By David Groneck, DC, FASA
Creating change in our lives is a difficult process. Ever since we were children we have been forming habits in our lives. The most influential early on is through our parents. We begin to learn our habits through what they tell us and also by our observation of them and others. Secondly, we begin to learn habits based on our own experiences as we grow. Most of us probably do the same routine in the morning when we get up, for example. We tend to eat the same kind of foods, think along the same line of thought, and put our shoes on leading with the same foot. Most people never realize that by doing this day in and day out we create habits even if we don’t mean too. So breaking those habits takes commitment and effort.
Take for example losing weight. It is easy for my patients to get motivated after visiting my office and hearing a “you-can-do-it speech” from me. But what about Monday morning when you're faced with the temptation of eating those pop-tarts (or some other junk) in your pantry. Do you (A) start making excuses to eat the pop-tarts like, “I’m running late”, “I don’t feel like cooking eggs”, “those pop-tarts sure are yummy, I don’t think I can resist”, etc. or do you (B) throw them away and say “I am determined to lose weight and start eating healthy no matter what”? There are countless excuses that you will tell yourself. And many of them seem legitimate. But the question is, HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? (your goals, that is). If, after seeing a patient for months, all I hear is, “My diet has been terrible and I haven’t exercised but once” when questioned about it, I start doubting that they really want to lose weight or kick their sugar addiction or have more energy, etc. HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
I heard a quote years ago that has always stuck with me. I’m not sure who said it but I
really like it. “Half of getting what you want is knowing what you have to sacrifice to get it.” This is where many people fail. They don’t plan for when they will confront their obstacles. Like mentioned earlier, what are you going to eat Monday morning? What are you going to do at the next birthday party? What about when your co-workers bring in a bag of doughnuts and they smell so good? If you start to take care of these obstacles before they happen by making a plan, it will be much easier on you when they become reality. You’ve probably heard this saying, “People that fail to plan, plan to fail.”
How many people associate going to a birthday party, to a restaurant, on vacation, etc with getting to eat sweets or “pig out”? A great example is when I want to put someone on a 21-day detox program. This particular program was created by Standard Process and calls for 21 days of eating nothing but raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds, as well as taking particular nutritional supplements. Very often I will hear, “Well, I can’t do it the next couple of weeks because there’s a birthday party I’m going to. And then I won’t be able to do it after that because it’s Thanksgiving and then Christmas…” Do the social gatherings and holidays really mean you have to pig out or eat the junk food? We have that ingrained in our minds and some patients will look at me strange if I tell them they don’t have to eat the cake and other junk at a party. C'mon, doc, anything less would be improper! We need to change our thinking. If you don’t want to look like everybody else, then you can’t do what everybody else does.
You are responsible for your health. If you want to change the way you look or feel, then find out how and change it. I will help anybody accomplish these kinds of goals but I can’t do it for you. It’s always tough at first. The sugar cravings, the caffeine cravings, the soda pop cravings, etc, or sleeping in when you know should exercise. But once you start forming your new habits, they get easier and easier. Soon, you will look back at your old habits and be embarrassed that you used to do them.
It’s a powerful thing to know that we have a choice. A choice of what to eat. A choice of what we think. A choice of how we feel. A choice to exercise or not. But to know of this power to choose can also be harsh because we realize it is our responsibility and no one else. We cannot blame other people, things, or circumstances for our health (or any other aspect of our lives). It is up to us as individuals to take charge of our own lives. No one has ever forced you to eat anything...as an adult anyway. What you decide to eat is completely voluntary.
If you want drastic results, you have to make drastic changes. However, if you make mediocre changes you will get less than mediocre results. Let me be clear, if you make mediocre changes you will not get mediocre results, you will get less than mediocre results.
“There can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice…” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Only you can decide if achieving your goals is worth the sacrifice you must make in order to get there. In the beginning, it won’t be fun to say no to the sweets or make yourself exercise. Are you willing to go through the pain and agony to reach your goals? If you can definitely answer “yes” to that question, you are off to a great start. If you don’t know or can only say, “I hope so”, you may want to seriously re-consider if you really want what you say you want.
The Choice…The Determination…The Sacrifice…The Persistence…The Reward