THE Major Factor
More than any other factor, your habits are the number one determinant of your health. If you aren’t currently at your ideal weight and enjoying good health, it’s not because you don’t care to be healthy. You got into the state you’re in because of a collection of interrelated, lifestyle choices that compounded over time into your current status.
There's no Neutral
Let’s zoom out for a second: Every action you take on a given day has either a positive or negative effect on your health. There’s no neutral. You’re either building/sustaining health with each habit, or your chipping away at it. You’re either doing small things to maintain a healthy weight, or you’re working toward the middle age (or older) spread.
Did you ever think of it this way?
The thing about habits is most of them are unconscious. Let me guess, for at least some of the following you haven’t given much thought to (or made many changes around) the long term effects of: The way you get up out of a chair or off the floor, how many probiotic rich foods you have in your diet, the drinks you gravitate toward, how hot your unfiltered shower water is, the thoughts you allow yourself to think, the beliefs you accept about the world, the way you respond to stress, the position you sleep in, the frequency and types of recreation (hello television) you engage in, your morning and evening routines, etc., etc.. Reality is, everything I listed above has some impact on your health. They are all small choices in a given day, but they all compounded over time and have everything to do with the health you do or do not enjoy.
If your health isn’t where you’d like it to be, the balancing scales of positive and negative health habits aren’t tipping in your favor. Apply time and you get…where you are today—in short, you’re in health debt. You didn’t fall off course. You drifted. You had enough unconscious negative habits that pulled you off course slightly, and you ended up somewhere you’d rather not be. Makes sense right?
One Step at a Time
OK, got it. Habits matter. So where do I start? Here are some thoughts:
1. Take the next week and try to look at yourself as if you’re a character in a movie. Step back and watch yourself go through a day and ask questions about your routine. Question everything about why you’re doing what you do. Don’t let any habit go unnoticed.
2. As you go through your day, write down any habits you observed, and start placing them on your own balancing scales—positive health habits and negative health habits. Take particular inventory of the habits at the beginning and end of your day.
3. At the end of the week, see how the scale looks. Which side has more weight?
Getting your mojo back
Once you get a realistic sense of your habits, then you can start making some more observations about the largest bricks on the negative side of the scales. Just like we’re doing in our TRUE Accountability group (which launches Monday-you still have time!), pick ONE habit and list something specific you will change in the next 30 days. It doesn’t even have to be the habit you know is the worst one but you’re not ready to give it up. Just pick a new, good habit and swap out a bad one. If each month you simply replace one bad habit with something better, at the end of the year you have 12 new habits pulling you in the direction you want to go.
Momentum is a powerful thing
The more of it you have the more you want it. The more you want it the more those “creature comfort” habits start to lose their allure, and the more you’ll see value in replacing them too. It takes time and it takes a fight, but from someone who has lived it I can tell you it’s hard, and it’s worth it.
I challenge you to be the exception
Being the person you know you can be starts with forming better habits. Don’t look back on your life and wish you could come back as the person you could have been rather than the person you are. Decide today to get moving. You weren’t put here to be good. You were made to be great!