We’re all creatures of habit. Good ones, and bad ones. And it’s these daily habits and patterns that create who we are, and can have a profound impact on our health and wellness.
Example? I have a habit of going on a walk each day – and that’s pretty good. But I also have the habit of eating an entire bag of almond m&ms – and that’s not so good.
If my m&m habit begins to consistently and constantly override my daily walk or other healthy habits, well then I’ll pay the price in the form of diminished health and tighter pants. And that will be who I become – the guy with the belly who’s always eating chocolate.
But the opposite is also true. If I continue my positive healthy habits, am more consistent with them, and even add a few new ones in, then I tend to feel and look better, and get close to living the life of the superman I want to be.
And that’s true for pretty much everyone and everything. You are the result of the things you do the most, and the things you do the least. But if we’re looking to make improvements in our lives, then we need to mix things up a bit. We need to be more consistent with positive behaviors (like quality sleep), or take on new ones, while doing our best to reduce the negative ones (the mindless munching while watching Netflix).
So what’s the problem?
Discomfort. Unease. Anxiety. Fear. And above all, strangeness.
We often like what we like and do what we do because it’s familiar and comfortable – eating lunch at the desk instead of going out or moving around, the glass (or three) of wine at the end of the day, the extra-large spoonfuls of ice cream after dinner…
Those are all just self created patterns. So what the heck would happen if you broke them?
What if you went to a yoga class at lunch, or met a coworker for a walk instead? Focused your attention on a conversation with your partner or kids or a close friend instead of a wine bottle? Planned your meals or workouts for the next day after dinner?
Initially, those changes may seem strange or weird, but once you follow through with them for a week or two, they will become your new normal. They become your new routine. And they will define who you are.
So here’s your call to action. Pick one less than ideal habit, and try to replace it with a healthier one. It doesn’t have to be big or significant, just a slight improvement over whatever it is that you’re doing right now – like standing up and stretching for ten minutes if you’re a committed desk jockey, having one drink instead of three, or eating half a bag of m&ms instead of a whole one – you get to decide just how big that change is and how far you want to go with it.
Follow that new habit for a week or two and see what happens. You may just be amazed at how quickly and easily you can adapt to new, healthier habits. And how those small habits can lead to an even better, healthier version of you.
by: Tom Trevino
Tom Trevino is s personal trainer and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio, multiple certifications from the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and is currently pursuing his Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. He can be found at our Alamo Heights location, or aimlessly wandering the aisles of Central Market.