A couple of weeks ago I posted a question on what small change can people make today to improve their health for tomorrow? Not a major lifestyle changes like trying a new diet or embarking on yet another exercise plan, but rather one small change like eating an extra serving of vegetables at dinner, or standing up and walking around the desk for two minutes twice a day.
James Clear in his book Atomic Habits suggests that making small changes can be effective in changing our habits. He makes the argument for a two-minute rule, so “do thirty minutes of yoga, becomes take out my yoga mat”. Adopting new habits is slow, so chunking them down into tiny pieces can “lead you down a more productive path”. I love this idea and have used it to improve my wellbeing as I transition into a healthier lifestyle.
Changing my habits
When I speak about changing my habits, people say ‘oh it’s easy for you, you’re so well organized’, or ‘well you live alone, you don’t have the distractions/obligations (fill in the blank)’. True, but it can be easy for all of us. Plus, if you have family living with you, and you want to improve their health too, this way of changing habits can be a sneaky way of improving everyone’s health without them realizing it!
Another great read about habits is ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg (Question: who borrowed my book?). He breaks down one of his own habits and demonstrates how habits work. I read his book some time ago and realized that every time I went grocery shopping I bought a bar of chocolate . My reward for having to do the shopping, which is not a favourite pastime. I was, with this insight, able to break this cycle and now occasionally when shopping I’ll buy chocolate but no longer every time.
No longer blame ancestors
We can no longer blame everything wrong about our bodies (heart problems, diabetes), on our genes! Science has shown that our daily habits around health and lifestyle strongly affect our health. So even though our parents had a serious health condition, our own choices and lifestyle can make the difference to whether we inherit the same disease! Talking of Heart health, Cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones says that ‘for most people, a healthy lifestyle trumps inherited risk’.
How do you want to feel?
As we get older the cumulative addition of bad eating, lack of exercise and other indulgences begin to wear on us. I will often ask clients ‘How do you want to spend your latter years, how do you want to feel?’ Exhausted, overweight, tied to medications, maybe tubes and other medical devices or in good health, energized and loving those latter years?
What if, beginning today, you could reverse some of the damage you have done to yourself over the years. Would you consider making those changes?
Changes are difficult, and often it is our minds that make them more so. We are creatures of habit, and whether we realize it or not, most of how we live our lives is made up of habits. The route you take to work/shopping – when was the last time you varied it? Our mind tells us how difficult it is, pushes us back to what was comfortable, what feels easier. Once you start examining your life you realize how much of it is done by rote, or habit. For me, who likes change, likes to try new things, it was quite shocking how much of my daily living was habitual!
What changes do you want to make?
As we look at transitioning to another way of life, what are the lifestyle changes you want to make in your daily life? If you are looking for support contact us. You don’t have to struggle alone, we are experts in working with individuals like you in transitioning through change!