"When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied." ~Herophilus
It takes approximately 21 days to create or change a habit. 21 days to re-create how you approach your health. That is less than a month. 21 days is basically 4 five day work weeks and though that sounds like a small amount of time it can be monumental.
Og Mandino, famous author and WWII vet wrote extensively on the importance of habits. He stated, "As a child I was slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are all grown men. I have surrendered my free will to the years of accumulated habits and the past deeds of my life have already marked out a path which threatens to imprison my future. My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed".
For me, eating healthy and exercising is a lifelong habit, but a habit that has certainly transformed over the years. Two years ago I (Kelly too) decided to go wheat free after reading Wheat Belly. This was a big change. Don't get me wrong I have eaten healthy for a long time but I enjoyed my pizza, cookies and a beer or two. Now, two years later, I no longer have cravings for those items and I have found wonderful alternatives to take their place. The result of this new habit is a loss of 12 pounds without having to do much in the way of physical activity. More importantly is the way I feel. I feel better, have more energy. There is a tangible difference in my health.
Developing good habits can start at any age. Every night I watch Ravenna brush her teeth. Now this took some time and a whole lot of practice but what is now in place will benefit her for a lifetime.
Challenge yourself to create a positive lifestyle habit today.
1) Give up alcohol while increasing your water consumption. Alcohol is basically composed of sugar, which is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. The unfortunate thing is most people drinking alcohol aren't going to go to the gym afterward, so that frosty mug of beer just added another layer of insulation to your midsection. Guess how many calories water has? You got it, zero! Drink up.
2) Give up sugar or flour while increasing your whole food consumption. If you are a glutton for bagels, brownies, pasta, and such, consider a whole food alternative. Try having a nut mix, hard-boiled egg, apple and peanut butter, or yogurt and raisins for a snack. Swap out the pasta for a sweet potato or try some spaghetti squash!
3) Give up television for a 30 minute workout and family time. I came home from work last week and Kelly informed me the cable had been disconnected. We discussed it a few weeks prior, but she pulled the plug. Yep, right at the start of the football season. I will survive, as playing with our kids trumps the best day of football any day!
4) Cut back on social media and hire a trainer. Social media is everywhere and it isn't going anywhere any time soon. It is a wonderful tool if used wisely, but take note if it is affecting your investment in your health, relationships and/or your career. Why not take some of that time you spend on FB or Twitter and hire a fitness trainer. Great way to ignite your enthusiasm and focus in your physical condition again! Or help you breathe new life into your routine.
5) Give up smoking and start training. Quitting smoking is no easy feat. What can make it easier is replacing the bad habit with a healthy habit. Start training for a half marathon, a 100 mile bike ride, or something physically challenging that you cannot possibly do if you are smoking. It will be a great start.