What You Can Do to Accelerate Progress…


“So, WHAT CAN I DO on my own to make even faster progress?”  It’s a question that I get asked all the time.

My answer to the “What can I do?” question is rarely “OK, so here’s what you do.  Just do x, and y and z”,  however.

Believe me I would LOVE to tell everybody exactly what to do, and in what order to do it to rapidly experience extraordinary well being (there are a lot of health gurus who have made fortunes doing this).  The problem is (I’ve found out through working with thousands of people over the past two decades, many of whom studied with a lot of the health gurus), unless you’re physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually ready, you can get the best advice from the best people in the world and it won’t make a shred of difference.

Ok, that sounds totally depressing!  So let me start over and clarify where I’m coming from…

It IS totally possible to know exactly what to do, and to learn how to exponentially accelerate your own progress to create extraordinary well being.  YOU CAN DO IT!

How’s that?  Better?

It is true.  We live in a world with an abundance of incredible tools and processes available to us for creating extraordinary well being.  If you’re reading this post, you’re probably pretty informed about a lot of them.  The same is true for most of the people who ask me the “What can I do?” question.

They already know that if they:

1.  Eat less refined foods and consume more whole grains, nuts and seeds

2.  Eat less sugar

3.  Drink more water

4.  Eat an abundance of organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables

5.  Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily – walk briskly, swim, ride a bike

6.  Stretch and Strengthen – Do Yoga, Pilates, and/or lift weights

7.  Meditate daily and engage in a spiritual practice

8.  Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night…

…They’ll be doing the things that create well being.  Right?  Right???

Unfortunately, wrong.  Those things DO NOT create well being.  They don’t create exponentially accelerated progress.  They don’t make you happy.

Ouch, they don’t???

Aren’t those all the GOOD things?  Aren’t those all the things that people who are really healthy and vibrant and vital do?  How could those things not create well being?

There’s a Timing for Everything

Doing the right thing, but at the wrong time won’t get you the results you’re after.

For example, taking a Yoga class or lifting weights when your body is injured and really needs rest, isn’t going to help you create progress.  Sleeping too much when your body really needs stimulation, instead of getting up and getting your body moving and your energy flowing, isn’t going to help you feel more vital.  Meditating constantly as a way to avoid dealing with personal relationships and intimacy, when you really need to be reaching out and making contact, isn’t going to deepen your connections in community (I’m talking about escapism here).

On paper, you can be doing all the “right” stuff and still feel disconnected, alone and underwhelmed.

So then, how do you know when to do what?  How do you know when the right time is for engaging in certain activities, and for stopping others?  What’s the magic formula for doing what you need to be doing to create forward momentum, to create progress in your life right now?

Well, the following are some things about “knowing what to do” that I’ve learned through working with thousands of people and dozens of elite performers in multiple fields over the past couple of decades:

1.  The first step to knowing what you need to be doing is CONNECTION.  You must first get fully present, fully engaged with where you are in this moment, without a desire to make your situation different.  In other words, you must first see it as it is, before you attempt to change it (Donny Epstein’s formula of AAA – Awareness, Acknowledgement, Acceptance is key to this).  Connection happens through focused attention on your body, breath, energy flow, and movements.  More on connection here.

2.  The second step to knowing what you need to be doing is ASSOCIATION.  You must fully associate with your experience and build on the initial connection.  This means fully feeling the pain, the sorrow, the disappointment, or the anger at yourself for winding up in the situation you’re in.  You must recognize and “feel” how you’ve dropped your standards, how you’ve been pig-headed, weak, inflexible, overbearing, wishy-washy, lackadaisical.  Associating with yourself right where you’re at is what gives you the emotional leverage to finally change your behavior.

3.  The third step is finally ACTION.  You must take action when you’re in a fully associated state.  Sometimes the action is just stopping doing what you’re doing and resting.  Other times the action is getting your butt up off the couch and stepping out into the sunlight to move your body.  The action might be going to Whole Foods and stocking your fridge with high quality food.  It might be filling a gallon jug with water and making sure you’re drinking it throughout the day.  The action could be turning off your computer at 9pm and not turning it on until 9am the next morning.  When you’ve really connected and fully associated, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Will I Really Know “Exactly” What to Do?

Ok, maybe you won’t know exactly what to do, but once you’ve connected and you’re associated you’ll have a sense of what direction you need to go in.

You’ll feel that your body needs to stretch.  You’ll feel that you’re dehydrated.  You’ll feel like eating more vegetables.  You’ll feel like working out.  You’ll feel like sleeping.

In the research involving people undergoing Network Spinal Analysis care in conjunction with UC Irvine Medical College, we found that it wasn’t doing all the “right” things that created wellness, it was the subjective experience of more wellness/wellbeing that actually led to the wellness-type behaviors!

In other words, the more “well” people got, the more of the behaviors they adopted that we typically associate with wellness.

Once you’re connected and in-tune with what your body is craving, you can refine and get specific information about the type of stretching you should be doing, the type of vegetables that you should be eating, the type of workout that you should be doing.  Every area of health has it’s experts who will tell you what to do.  All you have to do is connect within, associate with where you’re really at and then start checking out options.

Once you’re connected and associated, the way that you “know” what specifically to do (what’s right for you) is always the same – You “feel” it deep in your being.  It feels right.  You feel lighter, more expanded, happier.

You try out the new stuff.  Some of it makes you feel lighter, freer, more expansive, happier.  Keep doing that stuff.

Some of it just doesn’t feel “right” (It’s not that it’s just uncomfortable at first, it just doesn’t resonate at all and feels “off”).  Stop doing that stuff.

Your body will give you clear feedback once you’re connected.  All you have to do is pay attention.

So, how specifically can you get more “connected” and “associated”?

Well, THE BEST ways that I’ve found in my over twenty years of exploring mind-body technologies are Network Spinal Analysis and Somato Respiratory Integration.  There are many other ways however, and if you’ve got some tips and ideas please share them in the FB comments section below!

What are some of your favorite ways to “connect”?


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About John Amaral

Santa Cruz Chiropractor Dr. John Amaral has helped thousands of people from over 50 countries transform and awaken to more meaningful and purposeful lives. Follow him on twitter at @johnamaral