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No Secret Here: 7 Habits and the Pursuit of Being More

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It’s no secret that if you eat well, get some daily exercise in, and stretch a little you’re going to improve your health. You’ll get stronger, build stamina, lose some weight, and generally have more energy. It’s a net gain all around.

What might not be so obvious is that your well-being — the experience you have of your body, your health, even your life — depends on more than just the physical health of your body. Your stress, your perspective, your sense of your health relies on your ability to simply be: to be present, to be grateful, to be engaged.

The 7 Daily Habits in the Whole Life Challenge are designed to give you practice in taking action in those areas every day — areas of health and areas of well-being. As you play, you’ll see the power of participating, sometimes in the smallest ways, in areas that impact both of these important aspects of your life daily. You’ll see the subtle power of the Challenge to create mental change.

The 7 Daily Habits

Nutrition. The Challenge is not designed to tell you to eat this and not that. There are lots of reasons we choose to eat what we eat. We eat to optimize health and sometimes to optimize experience — of food, friends, and occasions. The Challenge will show you the impact of the choices and help you start to balance them to make the most out of everything you want.

For the Nutrition portion of the Challenge, you will choose a level that makes the most sense for you: one that stretches and challenges you a little, but feels manageable for the duration of the Challenge. All levels are clean eating; and each will give you the chance both to start from where you are, to eat for your goals. You’ll select a level that makes sense for your life, not a level crafted for someone else.

Each level has a list of non-compliant foods. You’ll start each day with 5 points. As you go through the day, your job is to keep as many of those 5 points as you can. Eat something on the non-compliant list and subtract a point. Simple as that. Just like life, you can eat whatever you want, but some things will cost you.

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Exercise. Some people like to run, some people like to dance. Some like to lift, and some like yoga. Move the way you like, but build a practice of doing something for your body every day. Learn to listen to what your body needs and try not to under- or over-do it on any given day.

For the exercise portion, you will earn 5 points for doing at least 10 minutes of exercise daily. You will choose what counts as exercise. We recommend 3 or 4 “workouts” a week and filling the remainder of the days with active recovery or other physical activities. Things like riding a bike, hiking, even taking a long walk if your body needs a slow day. If it’s right for you on that day, it counts.

Mobilization. We all sit too much. Cars, desks, even plopping down on the couch at home. Even the way we use our body in regular daily life takes its toll. Daily mobilization is a tool for helping reverse some of those impacts.

For the Mobilization portion, you’ll earn 5 points for doing 10 minutes of joint mobility or stretching daily. You can do it all at once or break it up over the course of the day — it’s up to you. And yes, a yoga class can cover both your mobilization and exercise for the day!

Sleep. Sleep influences your health, your mood, your mental abilities, and even your body fat level — yet most of us don’t get enough.

For the Sleep portion, you’ll earn 5 points for hitting your declared daily target. It’s not realistic to ask everyone to get 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Work, children, and social obligations will always conspire to shorten our slumber, regardless of our best intentions. Recognizing this, we ask only that you set a sleep goal (the number of hours and minutes you’ll sleep each night), and stick with it, attempting to get just slightly more sleep than you would otherwise.

Hydration. We are water. Water makes up more of our tissues than anything else, and being healthy requires being hydrated. While we get some water from food, most of us don’t get quite enough for the best results.

For the Hydration potion, you will earn 5 point for drinking 1/3 of your body weight in ounces of water each day. Here’s how that works: take your bodyweight and divide by 3. Convert that number to ounces and drink that amount every day.

For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, dividing by 3 gives you 50. Drink 50 ounces each day. Drinks like water, coconut water and herbal tea count. Drinks like black tea and coffee don’t.

Well-Being Practices. This is where you’ll gain practice in your experience of health. Life is not just the food you eat and the exercise you get. It’s the experience and connection you feel to it; the mental aspect of health.

For the Well-Being Practice portion, we will announce a new practice each week. You will earn 5 point for following the guidelines, which will be included in the weekly announcement, for that practice every day. Practices may include things like meditating, turning off your electronics during meals, or writing in a gratitude journal.

Reflection. Your Challenge ends daily by looking back. Looking at what worked, what didn’t work out like you intended, what you learned, and maybe what you’ll do differently the next time you’re faced with the same choices. Your reflections will display in your team’s communication feed where you all can comment, support, and share tips with each other.

For the Reflection portion, you will earn 5 point for entering a brief journal-style entry when you submit your score. Your reflection must be at least 25 characters long.

These are the 7 Daily Habits of the Whole Life Challenge. The magic is in the practice of them. By taking small, manageable actions and making measurable changes in each one as much as possible each day, players have gotten results that go far beyond simple diet and exercise. They have discovered a life that they never knew was possible.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.