Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices require discipline. There is no getting around that. Remember bad habits are easy to get and hard to live with, while good habits are hard to get and easy to live with. Lifestyle choices are all about establishing and maintaining good habits. For example, instead of starting your day by reading the paper, drinking coffee and eating some fattening, sugar laden breakfast that gives you a boost in the morning but causes you to crash by noon, discipline yourself to make a healthier “choice.” I’ve come to realize over the years when you eat a certain way consistently, you will begin to develop an appetite for certain foods, even ones you may not have liked at first. When making lifestyle choices you simply can’t eat for taste alone. Routine becomes habitual. If you‘re used to waking up and doing calisthenics every morning, it is likely you have created some mental associations with that routine, such as feeling more vibrant.  If you haven’t, you need to purposefully make that association. Health and performance have to factor into your decision making. Whether you’re an athlete, factory worker, office worker or are a stay at home mom, you still have to maintain a certain level of performance.

As you begin to transition to a healthier lifestyle, you are going to have to be mindful of the bad habits you’ve established. Otherwise, every time you are faced with a choice, your old habits are going to tempt you to make the wrong one. The importance of being mindful is to replace the associations that you have made between bad habits and pleasure with good habits. For instance, one of the biggest hurdles to quitting smoking is the oral fixation. For a lot of smokers that I’ve spoken with, the hardest part of quitting is the very act of smoking. Sitting back taking a big drag off of a cigarette and then exhaling has become a mental exercise in relaxation and stress relief!
Be mindful of what you do and think. Being mindful is taking charge of your thought life. Is your choice destructive or constructive? Are you trading short-term relief for long-term consequences? A lifestyle choice is an investment and the currency is self-discipline and awareness.

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