“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Is that really true? If I eat an apple a day, will I keep the doctor away? I am pretty sure that is not true, but it does hold a truth. The truth that if you do something positive everyday, you will reap rewards and reduce the risk of something bad. Simply put, success in anything you do comes down to a few simple disciplines practiced every day.
By disciplines, I mean those little things that you do every day which add up to an outcome that is great and keeps getting better. For example, I exercise three to five times a week because I know, to be in the best shape and health possible, it takes a daily commitment. If you exercise three to five times a week for a year, you will see a difference. If you exercise three to five times a week for five years, you will see a bigger difference. If you exercise three to five times a week for ten years, an even bigger difference. It is just like stock investing. If you invest in the right things for a long enough time, the payoffs are huge. Why not invest in yourself?
Now if you exercise regularly for three months, take six months off, and then exercise for another three months, you won’t see the same improvements you would be seeing if you consistently exercised for the entire twelve months. It takes daily work and a commitment to discipline. I know you are probably tired of hearing the word discipline by now, but that is what you need. Success is only about 20% mechanics. It is 80% psychological. In order to make exercise simple for me, I simply said to myself, “I must workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” And that is what I did, unless something extreme like a sickness or family priority pulled me away. So many times my wife would ask me, “Are you working out today?” I would respond, “Yup…it’s Wednesday. I am working out.” I sometimes work out on Tuesdays and Thursdays too, time permitting.
You see, I know that it is not about lifting the heaviest weights or running the furthest distance that is going to make me bigger and stronger. It is lifting weights and running as disciplined things I do every day. The success I am trying to reach is not that I want to work out every day. It is working out every day POSSIBLE over a period of time. This is not hard work. It doesn’t take much to spend 30 minutes of your day doing some sort of exercise. The problem is that, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. It is easy to be tired at the end of the day and say, “I will just skip today.” You see, I don’t say that. I say, “Let me knock this out real quick.” A few simple disciplines practiced every day equals success.
What if instead of believing in “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” you believe in “A Hershey bar a day keeps the doctor away?” Let’s say you have a Hershey bar a day for the next five years. Compared to the “apple a day” approach. I am sure you agree that the Hershey bar would have a more negative effect. True, if you eat just one Hershey bar a day and do everything else as healthy as possible, I am sure you will be fine. The problem is the mentality of the choice. If I choose an “apple a day” as my mantra, I will probably avoid the “Hershey bar a day” on most days and just have it occasionally as a treat. Don’t underestimate the mentality of a situation.
Being healthy is based on a mentality, a philosophy, so it must be considered. For example, if you worked out today and feel great, would you tend to overeat or eat bad things that day? Most people would not. But what if you skipped the workout and now it is time to eat? Most people would think, “Well, I already missed my workout today, might as well eat what I want.” And each day you make a that choice, it is easier to make that that choice again. On the flip side, every day you make the smart choice, even though you don’t feel like it, you strengthen your ability to make that smart choice again. You need the discipline to make these smart choices until the habit kicks in. Then once the habit kicks in, it takes less discipline and just a little drive to stay on the right road.
Now, you may be thinking, “duh..thank you Captain Obvious.” True, most of success in life can be achieved doing obvious things. The problem is most people don’t do them, passively going through life waiting for it to happen to them, rather than making life happen for them. This mantra is a reminder to do the little, daily things in life to get me where I want to be. From this mantra, I have set a goal of working out three to five times a week. And guess what. When I work out, I tend to eat better and stay on a routine. The mentality changes and success is achieved.
Like I said, the things you need to do to reach your health goals are pretty easy to do. The problem is they are also easy not to do. So commit to a few simple disciplines that you practice every day and watch the cumulative effect of these choices change your life!!!