Whether you are a New Year Resolutioner (not a real word) or not, the start of a new year is still the most logical time to hit the reset button and commit to changes for the better in your life.
For most people there is a desire to make some change that will improve their health. And while many of these same people will take action on making the changes they have committed themselves to, very few stick with it for more than a month or two.
Let’s explore why this high failure rate for ‘health change’ occurs.
As a chiropractor who has helped literally thousands of people enjoy better health through my writings, seminars and in practice, I have discovered one underlying problem that prevents people from improving or even reclaiming their health – Direction.
That’s it – Direction.
And what makes us lose our way trying to get from point A to point B is someone or something I like to call Mr. (or Ms.) Comfortable.
Sounds like a nice guy right? Wrong! He is a destroyer of goals and aspirations.
And the worst part is that he is stronger than his sworn enemy that also resides in you…Mr. Inspiration.
This is the person within you that gives you that first little thought of making a change. Mr. Inspiration may pop up during a well-crafted infomercial for a new diet or exercise DVD. Or he may appear on a particular day when you are diagnosed with high cholesterol or wake with back pain for the third day in a row and decide you need to make a change.
Mr. Inspiration will inspire you to act on making that change by cooking more at home, getting up at 5am to hit the gym or run a few miles or to even choke down more water and pass over that Diet Coke.
But his power is unfortunately for most people only temporary. On that first cold morning when you hear the rain falling while the bed is so soft and warm, Mr. Comfortable will creep in and nudge Mr. Inspiration ever so slightly. Mr. Inspiration may still win at first but over time Mr. Comfortable grows in strength until you find yourself skipping the gym, stopping by that convenient fast-food joint or reaching for yours favorite soda.
Why did this happen?
Well, once again we have to turn back to direction as the problem. You are trucking along in life with Mr. Comfortable at the wheel and all a sudden, Mr. Inspiration ‘fancy pants’ tries to push Mr. Comfortable out of the truck and head 180 degrees the other direction.
Not so fast… remember Mr. Comfortable is the stronger of the two.
So now what? How can you win the battle of the bulge or achieve your health goals when Mr. Comfortable is so in control?
The solution is to that Mr. Inspiration must be smarter than that bully Mr. Comfortable. In other words don’t try to ruin Mr. Comfortable’s life but rather introduce changes that Mr. Comfortable can tolerate and then slowly make more changes from there.
It’s analogous to realigning spinal bones or straightening teeth. You can’t just go to the chiropractor and get one crack on spinal bones that have been out of proper alignment for years or have your dentist clamp down one time on crooked teeth and expect to see lasting change immediately.
It takes time. You have to give the muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues in the area a chance to adapt to this new alignment before they can hold it for the long haul.
Try to think this same way when approaching ‘change’ in your health.
Small changes adding up over a few months can lead to monumental results
Start slow. Stay under the radar of Mr. Comfortable as much as possible.
Commit to getting in 3 days of exercise per week verses telling yourself that you will do it every day starting tomorrow at 5a.m. It’s not reality and Mr. Inspiration will lose.
Other examples of small changes include:
- Drinking at least 2 liters of water each day
- Eliminate one carbonated beverage from your diet every day
- Cut your coffee intake in half
- Limit eating fried foods 2 days a week
- Stop for donuts only 2 days a week
- Walk 1 mile or do the elliptical machine for 20 minutes 3 days a week
Whatever changes you commit to making, limit it to two changes total at first. That’s it. If you just walk for 45 minutes 3 days a week rather than lounging in front of your favorite program and stop eating after 7p.m., that alone is enough to occupy your mind.
After you have transformed these goals into habits, it will be time to add 2 more.
The good news is it will likely take you little more than a couple of months before Mr. Comfortable accepts these new healthy habits into your life and doesn’t bother squashing them any longer.
And then it’s time to add more to it!
And before long, you have made 6 or 8 changes that are sticking and other than an occasional grunt or pushback from Mr. Comfortable that you will learn to ignore over time, you have built a stable foundation for better health that will last you a lifetime and spill over into the rest of your family’s lifestyle.
I know this plan works and have proven it time and time again. If you are a patient at my Keller Chiropractic clinic I have probably introduced a change or two into your life.
So yes…I’m slowly doing it to your too!
Why wait until the New Year to make your first two changes for the better. Start today and you’re well on your way to life changing habit that will give you more energy, better sleep and a long healthy life.