“How many sets of <insert exercise here> should I do to build my chest?”

“How many carbs should I eat to shed this spare tire?”

“I used to be fit when I was young… but things have gotten away from me. I want to get back into it. What should I do?”

My answer is never the one they expect:

“Commit to holding the door open for a stranger at least once a day for the next two weeks. Look them in the eye and smile while you’re doing it. When they say thank you, say – you’re welcome.”

I spent a long-time in a self-absorbed, destructive cycle of unworthiness. I was upset about spending six years watching bipolar disorder strangle the life from my wife.

I hated that I had to tell my beautiful daughters their mother had died. I didn’t want to grieve, I just wanted to build a new perfect life. Instead of dealing my trauma and grief, I pretended things were fine. I kept up the illusion by drinking my feelings away. Every day.

I didn’t exercise as part of well-rounded approach to health and fitness. I exercised as a way to punish myself. Simply trying to reverse the damage from the night before.

I hated what I was doing. But I ignored those feelings. I told myself I was “good enough” and used every rationalization you can imagine.

But by making small changes every day, I slowly started to recover. I took control of my health through small acts of kindness on a daily basis. I made the conscious choice to start doing something small, but nice for someone. And it felt great.

The simplest interaction, like the eye contact or the words exchanged with a stranger formed a genuine human connection. I learnt that optimal health and fitness means developing your emotional, spiritual, mental and physical self.

Positivity in one area of your life begets positivity in all areas of your life.

Your physical goals are only one piece of the puzzle. Everything you do and every choice you make creates the person you are and the world you live in. Positivity and kindness are a practice. The more you do the more natural they will seem.

Your physical body is an extension of your spiritual, emotional and mental being. When you strengthen one you strengthen all.

This isn’t about setting huge goals. It’s about making the conscious choice to take small steps. Like holding the door open for someone, smiling at them and saying “You’re welcome” when they say “Thank you.”