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Designing a Healthy Lifestyle

Lesson 5 of 5

Three Keys to Creating Your Lifestyle Design

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Designing a Healthy Lifestyle

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Lesson Info

5. Three Keys to Creating Your Lifestyle Design

Lesson Info

Three Keys to Creating Your Lifestyle Design

I want to talk about three other things that are key to your success, and the first is to optimize your environment. Now we never think about our environment, right? We think it's just us. We are in charge of our behavior and that's the only thing that matters actually turns out that the things around you so I'm talking about the things the physical space, the devices, your schedules, right. The physical environment that you live in has a massive impact on our behavior, massive impact. Ok, so we need to be very careful and toe optimize our environment in such a way that we clean up the triggers as much as we can that are gonna make us fall into our old habits, instead replace them with the triggers that are going to help us with our new habits. Okay, so let's see what that might look like. So on your blueprint, I wanted to just start brainstorming ideas. Think about your goal and see. Ok, how can I really tweak and optimize my environment? Tom, for example, he did three brilliant thing...

s to remember his goal list amount of stress and be more mindful, he said, you know what? I'm going to put five standing breaks on my schedule twice a day. On his calendar right? So these were blocks of five minutes age that he could not schedule b a meeting over. So what this did was joining his busy day when he came to that part of his schedule it's just automatically without him having to think about it right? His slow brain that's tired with making all the decisions this was already there in place just five minutes to take a break. Ok, the second thing that he decided to do was he said, I'm going to move the tv out of my bedroom and I'm going to make I see a lot of nodding heads cia I'm going to make my bedroom a device s freeze and zone right? That makes so much sense because at the end of a stressful day if you come back and you still have all of your devices and distractions it's really hard to relax so this will automatically help him manage his stress and then he did something that was really progressive and it's something actually that we had wisdom labs to all the time and that is to start all team meetings with one minute of silence so that was just a standard operating procedure so again you're building it into your cultural environment and this will enable not just storm to deal with stress better but the quality of the meeting improves because everyone has that opportunity to gather themselves before they start talking so are you starting to see how you can optimize your environment and build the's triggers that will take you in the direction of your goal for angie? These are some of the things she that's remember she's wants to eat better she has to cut back on her sugar shell, so she said that she would put a bowl of fresh fruit and nuts on the kitchen counter on the on the dining table right? They used to be candy lying around so she got rid of that and instead replaced it with healthier foods and you'd be surprised how effective small changes like this are because when you're you know in the middle of your busy day and you're walking around, our normal tendency is just to go and grab whatever's around on the table and just simply replacing this beforehand will have a huge impact on what is actually consumed. Of course ideally it would have been great for her to get rid of all the junk food and hope entry and her fridge but that's that's a huge thing to ask so you know we're just baby stepping it. So for now she said, let me just put all the junk food in really hard to reach places okay? So on the back off the top of the shelves at the bottom of the freezer so that in the moment when she's feeling stressed and really hungry the first thing that she sees other healthier options the fresh foods that are in front of her face and again this is just the way human behavior works in the moment you will reach for what is right in front of few more often than not the case is this is a great way to optimize the environment the next thing besides environment that can make or break your your lifestyle design is how strong is your social support? Okay your friends and family and your connections are a huge part of your success. In fact, reese research has shown that behaviors whether they're healthy or unhealthy they spread like wildfire in social networks so if I do want kind of behavior for example it affects not just my friend but my friend's friend and my friend's friend's friend so my behavior impacts all reaches three degrees of freedom from me okay, so I want you to think about and write down how can you optimize your social environment think about all the people that you spend time with whether at home at work or with your friends and how can you tweet that so that you are setting up these triggers in terms of your social relationships which are good for you which take you towards your goal? So for example tom did too brilliant things he said you know, he called up his best friend and said, hey matt I really want to get a grip on my stress, cecile and I need your help, I need you to be my accountability partner, and all that means is every friday we're gonna have a standing fifteen minute check in call and we don't have to do anything just check in with each other and see how we're doing, okay? And then the second thing is, um tom used to go to a week a happy hour, and instead he found a weekly meditation group in his neighborhood, and he decided to switch that one our off time that he spends socially thiss in itself will have an immense impact on his ability to be successful for angie, she decided to sign up for a healthy cooking class ah, with her friends so again, it's, you know, fun time with a friend and they're doing an activity that's playful and she's learning about healthy cooking and then with her grandkids again remember she loves spending time with them, so she decided to go to the weekly farmer's market with them, and this actually was really inspiring for her because it gave her an opportunity to be a role model for her grandkids and teach them about how to eat well eso it worked really well, and then on sunday, again a bonding activity with her daughter, they would sit down together laugh together and plant the meals for the week instead of just randomly you know during the week if we haven't I don't have something planned you generally reached for the junk food right? So on sunday she would sit down and plan meals for the week with her daughter so I hope that has given all of you some good ideas on how you can optimize your environment, whether it's the physical things or the people that he spent time with which are really crucial for your success on the very last part ofthe lifestyle design is what are you going to dio when your plan fails? And I'm sorry to inform you that no matter how brilliant a plan b come up with together no matter how much science we use it's not a matter of if you're going to have a bad day just a matter of when okay, so the first thing is just knowing yes that's gonna happen but this time around it's going to be different because you're going tohave about a plan in place so the first thing to do and you can ride these steps down is start with mindfulness so what does that mean? It means on those days when you know you have the best of intentions but something happened and you want to able to follow through on these baby steps or tiny habits that you had outlined he's simply pause, breathe and be mindful, which means you simply acknowledge what happened without getting caught up in the story or the narrative off why it was so ok, so that's the first thing start with mindfulness after you've done that, the next thing to do is you start to be compassionate, so I love saying that when the going gets tough, the tough get compassionate I found this to be really true in my life and the on the lives of people that I've worked with and remember compassion being compassionate means giving yourself a break and then doing something about it. So the first thing that we acknowledge when we have a bad day is it's okay? I'm not the only person who fails at designing their lifestyle. There are millions all the folks who are tuned in right now from across the world were all in the same boat, right? We're all trying to make a change and we will stumble unfold sometimes so it's okay and then the next step is to be kind to yourself. So if something like this happen to your best friend, what is the advice that you would give them? What is the kindness that you would extend to your best friend it's time to extend that same kindness to your own self, and then you can either do some aspect of self care to take care of yourself in that moment or you can reach out for support right with your family and friends, this awesome social network that you're building around you. So that is how you extend compassion to yourself. You can even do some compassion meditation exercises if that's something that calls to you and now once we've been kind to ourselves and we've acknowledged the facts, it's time to reset, okay, remember where designers here we're creative here, so we reconnect with our intention. This is why against setting that intention in the beginning is so important, it just helps you to remind yourself, why am I really, really doing what I'm doing? And once you reconnect with your intention, then you get curious, you say, ok, something happened that didn't quite work on my plan, so how can I tweak it? Maybe there's a different trigger, aiken said in my day, maybe I can tweak my environment and so in a certain way, maybe I need to reach out to somebody that I haven't reached out he had whatever the case might be, so you just get curious, you iterated on your design great, and then the only other thing left to do is to start again, so I hope I have been able to share these key lessons effectively the's lessons, which I have found to be really useful in my life and the way I view lifestyle design is not in a goal in itself, but I like to think of a healthy life as a container it's a container, a space on enable for us that gives us a peace of mind and also the energy to then go out and do what we were meant to do with our lives, right? It allows us to follow our passions and have the impact in the world that we want to make and go out and do brilliant things that work and establish those things on relationships with our friends and family. So that's, how I view leading a healthy lifestyle? So what I would love for all of you both in the studio audience on at home is go out, uses information, take that first next step towards his goal that it that it is that you've outlined, and I want you to also share this information with your friends and family, and the reason I say that is because when I mentioned before, you know it's really important, we have a global epidemic off lifestyle related chronic disease that is mostly preventable, and I think when we help each other to reach our goals, we can have a really powerful impact and make good change in the world, so I'm hoping that you will take this to heart and go out and take action and take the first step thank you so much for your attention I'd be happy to answer any questions both from the studio audience or folks online let's start with our students here how are you guys feeling after taking this all in any any final questions on any of this that we've learned so far? Yes, the question if you have ideas when baby steps for eating healthy like to avoid snacking when you're really not hungry like what our baby steps towards that instead of just saying no, I'm not going to because sometimes that just doesn't work yeah so thank you for that question jennifer's so what I found really useful there many different ways to do that? One key thing is when you're trying to avoid a certain behavior is to instead build something in its place so that's an easier habit or behavior to do so instead of focusing your attention on avoiding something, build a habit around doing something in its place. So if it's so is this food that you're talking about kind of lying around in your house or given give me a little more background it is up in my cupboards so I put for my ideas like, uh, turning on music or not doing doing other things I enjoy that baby step that's a brilliant baby step actually, jennifer because you're replacing that that the trigger the the behavior that follows the trigger of feeling anxious or ah hungry what is what is the initial trigger though I am curious is that are you just feeling anxious because he said you're not really hungry at the time is that true right? It's like and it's like I have a cup of tea and I'll have like a the scotty with it or something like that right? And I'm not really hungry is just like a comfort thing sure I also and so you want to not have that sweet along with your teeth so the first thing to do is move the sweets away so I would say start with your environment first s o if you don't have access to the sweets in your house it will be less likely of course that you would eat them in the first place and I know that sounds pretty drastic but it's very effective and you can replace that with foods that are healthier for you and that that are also sweet so that you don't deprive yourself of the texture and the reward in the pleasure that you get from eating food is just try to think of what about eating of this cadi you know this it's usually the texture of the biscotti or the taste of the chocolate maybe you might think of replacing that with a small piece of dark chocolate which is actually good for your health but because it's bitter sweet dark chocolate you know you won't end up eating tons of it so you know there's so many different ways to do it at least you can move the unhealthy foods away to optimize your environment you can replace it with something healthier on the third thing that you can do is just practice mindful eating and mindful eating simply means that when you have that urge you know you just pause you breathe and you simply ask yourself how hungry am I and I think what you're saying is your answer is probably not that much and then you say you know, what am I actually yearning for in this moment and a lot of the times it might be your yearning for some sense of connection perhaps or your yearning for some sense of you want your curious and you want some knowledge, you know, so try to get to the bottom ofthe what underlies that particular you, ernie, and try to fulfill that rather than reach for the biscotti does that make sense? Okay any? Yes, I don't see where you're going. Um I think you know, one of my biggest issues would be like, you know, finding time for myself, you know I have a share room you know, with my partner and I live in a house with five other incredibly close friends I live in san francisco constant started by people, public transportation, everything like that and you know it's not that I don't enjoy you know sharing myself with all of my friends and everything like that uh but it it comes a time when you're like you know, I haven't really had any alone time or you know just to like collect myself or even you know to meditate but you know what would your advice be on you know, finding or making the time to do that and the steps to take you know it's what you don't feel like you're canceling on people you're trying to avoid people just just really too kind of you know collect yourself yes oh that's a great question thank you for that joseph start with empathy remember when we said we were starting our design so I wanted to start with thinking about you know, your need to have this alone time right there is a need this this constant stimulation which is good up to a certain extent but your desire to have alone time is good and important that's the first thing so that you don't feel guilty about taking time out for yourself okay that's number one the second is okay now that I know that this is important and I'm making it a priority how can I fit it into my schedule now you'll be surprised no matter how busy we are have you noticed that we always find time to check our facebook notifications on a crazy internet most nine times out of ten, we do find a way to do that so it's less about the quantity of time that we have and more about how we optimize the environments. What I would suggest, joseph, one of the things that you could do is the same thing that tom did right, he built in those five minute blocks on a schedule that would non negotiable. So start there just a few minutes, whatever makes sense in your routine because remember, these are baby steps, so maybe just five minutes off alone time whenever it makes sense during your day, and then you can choose the environment that would make, um, that viable so alone. Time does not. You know, if you're living in a home with lots of other people, it might just be five minutes of putting your headphones on and listening to a meditation, right? It might be just making a request of other people and letting them know that, hey, you know, this is five minutes of my alone time, and, you know, just shut the door so that you're not interrupted was simply going for a walk. And actually, studies have shown that walk, and especially if you have access to a bach near your house, when we walk and connect with nature, that actually activates the same networks in our brain as that when we're practicing mindfulness which helps to quiet like a wandering mind down and helps us to be more attentive to the present moment so just taking a walk in a park for five minutes might be another way to get some alone time was that useful okay today um chris was anything yeah, we have some questions coming into this one's from jim sanders and she wants to know if you could maybe share some more tips on recovery and relapsing when you have a bad day because he says it always feels so hard to start again I want to feel empowered to jump back into it not have that sense of guilt that I really messed up yes and this is so important and thank you for bringing that up and for reiterating it like I said, you know, we are all going to have those bad days and relapse and really the best suggestion that I can offer you is to be compassionate on dh like I said being compassionate means recognizing the facts of what is happening so you're not trying to glaze over the fact that things didn't work out the way that you had planned but then you're also able to extend yourself some kindness is andi in order to extend yourself some kindness you have to connect with the fact that you're not alone in this all of us no matter how many times we've done this we all have relapses and we all have these bad days so it's just spot off the process and to put her designers of cap on and say you know what? It's ok, it was one federation that didn't work and that's all right tomorrow I'm going to get started on the next iteration on that's simply it so that's a great way for you to start changing your mind set, so be kind to yourself and get curious get curious and say, hey, you know, I wonder what didn't work the last time let me dissect that a little bit and let me come up with a plan that might work better so I hope that helps you with your, um, relapses let's see, I think they have one more here that just came in the chat room, so daisy want to know would have most of the steppe seemed so big and they're difficult to break up into baby steps any sort of final thoughts about people who may be overwhelmed sometimes a baby step is something that jumps out at you pretty easily, but other times it can be hard to find a baby step yes, no and daisy and I'm thank you daisy you've been really engaged in this process, I really appreciate that, daisy, I would say no matter how big your gold seems, it can always be broken down into smaller steps so I would suggest to start go back to your intention and go back to the reflection of why this is it's important to you when you do that it again primes your brain too because when we're thinking when we feel overwhelmed or stressed out were literally in fight or flight mode in our brains and that sort of limits our access to perspective and ideas so I would say start with mindfulness start with coming back into the present moment connecting with your intention on then write out your your big goal and see how you can break it down into behaviors just think about imagine your outcome so whatever the outcome is that you're aiming for what does that look like if you were to step back and watch yourself engaging in that final outcome? What are the small steps that you're taking from the time you wake up in the morning till the time you go to bed at night that enable you to reach that outcome so just retrace your steps to see and you will stumble across the smaller behaviors that you're engaging in that lead to that goal yes fatima I'm just finding that the sum has important for me to kind of piggyback what you're saying is that it's great to dream big but all of those minute steps on the way no matter how small they are all really important and that's what I keep thinking that is such a brilliant point to cause on fatima. Thank you so much for reiterating that. Absolutely, you know, they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step and that's exactly it when it comes to behavior design. Like I said, put your designers had on your your designing the next version ofthe this product and if it's just means changing the color that's okay, okay, just start there and you notice that once you're able to do that, it sets up the success momentum in your brain. It gets your fast brain engaged and saying, ok, that's cool. We changed the color, I wonder what's next on then you can sip a line, you're slow and fast break is to take even bigger steps. Thank you so much for that funny man. Great. I think we've had a really engaging session. Thank you so much for your attention. I hope you will take these practices to make impact for all of us on make a dent in this epidemic of chronic disease. That is what my fast brain really cares about. So thank you so much.

Class Description

Eat better, move more and stress less, with a little help from science.

You know you want to make changes to your lifestyle and live healthier. So what's stopping you?

In Designing a Healthy Lifestyle with Wisdom Labs, you're in for some good news: you don't need to work harder to live better, it is more a matter of design. 

In this class you'll learn:

  • A surprising and impactful reason why lifestyle choices are so important for your health 
  • Which strategies work best (as proven by science) when designing habits 
  • How mindfulness can boost your chances of success 
  • What to do when you fall off the wagon (again!)
Rather than getting overwhelmed by all the changes you would like to make, come to class with a lifestyle goal in mind. By the end of Designing a Healthy Lifestyle with Wisdom Labs, you'll have a clear road-map on taking the first, next step and building on it till you get to the lifestyle you desire. 

Class Materials

Bonus Material

Guidelines for Healthy Choices

Bonus Material

Blueprint - Design My Lifestyle

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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What a great class!! Parneet shares some great insights and tools that break down why we procrastinate or don't act on our goals. The science behind it is pretty fascinating. My favorite part was that it was short! Don't get me wrong, I'm a big creative live fan and customer. but sometimes the long classes become overwhelming and hard to follow. Absolutely recommend this 100% I'm exited to start applying her concepts and see what happens!

Nena Metelo

I enjoy the way Parneet explains, so calmy and eloquently, small triggers that help big life-changes. She helps us find and integrate in everyday habits the really small and easy steps we need to help us achieve grand goals.


Parneet is an intelligent, warm, and engaging person. It is amazing how much I got out of such a short course/lecture. She explains everything very clearly, and I know that her strategies are going to help me live a more fulfilling life. Thanks, Parneet!