By KATHY MOSEBROOK
As your mind goes, so goes your life. An old quote demonstrates this power:
Plant a thought and reap a word;
plant a word and reap an action;
plant an action and reap a habit;
plant a habit and reap a character;
plant a character and reap a destiny.
— Bishop Beckwaith
How does that affect your health? Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD at Cleveland Clinic is credited for saying, “Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.”2
We know if we often sit in front of a television all evening, munching on junk, we are going to reap an unpleasant destiny of extra weight and feeling run down.
Begins in the Mind
The mindset that leads to munching in front of the tv is where it all starts.
- I’m tired, I’ve worked hard all day. I deserve a break.
- I’m still hungry.
- I’m bored.
- I’m lonely.
- It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t lose weight.
We Justify Our Excuse
If we begin with a mindset like we just described, it’s easier to do something we know isn’t in our best interest. We can even find reasons to support our choice.
- I’m big-boned.
- I need the stress relief I get when I munch.
- There’s a study saying the chromium in chocolate is healthy.
- Cheat days are healthy.
- There’s nothing else to do.
Habit is Stronger
Let’s get real with ourselves for a moment, shall we? We aren’t fooled by our excuses. However, we do have a way of tricking ourselves into being okay with it – just this once. Never mind that we did the same thing yesterday. “I know, but just one more time.” Eventually, we give up on the pretense and indulge because we feel powerless to change. The habit is painful to change.
But you are worth more than that. You deserve better quality of life. Brute force change won’t last for long. A habit is a powerful thing after all. However, if you disturb the root of the habit, if you shift the excuse into the lie column where it belongs, you start to gain momentum.
What You Need to Know to Succeed
Do you really want to succeed? That can be a tough question to answer honestly. I hope you do. Here are three things you’ll need to know to reach your goal.
Know Which Voice is in Charge
Jonathan Roche, fitness expert, calls it our voice.3, 4 When our negative voice is making excuses, our actions follow if the voice is left unchallenged. However, when our positive voice is in charge, we act in ways that are in agreement with our best interests.
Roche encourages us to throw the rear-view mirror out the window when our negative voice wants to chastise us for failing the night before. So what about last night!? Can’t change it now. What I can do something about is my choice right NOW.
One of the things he says (ok yells) to us during our workouts is, “I believe in you more than you believe in yourself!”
Know Your Influences
There are two aspects of voice to be aware of – our own and others’. We can hear external negative voices if we are hanging out with the wrong people:
- People who encourage us to act against our best interests (encouraging us to pig out on ice-cream because it was a rough day) in the name of being supportive.
- People who are outright negative and unsupportive of our efforts to live a healthier lifestyle.
- We are often our own worst critics and shouldn’t be allowed to speak to ourselves the way to do at times.
Know What Got You Here
I say this to you: you deserve to feel your best. Your health is everything. Without it, life can be limited and unpleasant. Health is worth protecting like the most valuable possession you have. If you aren’t feeling your best, ask yourself what thoughts led you to your current result. Then you can develop a plan for long-lasting improvement.
What are some excuses you’ve used to justify less-than-best choices?
4 Roche, Jonathan, The No Excuses Diet, Roche, Jonathan, 2013