"If we change nothing, nothing changes"
I love that saying, and I think it rings true for a lot of people; essentially, if we want to see results (whether it's related to how we feel, how we look, or facets of our health), we have to make our life look a little different than it has been before.
The tricky part is that changing our habits, especially when it comes to food, is crazy hard. All animals, including us humans, are wired to spend as little energy as possible on sourcing food, so our brains really don't like putting all this attention and effort into changing our habits. Which becomes especially hard for us when convenience, time, skills, taste and cost are involved as well.
Something that not a lot of people talk about is actually one of the most powerful strategies for changing our diet and exercise habits. That is to simply change the life around those habits. Meaning: we need to set the rest of our life up to allow that difficult change to become easier.
Okay, so maybe that isn't quite clear enough yet, let me give you an example from my own life:
There was a time when I watched a lot of TV. Game of Thrones is a huge commitment guys, you have to MAKE time for it, lose sleep even. And I did - gladly! For GOT and many, many others.
Needless to say, it soon became a habit, a deeply entrenched and enjoyable habit. I would get home from work, and watch TV while I ate dinner - and for a few hours after. I would watch TV in bed as I was going to sleep. Wake up on the weekends - more TV. Maybe it's a special occasion? Put a movie on. The worst part is that I didn't just watch amazing TV, sometimes it was just mind-numbing, middle of the road stuff that was sucking up my time. That's where Storage Wars or reality cooking shows or reruns of shows that I didn't even care to watch the first time around would sneak in there.
I admit it was a little much. Am I the only one? Please, someone, tell me it's not just me.
A decade of this goes by, and I ended up moving, so I had to rethink some of my finances. Suddenly, the super sweet cable package was a little out of reach, and the $10 Netflix subscription seemed a much more attainable. So, I made the switch.
After a while, TV became less and less common, until I just kind of stopped watching it. I knew that whatever was on Netflix was still going to be there tomorrow. I lost my desire to even turn it on. Granted, I don't think everyone experiences this when switching to a Netflix only life; some people might just start binge-watching House of Cards instead. But, at that point in my life, I guess I just had enough of it.
Then, something weird started happening. It was almost like I was now waking up with extra hours in the day. The 3-5 hours I had been draining, was now mine again. I even had a little more money each month (which ended up going to groceries). And naturally, without even trying, I was making more elaborate dinners, going to the gym four times a week, reading books, rekindling my love for music, and even feeling less depressed.
There is a fascinating ripple effect that happens when you make space in your life for the things you truly want. I always wanted to eat better, exercise more, cook more, read more - but every time I tried - I had to cram it and force it in. But when the space was just there - waiting to be filled - it came without too much effort or willpower.
Who knows, maybe you, unlike me, are super normal and only watch 30 minutes of TV at the very end of your day and it's not a big deal - maybe your life is too full to consume the amount that I did. But take a step back and ask yourself: "What else is there, sucking up my precious, valuable time on this earth?"
Is your job helping or hurting?
Is your 2-hour commute really worth it?
Is your partner helping or hurting?
Are you sleeping well? Is there something you can do to change this?
Are you depressed or dealing with mental health issues that could be better managed?
Is chronic pain holding you back?
Is TV (or video games) actually relaxing you, or is it just a distraction that is reinforcing laziness?
So this post is here to ask: What is in your way? What is stopping you from getting the life you want? The health you want?
Are the things that pop up regularly in your life serving you well?
Of course, not everything is fixable or even all that flexible, but we should always make a little space for the things we truly want. Even if it means ditching the TV for a while.