By Tony Horton, creator of P90X®

I’m learning that when you decide to eat right and exercise regularly, the person you become will have it pretty easy, and life will no longer seem quite as hard. Until I got really fit, I used to have so many problems. Everything seemed difficult and daunting. There was a lot of drama and conflict. I was lazy, tired, and overwhelmed. I didn’t have the feel-good brain chemistry of a person who was firing on all cylinders from making better choices. Life was a struggle. But I had no clue that my poor diet and erratic physical activity were the reasons for my misery.

In my late twenties and early thirties, I began to eat better and work out more regularly. Oddly enough, new opportunities began to come my way. My confidence improved, and the drama began to fade away. It never occurred to me that healthier food and physical activity were responsible for the shifts in my life. I chalked it all up to luck, nothing more. Sometimes, for brief periods of time, I’d get lazy, eat garbage, and blow off workouts. And guess what? Life got hard again. But I still hadn’t put two and two together.

By the time I made fitness my true vocation 13 years ago, I was in much better shape—not perfect, but pretty good. Those early days of creating my at-home DVD routines were fun and exciting. I was in the right place at the right time with the right experience to be able to help my business partners create something different and better when it came to at-home workouts. We were striking gold where it had never been found before. You’d think by then I’d have a clearer understanding that my regular exercise and healthy eating had something to do with my early triumphs, but the answer was still no. More great luck, right?

Turns out the more consistent I was with my workouts and the better I ate, the more opportunities came my way. Only in the last 2 or 3 years have I truly begun to appreciate that by exercising 6 or 7 days a week and eating wholesome foods, I have the energy and enthusiasm for a life I enjoy.

I’m not telling you this to brag—I’m sharing this experience because I want you to realize that life can be incredible, and not through luck or upbringing or even education. I know plenty of people who have degrees from top schools and who make tons of money—and they’re a mess. Joy, happiness, opportunities, success, and the life you want come from switching to a lifestyle that involves regular exercise and whole foods. What seems hard as hell at first will turn your life into a carefree world of endless experiences and plenty of opportunities, and will give you the energy and enthusiasm you need to enjoy life for the rest of your life.