Investment Phase Deep Dive, Part Two: Building Your Lifestyle Solution With Rules

You now have a new identity, your rules will help you accelerate the process.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 07 Oct 2020

Mindset Beginner
13 Mins

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During consolidation, there’s plenty of opportunity to reflect on the journey so far. With a level of new introspection, insights and ideas gained during the depths of The Process Phase, you’re now in a unique position to implement your learnings to build your future 2.0.

These reflections were outlined in part one of this series here, with plenty of questions written to spark thought. In this part of our Investment Phase deep dive, the aim will be to dissect the lifestyle solution further. Remember, no matter where on the continuum you are, crafting your ideal week and scenario for your overall lifestyle is paramount. At this point, it needs to be an intentional action too, as it won’t just fall into place. Having reached your checkpoint to be in the shape of your life, there’s no immediate flag to plant down in the near future now – your goal is now to learn how to stay here, and that requires work of a different kind.

An Internal Rewiring


When you make poor lifestyle choices, there’s always some underlying muck to be dealt with. All the muck that brews inside manifests physically, whether that be overeating, laziness, insufficient sleep, and/or an overall lack of self-care. The physical is a representation of the mind. When you create accountability around physical non-negotiables, i.e. your transformation checklist, you start exposing the muck to a greater extent. There’s no hiding. Staying accountable to a limited number of calories will unwrap whether food is a crutch for you in moments of distress. En route to your checkpoint, the accountability ‘feels’ higher, as you have a clear-cut goal. When this shifts to learning how to stay in shape for life, and/or apply control to how your body evolves, you need a total internal rewiring.

At this point, your mindset, ability to deal with emotions, and social environment is all still built around your old self. You will face triggers all around, and without a looming checkpoint, struggle with the internal battle of what to do. That’s why accountability is so critical here, to facilitate the rewiring. It’s also why rules are important, to create a level of focus to stay accountable to that will make this shift easier. The reason 80-90%+ people rebound after getting into shape is because they don’t do a proper Investment Phase. Consolidation is a critical period to temporarily maintain progress, but it’s not enough to crystallise your gains. You need to invest heavily.

Building Your Rules


As you adopt this new identity, rules will help accelerate the process. They provide opportunities to reaffirm to yourself that this new mind, body and life is here to stay. In part one, you will have answered questions around your version 2.0 and your ideal lifestyle solution; the rules you design now will be specifically created to align with this. Rules don’t discount your transformation checklist. Instead, they are daily standards to increase the chances of completing (and later automating) your Investment Phase transformation checklist, all in accordance of your lifestyle solution. As you work towards your 2.0, your rules will help you step into the new skin, fulfil your highest priorities, and have you acting, feeling and performing at your best.

As a recap of your lifestyle solution questions, here they are again:

  • What is your ideal bodyweight range? (where you look, feel and perform best based on The Process Phase)
  • What is your ideal frequency of social meals out?
  • What is your ideal alcohol intake without going over the top?
  • What is your ideal training frequency and time spent on individual sessions?
  • What is a good step target for you to achieve without it becoming a burden?
  • What elements of your current schedule / time commitments and priorities do you want to alter for the long term?

Once you’ve answered these, you build the rules to allow this lifestyle. Of course, the answers must be realistic, and in alignment with what you truly want! Let’s give some examples.

Rules will typically fall into different buckets: nutrition, training, steps, electronics, sleep, mindset, work, relationships, social and general lifestyle.
They can be anything that has the potential for a domino effect on how you live a healthier, leaner and more productive life in the long term. The domino effect will cut out the need for other decisions. It reduces the mental load and allows you to dedicate the important cognitive capacity to what matters.

Nutrition Examples:

  • Use specific meal timing +/- 30mins daily
  • Batch cooking your meals every week
  • Eat the same meals Monday to Friday
  • Use the one plate rule for social events

Activity Examples:

  • Set repeatable time in the diary for training
  • No phones during training
  • 10 minute walks before each meal
  • Wake up and go for a 30 minute walk

Lifestyle Examples:

  • Fast until 10-11am
  • Hydrate before all meals, especially when out
  • No phone 60 minutes before bed
  • Schedule your week in advance

Mindset Examples:

  • Journal every morning for 3 lines
  • Meditate upon rising/before bed for 10 minutes
  • Go for one unplugged 30 minute walk a day
  • Have a period of unwinding after work/every night

Additional Examples:

  • Limit caffeine to 5 coffees a week
  • Stop all work at 7pm, with one day off completely per week
  • No electronics while eating
  • One date night in the week

All the rules listed are only examples. What you’ll notice is they’re all rules that will trigger behaviour, thought, action, feeling and/or an identity shift. For example, fasting until 10-11am may be a rule that allows you to manage calorie intake for the rest of the day. Scheduling your week in advance may allow you to feel in control, lower anxiety and help you be more productive. Using the one plate rule for social events will give you an easy way to avoid over eating, which in time, will make the idea of it less attractive. And so on. Each rule is designed to make a lifestyle solution automatic, easy and solidified. But it takes time, and a lot of experimentation.

Learning Through Trial & Error


To build rules that last, you need to have patience and embrace a trial and error mentality. You will likely sift through a number of rules before you land on the 3-5 ‘super rules’, which have the ability to enable 3+ other habits to occur. These super rules are what adds the automation to your lifestyle, and makes staying in shape easy.

A trial and error mentality is one of the common traits in successful investors. As life evolves, your rules will evolve. The underpinning to this is education and self-awareness. When you’re trying each rule, understanding how it makes you feel, think, perform in all areas is vital. To know a rule is working, you have to be aware that it’s improving your life, versus causing stress, or having no impact. As you sift through the testing of different rules, you’ll continue to build on your education of yourself, so long as you remain self-aware. This is invaluable to your lifestyle solution.

When you know what your cascading triggers, how you physically manifest the muck, and what rules work for and against you, you’re on the right path of discovery, improvement and mastery. As self-awareness builds, you can identify problems fast, and work on the root causes. Your lifestyle solution is never static, it will evolve as life does. The key is to build super rules unique to you that are transferrable into any environment, scenario or circumstance.

Training For The Pure Lifestyle Solution


Being active is an integral part of a lifestyle solution. Training specifically isn’t only about building muscle, toning up and/or getting stronger. The progressive element of training, as referred to in part one, is a metaphor for all you do in life, which is why in The Investment Phase, zoning in on a way of training that you enjoy is critical.

It can be anything; the outlet doesn’t matter so long as it’s there to pour your energy into. Those who create successful lifestyle solutions actually train for reasons beyond their bodies. It’s for their purpose, productivity, passion and performance. It closely links to their 'why' behind their 'why' for The Investment Phase. There are so many benefits to hard training that it quickly becomes an anchor for most. A time in the day to enter a world where everything goes blank. It becomes a form of meditation.

Ironically, what successful lifestyle solutions also appreciate is that even without progression, this ‘reset’ the anchor can provide is what’s key. It’s an opportunity to create a self-imposed challenge, and win. It becomes an opportunity to ‘go there’ – not because of the physical, but because of the visceral, intangible feeling that you gain from it.

We have RNTers who experience this in many forms, from a hard set of resistance training, a new skill acquisition, a calisthenics / gymnastics move, a long run, or a sport. The only non-negotiable is that it’s made it a non-negotiable at least three days a week.

Improving Health Standards


When you’ve laid the foundation of self-care up till the first checkpoint, it’s time to dive deeper into the variables that can have an impact in your ability to execute on your future rules: your sleep, stress management and digestion. These three can make or break your lifestyle solution, so understanding what good looks like is a quality first step:

Sleep

  • 7-8 hours per night
  • Unwinding routine / activity
  • Reduced / limited electronics for a period of time

Digestion

  • 1-2 bowel movements per day
  • Meal hygiene practices
  • Limited / minimal flatulence / gas and bloating (for women it’ll be dependent on their cycle)
  • 3-6 meals a day depending on size and portions
  • 20-40g+ fibre depending on how you handle fibre

Stress

  • By-product of being on the journey, ticking transformation checklist and living by rules
  • Automation of routine / menial choice
  • Living with purpose and flow
  • Introspection via journaling and meditation
  • Communication / quality time with loved ones

Of course, each of these can be expanded to great detail, but the first step here is to identify how you rank compared to generic standards, and how you subjectively rate yourself against each.

Once you know, you can look to incorporate elements of what’s needed to improve in your daily and weekly rules. The impact each has on staying in shape with a lifestyle solution to continue using the physical as the vehicle, can be transformative.

Accountability Vs Perfection


To build your lifestyle solution, you need the underpinning of accountability. It’s so vital to encourage trial and error, continued exploration, and facilitation to shed the skin so you can evolve a new being. Without accountability to our rules, we’re unable to construct the complete first rewiring. This process won’t happen overnight – this is transforming decades of behaviour, and it will require a lengthy period of introspection combined with action. In the RNT Journey, that’s our check in. This is the opportunity to introspect each week, then act in the next. In each accountability cycle, you build on your own education through self- awareness.

An important consideration here is that accountability doesn’t mean or require perfection. It’s an opportunity. Those who stay in shape for life aren’t perfect. It’s about living by your rules at least 80% of the time. Seeking perfection in your rules and lifestyle solution is a futile path – it’ll lead to frustration and a growing fear of accountability, as you begin to form an association. Instead, seek accountability as your opportunity to introspect and act, rather than strive for perfection. You’ll find that bit by bit, everything will start to transform.

Lifestyle Solution: A Chance To Progress and ‘Not Go Back’


With yo-yoing, quick fixes and rebounds being so common, it’s vital to recognise The Investment Phase, and a lifestyle solution in particular, as a chance to progress, not merely a phase to avoid regression. By taking away the ‘fear of going back’, you can look at this phase with a new lens. You’ll see the opportunity of progression, enjoy the trial and error, and be able to transform to a new level, rather than simply fight to maintain.

Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-sellilng book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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