Life coach and TV per­son­al­ity Justin Cohen has you cov­ered

Straight-up ad­vice from a stand-up guy ev­ery month

Men's Health (South Africa) - - HEALTH -

I’m over­weight, but I can never sum­mon the will-power to hit the gym. Any ad­vice to change my think­ing?

When I ask my au­di­ences who ex­er­cises, a few hands usu­ally al­ways go up. When I ask those same peo­ple if ex­er­cise is the best or close to the best part of the day, their hands stay up. See, those who don’t ex­er­cise prob­a­bly think th­ese peo­ple are a bunch of masochists. They’ve tried ex­er­cis­ing but never got the same joy. The so­lu­tion is sim­ple: you need to give it time. Ex­er­cise is painful for any­one who isn’t used to phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. The re­al­ity is that once you’ve stuck it out reg­u­larly for a month, that pain will slowly trans­form into plea­sure.

No mat­ter how many times I’ve tried, I just can’t get out of bed with­out hit­ting snooze un­til my phone gives up on me. How can I trans­form into an ear­lier bird?

Let me level with you: you’ve de­vel­oped an un­help­ful habit. Break­ing it re­quires two things: mo­ti­va­tion and a change in be­hav­iour. Mo­tive means hav­ing a com­pelling rea­son to crawl from un­der the du­vet. So your in­abil­ity to get out of bed could be a sign you hate your job and should be look­ing for some­thing else. Al­ter­na­tively, you might need to find more pur­pose in your day. Try ask­ing your­self this one ques­tion im­me­di­ately af­ter open­ing your eyes: “How are peo­ple’s lives go­ing to be bet­ter off be­cause of me to­day?”

I get so stressed out be­fore a big meet­ing, and it tanks my con­fi­dence. How can I power up my self-es­teem for my next pitch?

Try this: imag­ine you had to give a five-minute im­promptu speech on your weak­nesses to a panel of ex­perts who roll their eyes ev­ery time you stut­ter. That’s what Har­vard re­searchers asked a group of peo­ple to do, to see how it ef­fected their stress lev­els – see, sadism is a use­ful char­ac­ter trait in stress re­searchers. The re­sult? It’s ob­vi­ous: the stress re­sponse kicked in, and the par­tic­i­pants suf­fered. How­ever, when re­searchers con­vinced par­tic­i­pants to see their stress as a good thing, they were able to har­ness that re­sponse to their ad­van­tage and im­prove their con­fi­dence and per­for­mance. Next time you feel stressed, re­mind your­self that your body is just pre­par­ing you to per­form at your peak.

My kid is strug­gling to make friends at his new school. Any ad­vice I can give him that will help the lit­tle tyke out?

The key to be­ing ef­fec­tive so­cially is to for­get about be­ing in­ter­est­ing, and be more in­ter­ested. The most im­por­tant per­son in any­body’s life is them­selves. Help your kid ask his class­mates ques­tions about them­selves: what they find in­ter­est­ing, how they see the world. Chances are, they’ll want to be around him, and to get to know him.

My col­leagues are feel­ing low on morale and en­ergy. I’m not in man­age­ment, but I want to fire them up. Any ad­vice?

The best lead­er­ship tool is your own ex­am­ple. Ex­em­plify the morale and en­ergy you want to see in your col­leagues. Never sulk; look for pos­i­tive so­lu­tions. You’ll feel bet­ter, and they’ll be in­fected by your en­ergy.

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