“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” –Marcus Aurelius
Often times when it comes to making changes in our health it requires us to make lifestyle changes, such as exercising or eating a different way then we are accustomed to, therefore change can be difficult and we struggle and our health continues to struggle. Many times it is just the act of getting started. We know that exercise is good for us, and that cokes and candy are detrimental to our health but somehow we never seem to be able to make the change. Why is that?
Well there are a lot of different reasons why but often it comes back to habits and emotions. Most of what you do throughout the day is based on two things, habit and emotions. Test this out, observe how you get ready to start your day for two weeks. Most likely by the third or fourth day you will realize you follow the same steps every day almost without even realizing it. Or have you ever driven somewhere and then all of a sudden realize you have been day dreaming but somehow you stayed on the road towards your destination? This is accomplished because of your brain’s ability to execute habit loops.
There is plenty of evidence that we make most of our decisions based on emotions, just study sales techniques and marketing, it is all targeted towards the heart. As much as we like to believe we have power over our emotions, they often get the best of us.
Thus if we want to be healthy and that requires changes in our lifestyle then we must begin to study ourselves and our behaviors. We can do that by beginning to identify our habits and our emotions around them. Once you make this awareness shift then you can begin to create a new habit with a new reward that supports your lifestyle change, and over time we begin to make new habits that take over the old ones. Check out the book, The Neuroscience of Habit by Charles Duhigg if you would like to learn more!
By: Dr. William Cummins