It’s a day to day process, this getting healthy. You start the day with the very best of intentions and somehow the day just seems to go sideways. Work becomes too hectic, the kids become too demanding, or the commute home just took too much out of you. You are weakened by your trials, your willpower goes out the window, and you start to make bad choices. Your diet or fitness program suffers and days later you find your still off track.
You find it’s hard enough to take a breath and gather your thoughts let along get back on track.
Ultimately, I think we must find happiness with the small successes vs. the larger ones. Conquering the bad habit or bad impulse at the time its occurring and not looking at the day, week, or month as the sum of our success. By not celebrating the small victories we set ourselves up for disappointment and feelings of failure when we don’t manage to be “perfect” over the longer term.
Historically I have seen the day as all or nothing. If I didn’t meet my dietary or physical goals I would give up trying for that day. “This will be the last day I’m eating like this, tomorrow I’ll do more at the gym, tomorrow I’ll be on track!” A great sentiment to be sure, but when the next day turns out the same as the day before the feeling of defeat mounts. The sense of accomplishment withers and the flame of motivation falters and burns low.
So how about we change that mentality? How about we do what we can to fan the flames? Take those smoldering embers and nurture them back into a fire that eventually becomes an inferno?
I’m talking about selecting a goal of making some predefined number of healthier choices every day (maybe 2 or 3). Target that goal and try to build better behaviors. And by not defining the specific goal we remain flexible to change and give ourselves more opportunity to succeed.
So, if we choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator or to have a salad instead of a hamburger, good on us! Either one will be considered a “healthier” choice. And either one will further us to our daily goal of “X” healthier choices for that day.
And hopefully, through perseverance better habits will be formed as we become more mindful of our daily choices. Small incremental changes to achieve a long-term goal!