“This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There’s a practice in Buddhism that goes a little something like this:

Each day when you wake up, you imagine a little bird on your shoulder that says, “Is today the day? Is it the last day I’ll be on earth?”

It’s supposed to be a mental exercise in living like we’re dying—being deliberate about our thoughts and actions throughout the day.

  • Are we saying all the things we need to say to people?
  • Are we being who we need to be, who we want to be?
  • Are we doing all the things we want to do?
  • And are we living the life we want to be living?

Would we be okay with the way things have gone, with the way the average day goes?

If not, what needs changing?

Dr. Ram saysThis practice always struck me as a pretty genius way of training us to be deliberate about how we’re living.

But it’s bigger than that, and there’s an incredible principle here we all can use in our weight loss journey.

When you think about it, life is just a series of thousands of “todays” repeated over and over.

Tomorrow is just today, repeated.

Wednesday is just Tuesday, repeated.

And Thursday is just Wednesday, repeated.

In other words, if you want to look at where the average person is heading, it’s easy: look at what they do today.

What we do each day accurately reflects what path we’re on and where we’ll be years or even decades from now.

It’s sometimes a scary, sobering truth.

Imagine how good food would taste on your final day on earth.

There are very few things to conjure up this feeling.

Shubha says But I’ve fasted for four consecutive days without eating anything, and I’ll tell you, I came up with more recipes than the legendary Tarla Dalal(ji) has in the dozen or so dreams I had each night!

The first meal I ate afterwards had flavors and textures I felt like I had never experienced before in my life.

Imagine waking up to the person you love on your last day on earth.

Your routine would be a bit different, right?

You might just lie there for a few minutes or maybe a few hours. You might just watch them sleep for a bit, whisper things, cuddle them or just stare in wonder.

Remember, tomorrow it’s all gone. The whole movie is over.


The rushed routine of getting out of bed, saying “bye!” without even looking at your spouse (or kids) and running off to the office would probably change.

What does all this have to do with health and your weight?

Shubha says After applying this whole idea of the “little birdy” in my own life, it gave me a kind of daily self-awareness that I didn’t have before in life, even though I meditated.

It’s easy to begin just about any new habit like meditating, walking, or just eating a home-cooked meal a few times a week, but the results don’t usually come in the first thirty days.

Results come in the first one hundred, the first three hundred, or the first 1,000 days.

But 99% of us never even make it to those first one hundred days.

If we had a magical, crystal ball that could show us a hundred or a thousand days into the future, we wouldn’t give up, because we would see the progress as time went along.

But since we don’t have a crystal ball, most of us do give up.

Many years ago, we received an email from one of my clients who (at that point) was the most successful woman that had ever gone through our program—she was down 20kgs. Victory!

We were thrilled to hear about her progress, so we emailed her to get some follow-up information and find out what principles worked the best for her.

At first, we went through the small talk: the nutritional principles, the habits, the little tiny changes she made to see results.

But there was something she mentioned that we couldn’t shake off…

She said…

“I realized that when I just focus on beating that one day, the rest of the week seems to take care of itself.”

We don’t become overweight overnight.

We don’t eat sweets during Diwali and magically balloon up 15kgs, right?

But then… …

Most of us do think that even though we gained 15-20kgs over a few decades, we can lose it all in a month!

We forget that this process had been building, “snowballing”, and had been underway for months or years.

The way out of this is just picking a few small habits, doing them every day, and then being patient.

And that’s also why you don’t need to think about the weeks, months and years ahead.

And that’s why you don’t need to think about spending hours in the gym or loads of time doing things you hate.

You just wake up today and make it a damn good day—a few tiny habits at a time.

Think about any outcome you want in your life. It’s just the result of a few key habits done a thousand times.

Consider the best student in school.

What daily habits are they engaging in?

  • Studying each night
  • Studying with a group of friends
  • Practicing memory techniques
  • Taking great notes in class
  • Organizing these notes carefully

They do that a thousand times, and they become the best student. They don’t necessarily study five hours a night (although some do).

They just repeat key habits every day and focus on being consistent.

Think about the happiest person you know.

What habits are they engaging in?

They take time to always view the positive side of life. They always make sure to express gratitude.

They say thank you. They take time to savor life.

They do that a dozen times a day, and they’re always happy.

Now flip to the opposite side of the spectrum.

Consider a really unhappy person.

Does an unhappy person possess some magical “illness” that makes them miserable?

Usually they don’t; they just choose (yes, choose, often unconsciously) what daily habits will result in misery and unhappiness.

When we’re unhappy we tend to choose, 10x a day, blame over personal responsibility.

When we’re unhappy we tend to choose, 10x a day, to view all the things not working in our lives, compared to all the things that are working.

When we’re unhappy we tend to choose to wait for “good timing” to start an important project, rather than starting today.

The key part of this whole thing is that if you focus on perfecting each day, you will have perfect weeks, months, years and decades.

And life will soon be filled with filled with happiness, satisfaction and success.

And… weight loss.

So how do you win the day?

That’s what we see in the next topic.