There is an infinite amount of information available to the consumer pertaining to healthy living. It includes:
How to effectively exercise and lose weight
How to change your diet for healthier living
How to reduce your stress to feel better
How to improve your nightly sleeping habits
With all this information available, WHY is it so difficult to change our current patterns of behavior? Here’s why:
Most people do not like to exercise. They would rather spend this time doing other activities or doing nothing at all.
Most people do not like to eat healthy. The thought of healthy eating is associated with terms including bland, tasteless, boring and expensive. The other component of healthy eating that poses issues is food preparation and time. Most people do not like to eat their meals at their homes. Few are willing to prepare meals to bring to work for lunch.
Most people do not like to deal with stress. Taking steps to reduce stress becomes a stressful process.
Most people do not like to change behaviors even if they are behaviors interfering with nightly sleep.
It is interesting that the one common factor with all of these points is the phrase, “most people do not like…” Where does this feeling develop and WHY is it so difficult to overcome?
As children, we are required to follow our parents instructions. If we violate their rules we sustain some negative form of feedback (ex. punishment, spanking, time out, etc…) As children, we learn that repeating the same violation of parental instructions interferes with our ability to achieve our “wants” in life. Parents take more of our toys, or computer time or time with friends away. The war begins. It’s a battle for control. Will the parent outlast the child or will the child outlast the parent. If the child “surrenders,” it is usually done so with clear resentment. Commonly the phrase, “I can’t wait until I grow up so I can do what I want,” is muttered under breath.
I believe this is the origin in many cases where adult behavior and decisions to avoid necessary healthy lifestyle choices comes from. THIS IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING WHY we follow a certain path in life.
It’s no longer a parent telling you what you can and can’t do. It becomes society and professionals instead. Companies dictate work behavior and punish those that violate the rules. Professionals (such as doctors) dictate lifestyle choices and implement punishments to those violating their rules and recommendations by prescribing medications to the offenders. These situations return us once again to our childhood memories where our lack of ability to control the situation created resentment.
As adults, we realize the consequences at work can lead to unemployment. In many cases we bottle up our feelings and grind through the days. If these pent-up emotions are not addressed, the outcome can be life threatening.
Our need to be in control of our lives and to do things that “feel good” supersedes what is in our best interest. The “emotional beast” needs to be understood and addressed in a manner that balances “wants” and “needs.” As adults, most people attempt to create this balancing act in an unhealthy manner. They listen and perform unwanted and disliked tasks all day long that their superiors demand and attempt to balance this anger and frustration with uncontrollable self destructive behavior (ex. poor eating habits, unhealthy alcohol consumption, sedentary behavior, uncontrolled spending, etc…) after work because it satisfies a feeling of self entitlement and control. It is ironic that we rationalize self destructive behavior as an entitlement and a method to restore control.
Understanding the emotional reasons behind self destructive behavior is an important starting point. Without this understanding, motivation for meaningful long term change isn’t possible. This is WHY knowledge and unlimited information hasn’t improved the health and well-being of our country.
We need to learn to create a real balance between “wants” and “needs” resulting in healthy self control.
We need to create individualized methods to channel stress in a positive outcome that satisfies emotional feelings rather than represses them.
We need to regain our energy and desire to be HAPPY.
We need to substitute our childhood undeveloped methods of dealing with authorities with an appreciation for a different type of relationship and opportunities available as adults. We must be able to find fulfillment and satisfaction even without achieving 100% of our goals. Remember, finding BALANCE is not about ALL or NOTHING.
By incorporating this new way of thinking into everyday life we change our old paradigm (“MOST PEOPLE DON’T LIKE”) into our new paradigm (“WE NEED TO”) by gaining meaningful control over our lives. Our decision to improve our health becomes our individual decision rather than a mandate from a doctor. Our decision to eat better does not stimulate a sense of deprivation, but rather a demonstration to oneself for greater control over quality living. The behaviors from the past that created the need for unhealthy living will no longer exist. Understanding and following this model will lead you down your path of choice. You will no longer strive for control; it will be the natural result of the process.
Now that you understand “WHY” are you ready take back control of your life?