The Power of Daily Decisions: Building Resilience Through Consistent Challenge

Written by Stephen Anton PhD on May 22, 2024

A cartoon graphic image is displaying a person wearing glasses looking down while sitting at a desk and reading a book.

In the journey of life, we are faced with countless decisions every single day. From the mundane choices of what to eat for breakfast to the more significant decisions that shape our careers and relationships, each choice we make has the power to influence our reality and build our resilience. Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to overlook the profound impact that our daily decisions can have on our long-term well-being and success.

One principle that often gets overlooked is the power of consistently choosing to do the harder thing. Whether it’s pushing ourselves to tackle challenging tasks at work, committing to a rigorous fitness routine, or embarking on the journey of learning a new skill, embracing the harder path can lead to transformative growth and resilience. It’s important to remember that the harder thing is often just a combination of many simple things. By breaking down daunting tasks into manageable parts, we can make significant progress over time.

The Path to Resilience

Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity stronger than before. It’s the capacity to adapt and thrive in the face of challenges and setbacks. And while resilience is often thought of as an innate trait, research has shown that it can also be cultivated through deliberate practice and consistent effort.

One of the most effective ways to build resilience is by consistently choosing to do the harder thing. When we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones and embrace challenges, we create opportunities for growth and development that strengthen our resilience muscles. Just like a muscle grows stronger through resistance training, our resilience grows stronger through facing and overcoming adversity. Here, the notion that the harder thing is just a combination of simple things becomes vital. Each small step we take contributes to the larger goal, making the seemingly impossible achievable.

Physical Resilience: The Endurance Athlete’s Journey

Endurance athletes provide a powerful example of the principle of doing the harder thing to build resilience. Take Pati, for instance, a seasoned marathon runner who has won several competitions over the years and still competes to this day. Pati didn’t wake up one day and decide to run a marathon; it took months, even years, of consistent training and pushing her limits to reach that goal.

Each day, Pati pushed herself to run a little farther, to run a little faster, to endure a little more discomfort. And over time, her body adapted to the demands placed upon it, becoming stronger, more resilient, and capable of achieving feats she once thought impossible. This transformation was a result of many simple, consistent efforts that combined to build her extraordinary endurance.

The same principle applies to other forms of physical training, such as weightlifting. If your goal is to lift heavier weights, you don’t start by attempting to lift the heaviest weight possible. Instead, you gradually increase the weight over time, challenging your muscles to adapt and grow stronger with each workout.

Mental Resilience: The Growth Mindset

But resilience isn’t just about physical strength; it’s also about mental fortitude. Just as our bodies adapt to physical challenges, our minds too can expand their capacity through consistent challenge and stimulation.

Consider the example of learning a new skill or tackling a complex problem at work. These tasks can be daunting at first, but by consistently pushing ourselves to tackle them head-on, we expand our mental capabilities and strengthen our problem-solving skills. Each complex problem is just a combination of simpler problems, and by solving each part, we can master the whole.

The key to building mental resilience lies in cultivating a growth mindset—a belief that our abilities are not fixed but can be developed through effort and perseverance. When we embrace the mindset that challenges are opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles, we empower ourselves to overcome adversity and thrive in the face of uncertainty.

Embracing the Harder Path

In a world that often values comfort and convenience, it can be tempting to take the path of least resistance. But true growth and resilience lie on the road less traveled—the road of consistent challenge and growth.

So, the next time you’re faced with a choice between the easy path and the harder path, consider the long-term impact of your decision. Choose to embrace the challenge, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and to cultivate resilience in every aspect of your life. Remember that what seems hard is often just a combination of simpler tasks. By tackling each part, the larger challenge becomes manageable.

Remember, resilience isn’t built overnight; it’s built through small, daily decisions to do the harder thing. And in the end, it’s these decisions that shape our reality and empower us to live our best lives.


Dr. Anton

I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.


16/8 Intermittent Fasting: Tips from an Industry Expert

Written by Stephen Anton PhD on June 30th, 2023

The 16:8 intermittent fasting plan, also known as the 16:8 diet or time-restricted feeding, is a popular fasting method that involves restricting your daily eating window to a specific time-period and fasting for the remaining hours of the day.

16/8 Intermittent Fasting Plan

The “16:8” refers to the fasting and eating windows within a 24-hour cycle. Here’s how the 16/8 intermittent fasting plan typically works:

Fasting Window

During the fasting period, you abstain from consuming any calories, allowing only calorie-free fluids such as water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. Some variations of this plan may allow for minimal-calorie intake during the fasting window, such as a small amount of cream in your coffee.

Eating Window

You designate a specific period of approximately 8 hours during which you consume all your daily calories and meals. This window is the time when you can eat your meals and snacks.

5 Reasons for the Increased Popularity of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting

The reason this approach has become so popular is that it’s highly sustainable and easy to follow once the body has adapted to this way of eating.

The 16:8 intermittent fasting plan gained popularity through a combination of factors, including scientific research, anecdotal evidence, and increased interest in alternative approaches to weight loss and health improvement. Here are a few key factors that contributed to its rise in popularity:

1. Research on Intermittent Fasting

Over the decade, a growing number of studies have explored the benefits of intermittent fasting approaches, with the 16:8 plan being most frequently tested. Findings from research to date has suggested that this approach has a number of potential benefits including fat loss, muscle preservation, enhanced energy, and greater mental clarity.

2. Simplicity and Flexibility

The 16:8 plan offers a simple and flexible approach to fasting. With an 8-hour eating window and a 16-hour fasting window, it can be easily integrated into daily routines. Unlike more extreme fasting methods, such as prolonged multi-day fasting, the 16:8 plan allows for regular daily meals while still providing a fasting period. This simplicity and flexibility made it appealing to individuals looking for a sustainable fasting regimen.

3. Aligning with Circadian Rhythms

The 16:8 plan is designed to align with our natural circadian rhythms, which regulate our sleep-wake cycle and metabolic processes. It takes advantage of the overnight fast that occurs during sleep and extends it to create a longer fasting period.

4. Weight Loss and Wellness Communities

The rise of online communities, social media platforms, and wellness influencers played a significant role in popularizing the 16:8 plan. As individuals shared their personal experiences and success stories with intermittent fasting, it gained traction within weight loss and wellness communities. The accessibility of information, success stories, and tips shared online helped spread awareness and generate interest in the 16:8 plan.

5. Promotion by Health and Fitness Experts

Health and fitness experts, including doctors, nutritionists, and fitness influencers, have also played a role in promoting the 16:8 plan. These experts highlighted the potential benefits of intermittent fasting, including the 16:8 approach, through books, articles, podcasts, and media appearances. Their endorsement and expertise helped increase awareness and credibility around the plan.

Points to Consider While Practicing 16/8 Fasting

The 16/8 plan offers flexibility in choosing the eating window that suits your schedule and preferences. Common approaches include starting the fast in the evening after dinner and skipping breakfast the next morning or delaying the first meal of the day until later in the morning.


For a healthy and metabolically flexible individual, the metabolic switch may be activated after a short fasting period of 12-16 hours but for many individuals longer fasting periods are needed.


Potential benefits of the 16:8 IF plan include fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced cellular repair processes, and better metabolic health and brain function.

Balanced Nutrition

While the 16:8 plan focuses on when you eat, it’s still essential to prioritize a balanced and nutritious diet during your eating window. Pay attention to portion sizes, choose whole foods, include a variety of fruits and vegetables, incorporate lean proteins and healthy fats.


Staying hydrated is crucial during fasting periods. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support your overall well-being.


It’s important to consider your individual health status, dietary needs, and any underlying medical conditions. If you have concerns or specific health conditions, regimen.

Remember, consistency and sustainability are key factors in any dietary approach. It’s essential to find a pattern that works well with your lifestyle and promotes a healthy relationship with food.

Muscle Growth and 16/8 Intermittent Fasting

The 16:8 intermittent fasting plan may not be considered the optimal approach for maximizing muscle growth compared to other dietary strategies.

Muscle growth requires an adequate intake of nutrients, particularly protein, to provide the necessary building blocks for muscle synthesis and repair.

In the 16:8 plan, there is a limited eating window of 8 hours, which may make it challenging for some individuals to consume enough calories and nutrients, including protein, within that time frame.

This could potentially hinder muscle growth if nutrient intake is not properly managed.

However, as described in the blog “Intermittent Fasting for Bulking” this is certainly possible and I believe that fasting and bulking (muscle growth) can be combined successfully.

Maximizing Muscle Growth While Fasting

Compared to standard bulking approaches, intermittent fasting and bulking is healthier, more effective, and produces less body fat gain. You will also experience healthier cells, improved muscle maintenance, higher quality muscle growth, and increased human growth hormone.

To maximize your results, remember to focus on consuming calories during your natural anabolic windows. For most people, that means when you first break your fast (typically in the late morning), and right after your evening workout.

16/8 Fasting and Your Circadian Rhythm

The 16:8 intermittent fasting plan can be designed to align with circadian rhythms, which are the natural biological rhythms that regulate various physiological processes in the body, including metabolism and sleep-wake cycles.

Our circadian rhythms are influenced by external cues, such as light and darkness, and play a role in regulating metabolism. The timing of food intake can impact the synchronization of our internal body clocks and optimize metabolic processes.

By aligning the eating window of the 16:8 plan with the body’s natural circadian rhythms, it is believed to promote better metabolic health and overall well-being.

How to Time the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Plan

Early Time-Restricted Feeding

With the 16:8 plan, individuals often choose to have their eating window earlier in the day, such as starting eating around mid-morning and finishing by early evening. This aligns with the body’s natural metabolic patterns, as our metabolism tends to be more efficient earlier in the day and gradually slows down in the evening.

Fasting During Sleep

By fasting for 16 hours, a significant portion of the fasting period occurs during sleep. This allows the body to tap into stored energy (glycogen and fat) and promotes fat burning during the fasting phase.

Meal Timing and Sleep Quality

Eating too close to bedtime can negatively affect sleep quality. By adhering to the 16:8 plan and finishing your last meal a few hours before bedtime, you give your body enough time to digest the food, promoting better sleep and allowing the body to focus on repair and rejuvenation during the fasting period.

Hormonal Balance

Circadian rhythms also influence the release of hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and melatonin. Proper alignment of meal timing with circadian rhythms can help regulate these hormone levels and support metabolic health.

16/8 Intermittent Fasting Final Thoughts

While the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan can be structured to align with your circadian rhythms, individual variations exist, and what works best for one person may not be suitable for another.

For this reason, it is essential to listen to your body, adapt the fasting plan to your needs and preferences, and seek guidance from a healthcare professional or registered dietitian if necessary.


Dr. Anton

I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.


Get the Introduction to Dr. Anton’s Upcoming Book: Magic Morning Routine

Take advantage of this 100% free PDF and learn how to create a morning routine that helps you feel and perform at your best.


    Dr. Anton

    I’ve had the privilege of studying the fields of obesity, metabolism, and aging for the past 20 years and felt an increasing desire to share what I’ve learned with as many people as possible the past few years.


    Get the Introduction to Dr. Anton’s Upcoming Book: Magic Morning Routine

    Take advantage of this 100% free PDF and learn how to create a morning routine that helps you feel and perform at your best.

      Get the Introduction to Dr. Anton’s Upcoming Book: Magic Morning Routine

      Take advantage of this 100% free PDF and learn how to create a morning routine that helps you feel and perform at your best.