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What Habits Are You Strengthening?


What’s the harm in not doing something that you should?  What’s the harm in doing something that you shouldn’t?  You may say that it really depends on if it’s a big thing or a little thing.  Is this your opinion, “If it’s a big thing, then you should do what is right.  But if it’s a little thing, it won’t hurt this one time.”  I want to challenge your way of thinking and help you see another side.

The Straw Paper

Let’s say you just got a nice 32oz, ice cold fountain Pepsi.  You were given a straw, but it has the paper still on it.  As you are riding down the road, do you open the window and throw the straw paper out?  Some people may think, “Why not?  It’s just a tiny piece of waddled up paper.”  Yes, that’s true, and I could easily give you the response I am sure your parents gave you growing up, “If everyone threw trash out the window, we would live in a dump.”  Well, that is true and a good point, but not the point I want to raise.  I want to stress that by doing the wrong thing, even a little thing, could have a much larger impact on your life.

What Do I Mean?

You see, every time you DON’T DO the right thing, you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing.  Every time you DON’T DO what you should, you are making it easier to not do what you should next time.  Before you know it, your default behavior is to not do what you should.  You have created a habit, and a bad one at that.  This is scary and where I believe a slippery slope comes into play.

The Slippery Slope

This is often viewed as a fallacy, but I still live life by trying to avoid it.  The Slippery Slope suggests that a relatively insignificant first event could lead to a more significant event, which in turn leads to an even more significant event.  Think of a icy, slippery slope, where you slip and slide down and down and down.  Though this is viewed as a fallacy, I believe it affects our habits.  Every time we don’t do the right thing, we make it easier to not do the right thing again.  I also believe if we do that enough, we are on that slippery slope and we will continue to slide down and down the wrong way.

An Example

I always try to exercise between three and five times a week.  Unless I am physically incapable of exercising or on vacation, I always push for the minimum of three days a week.  If I can’t get the three days in Monday through Friday, I will get a work out in on Saturday or Sunday.  Yeah, that’s right.  The 5and2Guy sometimes violates his own rules to make sure he meets what he said he was going to do.

For me, if I start to give in to what I don’t feel like doing, or don’t make it a point to do what I should do, it’s a slippery slope.  I am fearful that I will become lazy and not want to work out any more.  If I get into this mode of not working out, I probably won’t eat well either.  If I don’t eat well, my health will suffer.  If my health suffers, my happiness, my family, my wallet, and my life suffers.  As I have said before, if you think being healthy is expensive, try not being healthy.

I know I just played out an extreme scenario.  Where I completely went from working out to on my death bed.  But if you play out worse case scenarios, that is a possible case.  So, for me, I do my best to avoid the slippery slope.

You’re Getting Stronger

Now, every time you do the right thing, you enforce and fuel the better habit.  This is especially true when you do what you should do when you don’t feel like doing it.  I know there are plenty of Friday’s where I just want to call it a day and not work out.  But I push myself to work out anyway, even if I say to myself, “I’ll make it a quick work out.”  Typically when I say this, I still do the full routine.  During the workout my opinion changes and I figure I might as well do the full routine since I’m here.

By doing what I should do when I don’t feel like it makes me even stronger.  Do that enough times and you have firmly established a positive habit.  The slippery slope is not so slippery any more, and you have changed your life style.  

Final Thoughts

Now, I ask again.  “What do you do with that little piece of waddled up straw paper?”  I tell you what I do.  I put it in my pocket.  I find a trash can and I throw it away.  I do this because I am creating a mindset of doing the right thing.  If you always do the right thing, you will be rewarded for it.  If you always do the wrong thing, you will reap the bad rewards.  Become the higher thinker.  Do what is right, be an example for your kids, your family, and your friends. 

Do the right thing all the time…even when no one is looking.  Strengthen the habits in your life that are going to lift you up and help you be the person you want to be.  Do the right thing even when what you are about to do seems insignificant.  It is the small things in life that add up to the big things.  And as you know, it’s hard to move forward when you are taking negative steps backwards.

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