person. So instead if you were to put yourself first exercise, eat right, meditate, go to therapy, go do a coach, do all these things that will make you better, you then get to pour out more gracefully into others. And, that to me, is the ultimate act of kindness to ourselves and to others.
[JOE] Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, tell us about the win the morning, win the day free morning routine checklist. and we’ll link to that in the show notes for sure. But that’s a free giveaway that you’re given to the audience?
[PAUL] Yes, for sure. So this is a free 10-step morning routine checklist. I call it win the morning, win the day because again, how you do anything is how you do everything. So this is a 10-step checklist that I give all my clients to start the day. And the logic behind it is if you start your day with 10 wins in a row, you know it’s a 10 step checklist, you hit, you checklist off each thing and then at the end of that checklist, you’ve done a full morning routine. It might take you anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. You’ve already started your day so powerfully and you’ve done more in the first hour of your day than most people do in an entire day. And that becomes an extremely motivating thing. So the way that we build motivation is that we create small wins and when we create small wins, we create momentum. So this win the morning checklist just creates a little bit of momentum. It creates small wins that we are then able to take into the rest of our day so we can show up powerfully throughout the day and feel like we’ve already won before the day even starts.
[JOE] So awesome. Paul if people want to connect with you, what’s the best way?
[PAUL] So you can definitely check out my podcast. It’s The Healthy, Happy Human Podcast, anywhere podcasts are found. And Joe is going to be a guest on my podcast as well when his book is coming out. So look for that episode. Then you can just connect with me on any social media platform, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, just at Paul Levitin, like my name P-A-U-L L-E-V-I-T-I-. And I’m everywhere that you can be found.
[JOE] Awesome. Thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[PAUL] Thank you for having me, Joe.
[JOE] I always love talking to people from other industries because there’s often so much overlap and just new ways of thinking about things. So a lot of the kind of practice building podcasts, just talk to therapists or they just talk to kind of marketing professionals. And I think for me, it’s important to find good stories, good people that are doing things outside of kind of our particular industry, but that brings so much wisdom into the work that we’re doing. So go take some action with what Paul talked about. What’s one small thing that you can do that you can add to your day that’s going to just make you feel a little better? Maybe it’s having a green smoothie or doing a plank for a minute, or just going for a walk between sessions or not burning yourself out in some way. Find those small steps that you can take that are in the right direction.
We’ve got a ton of exciting content coming up. we’ve got, let’s see how many, after this show starting on the 19th of October, we’ve got 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 live consulting sessions in a row that are all around practice development; how do you grow a practice, how do you step back from a practice, how do you get interviewed on podcasts and build an email funnel if you’re leveling up beyond your practice? Should you hire a virtual assistant? How do you start a group practice and attract your ideal clients? So a lot of really great things coming up over between the 19th of October all the way till November 4th. So a lot of stuff coming up because on November 8th, Next Level Practice, our last cohort of the year for if you’re starting practice is opening up. So if you want access to that, make sure you’re on the early bird list over at practiceofthepractice.com/invite.
And we cannot thank Brighter Vision enough. Brighter Vision has been a sponsor for years. They help therapists build amazing websites for a low monthly fee and you get all of the IT support, all sorts of things. It’s just amazing what they offer. So if you go over to brightervision.com/joe, you’re going to get a couple free as a result of that. That also shows them that the sponsorship is working for them. They put a lot of money into a lot of different sponsors and if it’s coming through me they want to know that. So that’s brightervision.com/joe.
Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing week. I’ll talk to you soon.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.