Living in the Zone Mini-Guide

Living in the zone, now that sounds good. Can you honestly say that you live your life in the zone? What is “the zone”? Have you ever heard elite athletes talk about being in the zone when they are training and competing? Maybe you have experienced this feeling temporarily in the past. The problem is that even though many of us have experienced “the zone” before, it was usually by accident and you have not been able to repeat the experience or call on it at will.

When I refer to living in the zone, I am referring to that state of flow and harmony where your life seems to just flow almost effortlessly and things just fall into place. Sure there are challenges but you seem to be able to set goals with the absolute certainty that they will be achieved. You wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, healthy and revived. Each area of your life is balanced from career to relationships to your physical health.

This mini-guide is a support material to the Living in the Zone seminar conducted by Personal Evolution but may also be used alone for great results.

The following topics are covered in Living in the Zone:

Decisions, the power to shape your life.

Beliefs and the ultimate power of your mind.

Harnessing the power of imagination through mental conditioning.

Importance of physical health with research from both sides of the fence.

Easy application of health and fitness principles. This includes knowing your outcome and purpose, creating an action plan, consistency and the science of progressive overload.

Fitness tips and principles. This includes the facts behind the high vs. low intensity debate, strength vs. cardio (it’s all effort), the function of the body as a system rather than a collection of parts and utilisation.

Decisions; the power to shape your life

If you want to be living in the zone then you need to decide to. Everything starts with a decision. Let me paint a picture for you…

After work every Friday you go to a local bar and drink with your friends. There is nothing wrong with that but what if you decided to do something different one day?

One Friday you decide to do something different. You bypass the bar and head for the gym. You start an exercise programme. Seems like a fairly innocent decision but the processional effects can spiral and become huge in the long term. With your old habits you may get bored with your life, settle in a marriage that you’re not happy with, be unhappy with your health and your body, never have enough money to do the things you really want to do etc. It could be worse, it could be better depending on other factors.

That tiny decision to go to the gym could take your life in a whole new direction. Lets take the scenario further; your instructor/trainer becomes a very close friend of the opposite sex, you share a few experiences and enjoy each other’s company. Along the way you have a newfound passion for fitness with a whole new circle of friends to share it with.

Eventually you decide that your current career is limiting and seek out certification as a fitness trainer. You start a business with your new fiance the fitness trainer. I could go on but you get the idea. One small decision such as deciding to visit a gym one Friday instead of the bar has led to a completely different life. Decisions always work this way, large or small, for the better or for the worse.

Do you remember what your life was like five years ago? Take a moment now to remember. Was it better or worse than it is now? What was the world like? What were you hearing on the news? What were your hopes and dreams? Right now are you where you planned to be back then? Why or why not? Five years can go pretty fast can’t it?

The thing to ask yourself is where do I want to be in the next year, five years, ten years? How are you going to live today to ensure you have the future you desire? How are you going to start living in the zone?

In five years you will surely arrive. There is no question about it, you simply have to arrive five years in the future, that’s a given. The question is where? Who will you be? How will you live? What will you have? Will you be happy? In five years you will be looking back on today like you are looking back on the past five years now. It’s time to design the next five to ten years of your life by making some intelligent decisions.

Applying the power of decision

Living in the zone begins with a decision, a decision to change your life forever.

According to Anthony Robbins, there are three important decisions you MUST make in order to create a great quality of life:

You must decide what to focus on. What you focus on determines your experience of life and will have a major impact on every other decision you will ever make. Decide what things mean to you. It’s not what happens to you that determines your outcomes and your experiences, it’s how you interpret what happens to you. Two people can have the exact same circumstances and end up with entirely different results. You also must decide what to do to create your life. Many things will happen to you, you will have many experiences. What you do is what will determine the outcome. Decide what actions you will take on a daily basis throughout each experience in your life.

Make some decisions today that will change the course of your life using the following simple but effective steps:

Make three decisions that will lead you on a different path. If you decide to start an exercise programme, where will it take you? What if you decide to quit smoking? You may decide to start on that business plan you have been putting off for years. Whatever the decision, large or small, make three of them today and commit to them. A decision is nothing unless it is committed to and acted upon.

Never leave the scene of a decision without taking the first step, without taking some kind of action immediately. A real decision is something that is acted upon. Once you take the first step and have taken action it is a cause set in motion, even if that step is entirely wrong. Never mind what the next step will be or the entire plan, just take action immediately. Organise your resources. Start listing and brainstorming the tangible and intangible resources you currently have available to follow through with your decision.

Create a short term strategy. It may not be the ultimate and most effective strategy available but at least it is something to start with. By procrastinating and waiting for the “right” moment or strategy to present itself you will be diminishing the power of the decision. The strategy can be a skeleton or a basis to move from and can be altered and improved throughout the process of following through.

Remember that a true decision is actually easier to make than a half-arsed one. Once you have made a decision that is it, it’s a cause set in motion that you now must do everything you can to turn into a reality.

Beliefs; the ultimate power of your mind

What you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt is what determines everything you experience in life. If you believe you will fail at something then of course you will fail. Beliefs relate strongly to decisions. At some point in your life you made a conscious or unconscious decision to believe certain things. Do you want your beliefs to move you closer to living in the zone in your life or further away?

How do your beliefs impact your life right now? There are two kinds of beliefs that have an affect on your life.

The first type is generalisations. These can be helpful but they can also be disempowering. Generalisations are set up with the intention of being useful, and they are. If you couldn’t generalise then every time you went to sit on a chair you haven’t seen before you would not know what to do with it. Your brain created generalisations about chairs so that you can recognise one type of chair from another and immediately know what to do with it.

That’s just one simple example.

Generalisations can also create massive pain and limit you in unbelievable ways. We all have generalisations about certain things. Racism is a generalisation about an entire race of people. You might generalise about people, about life, about the world, about members of the opposite sex etc. Generalisations can usually be recognised by is/am/are; life is, I am, people are etc.

It is obvious that beliefs as wide and general as these can effect every area of your life. It affects the decisions you make, they affect the actions you take or don’t take. What you believe is real, whether it’s real to anybody else or not. By changing a single limiting generalisation you can change your life in massive ways.

The second type of beliefs are personal beliefs. Personal beliefs are certain things you believe about specific aspects of your life and the lives of others. A simple example is a belief such as “I am a great public speaker” or “I’m fat, that’s just who I am”. Believing these sorts of things will strengthen themselves simply because they fulfil themselves and provide evidence to back them up. The longer you hold a belief the stronger it becomes.

The problem is that many of the beliefs we have are extremely limiting and are having a detrimental effect on our lives.

Take some time right now to write down a few of your limiting beliefs. What do you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that could be limiting your life?

The power of beliefs

Lets look at a few examples of how powerful a belief can truly be.

Faith Healers: I apologise to anyone if this offends. Throughout the ages there have been people claiming to heal using the power of God or some other force outside of themselves. For those that attend the revival meetings and undergo healing from a faith healer, they often do experience real results simply because they believe. The same is true for witch doctors and mystics applying curses. When someone of a certain faith has the bone pointed at them they often actually die simply because their belief in the curse is so real.

Placebos and medical marvels: For many years there have been trials with drugs comparing them to the placebo which is a completely inactive substance or treatment. Most of the time the expected effects of the drug or treatment are experienced with the placebo group. This also applies to things such as hypnosis, which is generally so effective due to the subject’s belief in the trance.

There was an experiment many years ago between two groups of young students. One group were labelled as genius and the other as troubled. The students were not told of their label. Instead each group, including their teacher, was told they were the opposite of what the tests really revealed. The genius group were told they were troubled and vice versa.

The effects were as if each group were given the correct label. The genius labelled troubled showed all the signs of troubled kids and the troubled group labelled genius showed all the signs of being genius. This is simply because the experts had provided these labels and the teachers and students took it as truth and believed it.

Athletes and world record holders: All world records started with the majority of people believing they couldn’t be achieved. The example I am going to provide is Roger Bannister and the impossible four minute mile. Prior to him breaking four minutes, it was believed true that running a mile in under four minutes was physically impossible. Because of this belief there were no athletes that could do it. So in essence it was truth. But Roger Bannister believed it could be done and that he would be the one to prove it.

He rehearsed the race in his mind hundreds of times until the day came when he broke it. After Roger Bannister broke the record, 37 other runners did the same within one year afterwards and over 100 the year after. Today the four minute mile is long gone and runners at elite level are expected to be able to run a long way under that barrier.

Beliefs are so powerful they can have an effect on all aspects of your life. Whatever you believe will be reality for you. Beliefs have been shown to create unexplained physical changes in people and give people enormous power or enormous limitations. Beliefs are the true power of the mind, if you believe something beyond a shadow of a doubt then it is likely it will manifest in some form.

How to change a belief and install new ones

Beliefs are ideas which you are certain are true. If you believe something then you are saying you are certain that it is true without a doubt. Beliefs are created through references. References are experiences that support the belief, whether real or imagined. For you to believe something then you must have some kind of reference or basis for believing it. You can start out not believing something then end up believing it if there is enough supporting evidence to convince you.

I will provide a two step process for eliminating a belief and then another process for installing new ones.

Eliminating a limiting belief:

Create a neuro-association of massive pain to the limiting belief: Pain is the universal motivator, it is leverage. Whatever you believe that is limiting you, link massive pain to holding that belief. Write down what this belief has cost you in the past, what it is costing you in your life right now and what consequences to expect in the future. Associate on an emotional level to the pain that this belief has caused and what it will continue to cause.

Create doubt and destroy references: Beliefs are supported by references, by proof. By changing the meaning of the references in your mind you can change the belief. If you need to you can even create references that contradict that belief. Do this enough to create doubt that the belief is real. This may take time but do it as intensely as possible. Create new references and destroy old ones that support the limiting belief. Eventually you will not hold this belief just through shaking the references that hold it together.

Installing an empowering belief:

Choose a belief and the purpose for believing it: Even if the belief seems total fantasy at the time, indulge in it. Pretend that it is real. What belief could you adopt right now that would empower your life? Why would it empower your life?

Create references in support of your new belief: Create a list of references that support this new belief. What kind of proof is there? Have fun with this one, invent references in your imagination if you have to. This may be an ongoing process, change your perception of events and experiences in support of this new belief. You already do this unconsciously for limiting beliefs.

Both of these very simple two-step processes can have a powerful effect on your life. By installing powerful beliefs you will already be living in the zone.

Harnessing the power of your imagination and your mind

By consistently conditioning your mind and your imagination you can tap into a potential you possess that very few people ever get to experience. This requires consistency and discipline.

There are two simple processes you can use to harness the power of your mind and imagination. These two processes are designed to condition beliefs and certainty in yourself.

The first process is visualisation. You have no doubt heard countless gurus promote visualisation but have probably gotten confused about what works and what doesn’t.

This process of visualisation can be used both for specific things or larger more abstract pictures.

Sit in a quiet place free from distractions: Find a quiet place to sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Begin by releasing all the tension from your body and breathing slow and rhythmic breaths deep into your chest.

Empty all irrelevant thoughts: Let your mind wander without holding onto any irrelevant thoughts. If you begin to dwell on something undesirable then simply let it pass.

Construct the visualisation: Start putting together the pieces of the picture. You may be visualising a goal as being achieved, maybe it’s a certain body you want to have, maybe you are visualising yourself in possession of certain abilities and skills. Practise constructing the image with all of your senses until it becomes real and interactive, you need to have control over the visualisation. Bruce Lee used to visualise himself fighting an opponent, this may give you an idea of how you can use it.

Be consistent: It will only become vivid and real through consistent daily application. Over time you will be able to go into a vivid and real journey in your imagination where reality is not separated from fantasy, they become one and the same. Pretty soon you are convinced within your neurology that your visualisation is real. This has a massive impact on learning a skill, being a certain kind of person, experiencing things and achieving goals. The process sounds simple, and it is, but applied consistently is more powerful than anything you have ever experienced.

The second process is almost the same but is used to create a highly specific result, or at least a belief that you have the ability to create that result in the real world.

This entire process starts and finishes with the same steps as the standard visualisation with the only difference being in step three.

When you get to step three you will need to be specific. This is used for things such as healing yourself of a certain ailment or disease or making your body strong for a certain task. This step may be done in that comfortable place or you may need to position yourself differently and may even need to move around.

To take healing as an example of application; visualise the part or system in your body that needs to be healed and place all of your focus there, as if you are inside of it and can see, hear and feel every minute detail. Then visualise a force of your choice coming in and consuming it and performing the task of healing it.

A man used this exact process to help eliminate cancer from his body. When the doctors said he would die he refused to believe it. He created tiny little bikers in his mind that would ride through his blood and go to battle with enemy bikers, which were cancer cells. He did this often and it became real for him, so real that the doctors were amazed with the results it produced. Visualisation and imagination tap into a source of power in your mind. It triggers your nervous system to remember what it has experienced as if it were 100% real.

These visualisations are powerful tools when used consistently and practised. Eventually you will become better at using them and they will start to show signs of working. This is belief/faith conditioning at its most powerful.

Living in the zone physically

Health, fitness and physical vitality are an important aspect of life that many people tend to neglect. Lets start with a definition of what health really is:

Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being. It involves more than just the absence of disease or infirmity.

The above definition was ratified by the World Health Authority in 1948 and has not been modified since.

Today many people are under the impression that health is simply when you don’t have a disease or an illness. The above description seems perfect. It embodies living in the zone because it refers to complete mental, physical and social balance.

Determinants of health

The LaLonde report suggested that there are four general determinants of health including human biology, environment, lifestyle and healthcare services. Thus, health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of health science, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyle choices of the individual and society.

That right there is the major message I am aiming to pass on, if nothing else. It is each of us as individuals and society as a group that have created history and will so shape the future, for ourselves and everyone we happen to come in contact with along the way.

Weight and obesity research

Lets look at a bit of research to support the problems obesity and the modern lifestyle are creating. The following is a few snippets of research from various studies and journals:

Obesity is at least equal to smoking as a cause of premature death.

20% of Australian adults are obese (I.e. BMI greater than 30kg/m2) not to mention the amount of people overweight who are approaching obesity but are not yet under that qualification.

Australia has almost reached the USA level for childhood obesity where about 50% of children are classified as overweight. THAT’S HALF!!!

Obesity in the workplace is increasing every year due to the decrease in manufacturing and increase in service based organisations.

Australia is now officially classified as the fattest nation on the planet.

Obese and overweight people tend to miss more work, are less mobile on the job and have less energy to continually produce quality work.

Should I really go on? I mean surely the message doesn’t have to be made any clearer than that. Living in the zone is simply not a reality if you are obese or overweight.

Physical vitality is something that used to come natural. Back when we had to physically hunt, gather and/or produce our food and shelter, people were forced to fit and healthy. The only reason they didn’t have a life expectancy at the same level was due to infectious disease and lack of medical treatment. If we simply went back to a more primitive and natural way of eating and moving, we would all live a lot longer and be a lot happier.

These days we have to put thought into being fit and healthy, it is not built into our daily activities now like it used to be. We have fast food, sedentary jobs and lazy habits created through the over-reliance on technology to do everything.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all be apes or anything. What I am getting at is that we need to consciously change our own habits despite having this environment we live in that supports being unhealthy and inactive.

Painting a picture from both sides

Lets take a look at both sides for a bit of contrast. Whichever side your living on currently, try to imagine what it’s like on the other side. The sides I am referring to are the fit, healthy and vibrant side and the apathetic, unhealthy, stressed out side.

Scenario one: you’re an “average Joe” with a half decent job in terms of pay and status. You are often stressed with all aspects of your life, including the state of health you have gradually declined to. You carry extra weight and feel tired all the time.

Does that sound attractive and empowering to you? Of course it doesn’t. Unfortunately this is where most people find themselves and they don’t even know how they got there. This is how much impact health and fitness have on your life.

Scenario two: you’re a fit, strong, healthy person with a daily schedule of personal grooming, fitness, mental stimulation and learning. Your body is continuously improving in terms of its physical capacity and every day feels like a new adventure.

Notice how I didn’t even mention career or relationships. When you have yourself figured out, the other stuff seems to fall into place a lot easier. This is what living in the zone is.

Easy application of simple health and fitness principles

The following are four simple and effective fitness principles you can put into action immediately to take yourself to a new level of vitality.

Know you outcome and purpose: Just like any goal in life, you need to know where you are going and why. Set some measurable goals in terms of your health and fitness, things you can work towards on a consistent basis that are congruent with the rest of your life. You also must have a purpose for these goals. Simply just aiming blindly will not be empowering and will not create enough leverage to follow through. Make sure your purpose is compelling.

Create a plan of action: You need to have a map, something that tells you how you are getting to where you’re going. Embarking on a new life as a fit and healthy person needs to be planned. This is why I would recommend either educating yourself or getting a mentor/coach to guide you. Having a plan ensures you will know when you are on track and when you’re not.

Be consistent: Consistency is what makes things work, in all shapes and forms. If you’re not consistent you will meet the dreaded fitness law of reversibility. This is when the results you have worked hard for start to reverse back to original levels. If you’re consistent it will accumulate. This is why having a plan of action becomes such a necessity.

Progressive overload: Progressive overload is a simple fitness principle that applies to every other area of life also. Put simply it means that you need to push your body only slightly beyond its current comfort zone and ability continuously. By gradually increasing time, intensity or any other factors you will gradually have to adapt to each small increment, which over time accumulates and creates massive results. Again, a plan of action will help you to maintain a continuous progressive overload so that you are always adapting to create new results.

Health and fitness protocols and applications

In order to get specific results, you need to know what sort of protocol will produce the results you are personally after.

High intensity vs. low intensity

This has been a point of debate for many years. Whether to train at high intensity for intervals or low intensity continuously. For fat loss it has always been said that low intensity aerobic exercise will burn more fat because it’s using predominantly that energy system. Since these old protocols first arrived there have been some very new findings.

I will keep it simple. You should apply both. Strength training (which is high intensity) should be performed by anyone and everyone of all shapes and sizes and all fitness levels. The idea that strength and “cardio” should be separate comes from people who don’t understand how the human body works.

By doing high intensity exercise, in which rests are involved throughout, your body uses the aerobic energy system to recover from each intense interval or set. This conditions all energy systems. As for fat loss, the post exercise oxygen consumption stimulates your body to keep burning fuel for many hours afterwards. The higher the intensity, the higher this effect and the more energy is used.

So my professional advice is to be careful when you make a judgement on what a so-called expert tells you to do. They all have a vested interest in claiming their “method” as the one and only for everything. Apply both high intensity and low intensity for best results. However, your plan of action needs to be geared towards the specificity of the results you are trying to achieve. So seek out guidance or education to decide what balance will move you closer to your goals.

Personal Evolution structures plans that utilise all energy systems for maximum efficiency.

The body as a system

The human body is a complete system, in which is contained smaller systems that all work in harmony together, with the exception of when things go wrong in the form of disease.

The problem is that people always seem to want to separate the body’s systems and focus on one at a time. The body functions best when all systems are working optimally together. When you train for strength for instance, train multiple muscle groups. When was the last time you used just your bicep on its own with no involvement from other muscles in a real life situation? Never, or rarely.

The same is true for systems within the body. Your endocrine system affects digestion, metabolism etc. The circulatory system needs to function for anything else to function, something not running optimally in this area will cause all areas to be compromised or to shut down completely.

Since the body functions as a system, you need to keep this in mind when you create a plan for overall health. What effects will your diet or exercise have on each system in your body? If they are beneficial to certain areas, are they detrimental to other systems? What systems or functions are being neglected in your plan?

Utilisation

This last little tip means using the circumstances you have to your best advantage. So many people use excuses such as the weather, their work, their lack of money, lack of equipment and every other imaginable excuse to explain why they are not fit and healthy and why they can’t start now.

Utilisation simply means using what you have at your disposal. If you have several five minute blocks of time throughout your day, use them for a callisthenics exercise, if you have a local park use it and go for a run, use the kid’s play equipment for chin-ups. Climb the tree in your backyard.

The message is simple; there is always a way to use current circumstances and resources to your advantage. Personal Evolution applies an approach for extremely busy people all the way through to athletes. We utilise everything we have available. Most of our strength is based on that of elite level gymnasts, which requires little to no equipment. We also use Pilates, Yoga and various athletic and martial arts training drills as part of our physical fitness protocol.

Applying it all to live in the zone

Living in the zone may sound corny or like a motivational bumper sticker slogan, but think about it what it really means. You know, you may have had a feeling of it before, a fleeting moment where everything seemed to fall into place, where everything was just right.

This mini-guide and seminar mean nothing if they are not applied. In order to get the most from anything, you need to be action oriented, whether it’s this seminar or anything else.

So apply it all using the following steps. Some of them will look a lot like the exercise principles.

Know your outcome and purpose: Know what you want first. Know your purpose for following these principles and tips outlined throughout the living in the zone mini-guide. Your goals should be definite and decisive, no ifs, buts or maybes, make true and strong decisions and stick by them.

Take massive action: Nothing is accomplished if you sit and wait. Take massive action, build momentum. From here you can create a strategy for further action and so on. By committing to and conditioning yourself to taking action, you set in motion a new foundation for getting results and not waiting around for things to come to you. Be a warrior and forge results based on action and conditioning.

Be consistent and create habits/routines: Be consistent rather than overly random. Being random and spontaneous can be an asset but only to a certain extent. Use the exercises and tips contained in this guide to create a disciplined routine of positive habits and forward momentum. Set boundaries and rules so that stick to your guns.

Strive to improve rather than maintain: Just like the principle of progressive overload for exercise, you need to apply that to your life. Rather than sitting comfortably in maintenance mode, step up, set a new standard, always strive to fine tune and improve anything where it is needed. You will find things on a consistent basis that can be improved or done more efficiently. By conditioning yourself to move forward and fine tune, rather than “fix” mistakes, you are always focused on forward motion.

Living in the zone, that place where everything flows almost effortlessly is a reality by changing a few simple things in your life. Decsisions, beliefs and physical vitality are three of the most important things you can change in your life.

To your health, wealth and happiness,

Chris Lyons.

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