Updated: Sep 27, 2020
I love this sentiment. It's on a magnet on my fridge. I don't know who said it first but I can attest to the truthfulness of what it says. As I have said before, the day that I can figure out what motivates people to change their behavior will be a very good day indeed. Even my own behavior can surprise me. I know that I have very good intentions and I know that the results that I've seen from past performance encourage me to keep doing what I've been doing to take care of myself. However, the consistent energy necessary to eat right, to exercise regularly, to meditate, to be a good person, a good employee, a good wife and mother isn't always available to me. It takes hard work and consistent effort to reap benefits over the long run.
Knowing what is the best thing for me to do doesn't make it easier for me to do it. It's confusing, and if I could tell you why certain days I have no problem eating a healthy salad for lunch and a reasonable dinner and staying away from snacks and on other days I want ice cream and peanut butter cups, I guess I would do that here. What I've discovered is that especially when it comes to changing habits, much of that is tied in with how I'm feeling about myself at any particular time. I had a friend say that in order to change bad behaviors you have to "love yourself out of them". Time is also a factor.. The days when I am more stre
ssed are the days when I'm gonna eat more peanut butter cups. The days when I don't allow myself enough time to just be are the days when it's gonna be easier to skip that yoga class or that run.
Meditation and setting an intention for each day can consistently help me reach my goals. Even just 5 minutes in the morning before my day starts, focused on gratitude and what I hope to achieve helps clarify my goals. With both short term goals for just that day and long term goals overall, I can focus on and prioritize behaviors and remember what matters when the day gets busy or difficult. Mindfulness can help me make the most of my healthy behaviors. During that run, I focus on my breathing and stay in the moment, grateful for my working body, my lungs and heart, for the opportunity to be here now. All the stressors will be waiting when I'm back to work, but for now I try to clear my mind and just breathe and run.
Consistently participating in healthy behaviors is one more way that we can set ourselves up for better health, less stress, and a happier existence.