What Are You Waiting For?
Why do we put off losing those extra twenty pounds until your 10 year class reunion? Or wait to clean up your diet until after vacation? Why do we wait until New Years to set and start a goal? Or, have you ever finally bit the bullet and did that hard thing and then realized it wasn’t so bad? Or, maybe not that is wasn’t so bad, but that even though it was hard AF, it was totally worth it? And then found yourself wishing you’d done it sooner? Why are we so slow to change? Because change is hard, and most people don’t like hard. And, we also think we have time. We do have time….until we don’t.
When I was a few months from turning 30, I decided it was time for me to get my shit together. Although I had a great job, a house, a car, and two loving pups, I was a wreck. So, when January 1st, 2015 rolled around, I declared to myself that I would stop drinking for the entire year. I had attempted this very thing many times before (like every Monday morning for the last year) and it had never “taken”.
My drinking had become increasingly hazardous to my life, so I had plenty of reasons to make this resolution work. I made it a few weeks into January, much like many other millions of people’s resolutions each year, and then I was back to my old ways and even worse. This type of thing is no phenomenon when changing behaviors. It’s pretty common for people to lose weight on a “diet” and then gain all that weight back plus some after they resume their “normal” life. I heard from somewhere that “it’s easy to stop, but it’s really difficult to stay stopped”. I feel like this was definitely true for me, and perhaps true for many others who struggle with any type of addiction: food, shopping, substance, sex, exercise, etc. Why, when we know and FEEL that something we are doing or not doing is causing us pain, can’t we stop?
It took me until April of that year to put down the drink for good. There are many reasons for all my other failed attempts vs. why this time “worked” which I will not get into here. But, one huge difference was that I finally asked for help. I had bought and read a ton of “self-help” books before then, but this time I actually got help from real people who had or were going through this very dilemma.
This whole idea of how hard it is to change came to me recently when I was listening to a podcast on diabetes and how it works. According to a 2015 study by the CDC, “30.3 million Americans – 9.4% of the U.S. population –have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years”. Type 2 diabetes can largely be prevented and/or managed with diet and exercise. Then, I started thinking about how many other sicknesses and diseases can be prevented or cured from a healthy way of living. I think most human beings strive to be “healthy”, but some, like myself, get stuck in this cycle of starting and stopping, or putting off starting or stopping until their next big birthday, or until something really had happens.
What I’m here to tell you is start now. Don’t put off your health one more day. Health doesn’t just include the way you eat and exercise. This includes stress at work, unhealthy relationships, financial insecurity, etc. More and more, I find that a large part of a happy and healthy life is FEELING GOOD. So, if any area of your life isn’t feeling the way you want it to feel, you have the ability to change it. Benjamin Franklin said “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”. Especially when it comes to your health and feeling good! The longer we wait, the harder it gets. I’m not saying it will be easy. I’m saying it will be worth it.