Do you have a routine? We are all creatures of habit, but it is very important to remember that the patterns that exist in our life can either build us up or break us down. It is up to you to determine what your habits will be, so make sure that you choose them wisely. I recently re-read Charles Duhigg's The Power Of Habit (which is a great book and I highly recommend it). In his book, Mr. Duhigg reveals that it takes approximately 21 days to cultivate a change in habit, but he noted that that works for both good and bad habits. I am sure that we can all attest that it is much easier to succumb to a bad habit, than it is to make a change for the better.
I get the opportunity to help patients make these positive adjustments on a regular basis. Some patients will embrace the changes and move toward a healthier life, while many others will struggle to shift their habits. Ultimately, the decisions that we make, on a daily basis, determine how healthy, or unhealthy, we will be. So, I am going to urge you to take a step back, review your habits, and make one positive change. Here are a couple possibilities:
- Move Often – Daily exercise can boost mood and mental acuity, not to mention the impact it has on your body. The best part though is that the first workout can start the ball rolling on those changes.
- Floss Your Teeth – I am sure that the dentists and dental hygenists will love this one! This is not just about your chompers though. Did you know that the bacteria in your mouth can contribute to inflammation in the blood vessels, which can contribute to heart disease? So maybe your cardiologist should be telling you to floss too…
- Get Enough Sleep – Be honest… How much sleep do you really get at night? Remember that you should be getting a minimum of 6 hours per night, in order to get the restorative benefits of sleep. Make getting to bed early a priority not just so that the next day is a little easier, but also to give your body a chance to heal and recover.
- Eat Whole Foods, Not Packaged Ones – A pretty good rule of thumb – “If it can go bad, eat it. If it won’t go bad, throw it out.” Whole food nutrition provides significantly more nutritional value than any multi-vitamin that you can buy! So eat that broccoli!
These are four relatively easy habits to incorporate into your daily life that can make a profound impact on your well-being. My recommendation is to make these changes one at a time, and not try to integrate all of them at once. If you would like to hear Mr. Duhigg speak about habits at a recent TED talk, click on the image below.
If you would like to pick up the book, here is a LINK. Or if you would like to know EXACTLY how to make the changes in your habits that you want to, take a look at this flowchart! It will give you step by step instructions.
Movement is my Medicine,
Dr. William "Chip" Bleam