The Four Pillars of Success
There are four main principles that are at the basis of all phases of my cleanse program. These are mindfulness, exercise, community, and diet. All four of these principles need to be addressed daily throughout the cleanse if you hope to achieve your goals. One is not more important than any other. They are equally important, and when all four are addressed, they build upon each other, leading to quicker and more powerful progress. The sum is greater than the parts.
I have found individual success with achieving health goals, by teaching people how to use all four pillars to overcome challenging obstacles. This is done by first finding out where we are right now. How much of our daily time is spent being mindful, or practicing mindfulness? How much are we exercising? How much of our daily time is spent connecting with others in meaningful, supportive relationships? And last, but not least, how are we eating and metabolizing our food? This is the beginning of our journalling process which will be explained in detail further on. Before we get where we are going, we need to know where we are. So write it down. All four pillars. Now we’re ready to move towards our health goals!
I have found that gradual change tends to last the longest in most people. For this reason, I recommend that you challenge yourself with the cleanse, but don’t overwhelm yourself. After taking stock of where you are, right now, with your diet and lifestyle, it’s time to write down your goals? Also jot down who else is depending on you to be your healthiest? How strong does that make your motivation? Use your motivation constantly throughout the cleanse to inspire you. Write these goals down and re-read them when you need a little more inspiration and motivation. Put them on post-it notes and place these post-its on your refrigerator, your computer, in your car, on your bathroom mirror. Next to them, put pictures of yourself when you felt your healthiest and happiest, pictures of family members who want and need you to be your healthiest and happiest. I also recommend having inspiring quotes nearby to read daily and re-invigorate your quest for the ultimate health.
Ok, so you’ve written down your typical daily and/or weekly mindfulness, exercise, community and diet routines. You’ve written down your goals, and you’ve written down your inspiration and motivation and set yourself up for success. From wherever you are, we commit to making a small improvement in all four aspects of the Pillars of Success. We improve, or extend our mindfulness. We increase the intensity or duration of our exercise routine. We increase the time or quality of our community relationships, and we improve our diets.
Soon you will learn how to not only journal your activities but also how you are healing and what areas of your health are related to what pillars. Most likely you will be feeling much better very quickly, but eventually you’re going to hit a wall. It may be a challenging change in your lifestyle, you may feel like you’re not progressing towards your goal, or all too common, something in life has gotten very stressful. Our mindfulness practice will help us realize quickly that we are starting to become overwhelmed by the change.
Now is the time to stand your ground, and let the pillars you’ve built begin to work for you. By this I mean, make no further changes in whatever area is the most challenging. Let’s say you are getting overwhelmed with all of the dietary changes. Stop wherever you are and just maintain that level of diet improvement. Let’s say you switched to organic, got rid of most processed foods, but are having a hard time letting go of the sugar and sweets. Don’t worry about the sugar & sweets, just consume them mindfully. Figure out how much of these drug-foods you are consuming right now, and don’t have any more than that each day. Then, as you start to de-stress, and feel less overwhelmed, choose one of the other pillars to improve on a little bit. Again, we are not worrying ourselves about eating sugar and sweets in this example, we are just not eating more than we normally do, and we are eating mindfully.
For some people, it may be the mindfulness that they’ll work to improve on, but let’s say for you, you want to focus on getting more exercise. Let’s say you are getting 15 minutes per day of cardiovascular exercise. Try to go up to 20 minutes a day. When you feel comfortable with this addition to your life, then address mindfulness or community time. Let’s say you are only getting five minutes each day of deep mindfulness and relaxation. Bump this up to 10 minutes per day and wait to you feel comfortable with this change.
Finally, make a small improvement in your Supportive Community Time. For example, let’s say you typically spend five minutes talking in a relaxed, significant way with a friend or family member. Try to increase that to 10 minutes per day, and again, wait until you feel comfortable integrating these changes in your life, before doing more. This may have taken you a few days, or maybe a few months. It doesn’t really matter, because in both cases, you have improved your health instead of re-lapsing into unhealthy health habits.
Now you’re are going to see just how much healthier you are, because now you are ready to take on the challenge of sweets and sugar, in this example. With the added exercise, you have increased your body’s ability to detox, as well as improved the flow of blood to your brain. By increasing your mindfulness, your cravings will have lessened, as will any addictive behaviors. The emotional support, and improved cardiovascular health you have gained by increasing your Supportive Community Time, will re-invigorate your inspiration to take the next step. If you don’t notice it right away, you will surely notice when you journal, how much easier it is to now remove sugars and sweets from your diet! Congratulations! Celebrate your success and then wait – wait until you have integrated the change in sugar and sweets before adding in small improvements to one, two, three, or all four of the Pillars of Success.