Lifestyle change: Selling the concept (part 1)

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Tipi Koivisto
Coach, Founder
Reviewed by:
Björn Kappel (Psychologist)
Read time:
8 min
Available in:
DE, FI, EN

To sell something, the customer first needs to understand what they are buying, which I will be conveying to you in this series. I will also explain how to apply the concepts of lifestyle change from a health perspective. You can apply this idea to any area of life - from personal life to productivity in professional life, and surely health in general.

The second part gets you started. It will give you some reasons why you should buy into this concept - because I'm not only a resilient salesman, but I am sure, you want to purchase a little positive change on some level. If not now, maybe later on in life when you need it.

The third part will describe some benefits you will get for just trying it out. Be careful, you might even get what you wish for.

All I am going to sell you is the life you desire and deserve. These concepts follow a thousand-year-old formula*, which will surely work - and if it doesn't, you can only blame yourself, which is actually the best part! We will return to this again soon. What I am offering you is not a silver bullet or a pill that instantly "cures" you, because that isn’t possible. Magic tricks and medications have their place, but they will only take the symptoms away momentarily, they will not address the underlying cause of the problem.

 

* Now proven scientifically as lifestyle medicine, used by functional medicine professionals, and any prosperous person who ever lived.

Origin of title

On our team, we believe in brutal honesty, as scientists do. We believe honesty is the only way to build the best tool, that helps people build the life they want. You should design your life - do not let some brilliant* marketing guy, who designed and advertised our breakfasts with Kellogg's corporation tell you how to live your life. Letting enterprises and marketing professionals plan our life's obviously isn't working so well in our modern societies.

Another simple reason for honesty is that people who are interested in a tool like Habinator, tend to be intelligent enough to realize it's potential, but they also possess a functioning bullshit radar. So if I were to promise you a product, which changes your life in a heartbeat, I would be a drug or arms dealer at best.

Lastly, selling and buying acts on our pleasure principle. As humans, our behaviors tend to move us closer to pleasure or further from pain. When working with lifestyle changes, it's both at the same time.

 

* They truly are intellectual and brilliant people, who end up working in these companies, because they get paid very well. They work long hours in teams to be even more brilliant with an almost never-ending budget. The masterpieces they create (ads) are brilliant at brainwashing us to buy all kinds of toys we don't need and stuff ourselves full of crappy foods our body doesn't need.

1. How I became a salesman for lifestyle change?

Let me begin by sharing some parts of my life. I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies at the age of eight (1991). At one point I was consuming six different drugs daily and used inhaler in the morning and evening. I have never met anybody who likes to eat pills for breakfast or any parent who like to pay for so much medication. The doctors back then advised me that I should reduce exercise and "find something else to do". Maybe stay home and live a sedentary lifestyle, which gives us a 49% higher chance to an early grave? I loved playing soccer and ice hockey, so I refused to do that. Fast forward ten years to the army and university times, where I was smoking, drinking and enjoying life as much as I could - and still visiting doctors irregularly. At some point, I got interested about my health, because it was affecting my quality of life and productivity, so I started researching my conditions and experimenting stuff. Making an initial lifestyle change, so to speak, which low and behold, "cured" my bad skin, asthma, depressed mind, and gave me A LOT of extra energy. "Well, that's weird", said the medical doctors with authority (some of them used the word "impossible") and they even threw me out of the office a couple of times when I explained to them how you can cure yourself and other chronic conditions, which are now proved to be only 20%-30% genetic* [s63, s64, s65]. Doctors obviously did not share my happiness in my change of condition. Maybe because they would be unemployed if the doctors' visits would be reduced by about 90% of expenditures and 76% of all physician visits [66wr13]

My story is nothing special, instead we hear similar stories all the time - only the chronic conditions change. Twenty years ago doctors really didn't know what was the cause of diabetes, depression, ADHD, cancer, and asthma. Now we have a really good knowledge of all of them. Maybe you also know some pieces of the puzzle, like smoking causes cancer. If you are still one of the people who blame their genes and don't believe me (and you should not, I'm a salesman!), the fact is that even the conservative WHO (World Health Organization) states that more than 80% of major chronic conditions are preventable and science agrees. So if even me, a kid from the middle of nowhere with Internet access, can find out how to get rid of more than half of all the costs in the medical business, why didn't the doctors know this? Or if they do*, why don't they do something about it?

Actually many people, including doctors, tell you what you should do. But we don't like to be told what to do. We want to make our own decisions. I'm here to tell you, that this is exactly what you need to do! Design your life and make it happen! Just the way the self-determination theory suggests.

Now you know that chronic conditions can be reversed, would you still choose the easy way out, which is taking a pill regularly to suppress the symptoms and pain momentarily? Most of us still do. It's so convenient and totally fine. But while choosing this option, we miss the bigger picture, which is slowly suffering the daily (side) effects of the condition. It affects our quality of life on every level. Chronic conditions are your body's way of screaming: "Help! You are doing something wrong!" Just the way negative emotions are trying to tell you that something is bothering you and it needs to change.

Everyone knows we shouldn't smoke, drink, lay on the couch for days, or eat too much, but it's highly enjoyable, and a way to tolerate boredom and dissatisfaction. Myself and most human beings like to do all these things, and it's absurd to even suggest that we stop doing the fun stuff completely, which gives us the simplest pleasures on earth. All I want, is to sell you the idea that if you don't like what you are currently doing or how you live, you can change it.

I'm an advocate of lifestyle change, because I have done it, and the benefits were way beyond my expectations. I also know people who have stopped taking drugs, cured their autoimmune disease or quit drinking alcohol to become a more happy and successful person. Some changed because they got tired of being depressed or received a medical trigger. Some because they wanted to live again. Some simply because they were not satisfied with their life. In all cases the result is the same: They introduced something better into their lives.

 

* Which leaves us about 75% for everything else. Chronic conditions are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. One could say they are self-imposed, which sounds harsh, I know. Simply put: The body is not working optimally, because something external in the environment is impacting it negatively. Chronic conditions include asthma, diabetes, many cancers, cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's and rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, coronary heart disease, etc.

** Maybe because pharmaceutical industry have the biggest profit margins, advertising budgets and lobbyists in the world? But actually all sport and functional medicine professionals know how to treat the cause and not only the symptoms. Luckily medical doctors also begin to update their knowledge and lifestyle medicine is emerging - fast.

2. Concept of change

"The only constant in life is change." -Heraclitus

It doesn't matter in which domain (health, work, finance, addictions, relationships, self-improvement, etc.) you want to improve, you need to do something different. Most of the time, we even know what we should do differently, but we end up doing something else - usually, the same thing we've always done. When we fail to do something new, our brain tells us that we didn't have enough self-discipline, energy, time, or whatever excuse we can come up with. What if you could be able to do what you decide? Achieve what you desire? We just stepped into the area of goal achievement.

You are the one setting your goals. You are the one deciding to do something different - to change. When we set a goal, which is supposed to make our life better, why can't we just make it happen? If we want to accomplish something bigger, it's not going to happen overnight. We need to start repeating positive actions (a task or behavior) regularly to achieve our goal. So to achieve a long term goal, we need to behave differently. When you are in the process of changing your behavior, you will also grow mentally. The analogy is that lifestyle change is a goal, and achievement will come in the long term. So how do you make yourself take the steps you want to take? How do you make yourself do the things you want to do? We just BASE jumped to the field of behavioral science.

"Lifestyle change is about introducing a positive change to your life."

If you doubt that:

  1. You can't change, or
  2. Making a lifestyle change is boring and you're going to miss something in life (like eating 5lbs of ice cream while watching Terminator 2 again), you have misunderstood it.

It's even easy to bust the believes:

  1. You are in constant change all the time. To make someone realize this, all you need to think about is what kind of person were you two years ago? Five? Ten years ago
  2. If you belong to the people who have quit (or reduced excessive use of) any addictive behavior, do you still miss that old behavior? Can you even believe that you did that addictive behavior on a daily basis? I guess not, and that's the whole point.

You can change whatever you want if you have a good enough reason. Changing your behavior is one of the greatest adventures you can have because there is so much to learn about yourself. There are additionally multiple different benefits you will experience when leaving your comfort zone. We will talk about these next and even more in the rewards chapter.

3. From goal setting to behavioral change

Change is always a trade-off. It's about priorities and compromises. When we bring something new to our lives, something has to be left behind - replaced. This sacrifice means that one can't sleep and watch a movie at the same time. Or eat excessively and lose weight. We need to choose one or the other. Priorities, on the other hand, are important when it comes to choosing between going to the gym or finishing a job assignment. Or discussing staying home with your partner or going to get shit faced with your friends. We all have only, but steady, 24 hours per day.

The aim in lifestyle change is to turn something negative into something more positive - in your opinion*. It's about introducing enrichment to one's life, what they think is valuable. Lifestyle change is a trade-off between

  • Going to bed early and missing the film that you have seen twice already, but waking up well-rested the next morning.
  • Giving up the regular nicotine flash, but gaining money, time, health, and longevity.
  • Eating until you are 80% full of quality foods, but not having the afternoon crash, excess fat, or hunger. Having more energy, savings from restaurants and medical bills, but not having the euphoria from the high-calorie intake.
  • Enjoying more time with your kids without hurrying in the morning, but spending less time in your warm cozy bed, while scrolling through the never-ending Twitter feed.
  • Staying home on Saturday evening, but not having to suffer on Sunday, and trying to reset your circadian rhythm for days. Which again affects your brain, energy levels, and productivity. Which again affects your career perspectives. Which again... You get the point.

When you are ready to make the trade-off, you are going to achieve a change at least short term. I don't care who you are, you are going to achieve it, if you just try. The problem arises when we forget why we made the change in the first place. We tend to fall back to our old behavior. Therefore it's important to keep in mind, it's a long term project and it takes commitment. If you have been conditioning yourself for the last twenty years for something, why would the change only take two days?

If you decide you are going to lose weight, you need to first decide to achieve the desired body composition and then live the lean life afterwards. It's a really bad deal to lose weight for four months and then gain it back (and some) for thirty years. There is a myth that 95% of dieters gain the weight back in the next 1-5 years, but actually it will be 100% if there is no behavioral change. The good news is that dieting does work, and combined with small changes the body maintains the weight. The even better news is that your weight will drop in the long term even with a small behavioral change in the right direction. Therefore, short term goal setting can be used for goals or projects like writing a book or making a deadline, but for real behavioral change it's not appropriate for one simple reason: It ends. Just like a hunger diet, nobody can follow it in the long term.

If you enjoy and value that smoking also keeps you thin, don't quit! All I can recommend is that you maximize the enjoyment with nice people around you and a cup of quality coffee that suppresses your appetite even more. If you are a movie freak and a night owl, maybe for the sake of back pain, try to stay fit and replace some chips with vegetable sticks, so you have more energy and time to watch Terminator 2 for the second time in a row. I love movies too!

One related phenomenon to mention, connected to the pleasure principle, is delayed gratification. All of us are searching for activities to get us to release more of the happy hormones**. I don't want to take this to a molecular level, so I'll explain it quickly: Whether you get your hormone cocktail of pleasure from sex, drugs and working hard, or training for a marathon, it doesn't matter. The only differences are the side effects, amount, and velocity. If you want your rewarding cocktail now or you save it for later, this is called delayed gratification. The issue is complicated and deeply individual. In some weird way, delaying rewards is bound to our values, purpose, and meaning in life. Let's just leave it at that by saying that delayed gratification seems to be the predictive factor why some people are more successful than others. They invest in the future to reap ever benefits.

The whole point in change is to add something more beneficial to your life. Replacing something you don't need or add quality to it. Upgrade. To improve.

 

* Experience or interpretation. What do you personally feel is positive? Both rational thought and bodily feelings or sensations matter.

** Serotonin, dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, oxytocin, etc. They are released by eating, being productive (discipline), cocaine, hugging, pain, ice swimming, breathing out slowly, love, exercise, etc.

Last updated on Fri, 14 Feb, 2020