We are the sum of our habits. What we do over and over is what we will become over time. If you want to be fit and healthy then you have to have fit and healthy habits. In order to have fit and healthy habits you have to make the hard choices for a while. But it's not a lot of hard choices. There are a few critical points in each day that set the tone of the day. If you make the right choice it will set you up to succeed. If you make the wrong choice it will set you up to fail. I want to walk you through what a day of bad choices looks like and then show you how making a few better choices can make all the difference in the long term.
Let's start with what a day of bad choices looks like. Your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button twice. When you finally get up you rush to shower and get dressed. You quickly make a cup of coffee and get out the door so that you aren't late for work. At work you are starving by 9 o'clock because you skipped breakfast so you go to the vending machine and get a snack. At lunch time your coworkers are all going out to eat and you didn't bring a lunch so you tag along. You are starving so you order a burger and fries. You are crashing around 3 o'clock from all of the carbs you had at lunch so you go to the break room and grab a donut that someone left out and another coffee. When you leave work at 5 you go home to get your workout clothes, but you decide to sit down before putting them on and watch an episode of Netflix. Two hours later you come to terms without the fact that you aren't going to the gym and you don't feel like making anything for dinner so you order a pizza. You feel bad from all of the bad food you have eaten that day and the stress from work so you decide to have one drink. Four drinks, a large pizza, and 4 episodes of Neflix later you finally decide to get in bed at 11:30. Rinse, wash, and repeat, and five years later what do you think this person looks like? What about ten years later? How about a lifetime?
Now let's look at this person's day but just make a few different changes to their decisions. When your alarm goes off you get up immediately. You aren't rushed after getting dressed so you drink a glass of water while you make an omelette with extra egg whites and fruit. After sitting down to eat your breakfast you still have time before you need to leave so you fix yourself a quick lunch and a few healthy snacks. You grab your coffee and your workout clothes and hit the road for work. At 9 o'clock your blood sugar is still stable because you had a healthy breakfast, but you decide to have a few nuts, a banana, and some deli meat that your brought for a snack. At lunch your coworkers ask you to go to lunch but you decide to work through lunch because you brought your own. You aren't starving because you have eaten twice already and eating a healthy lunch sounds appealing because of it. You have another healthy snack at 3 and also drink some water because you know you are going straight to the gym after work (remember that you packed your workout clothes). You leave work at 4:15 because you took a working lunch and make it to the 4:30 class at the gym. You get a great workout with your friends and arrive home at 5:45 feeling good and energized. You decide to make a healthy salad because you don't want to mess up your workout. You sit down for a couple of Netflix episodes but decide to drink sparkling water instead of wine. Your endorphins are flowing from the workout and you don't need anything else to make you feel good. You stop at 9 o'clock and get ready for bed so that you can get up easily in the morning. It's a lot easier to make the decision to stop watching a good show when you have already had a day full of good decisions. You have a ton of momentum in the right direction. You fall asleep at 10 o'clock and sleep like a baby. Rinse, wash, and repeat, and five years later what do you think this person looks like? What about ten years later? How about a lifetime?
So what is the difference between these two days? If you look at the difference in how these two different days will play out over 5 years it will be two completely different people. One will be fit, healthy, and happy. The other will be out of shape, very unhealthy, and probably unhappy. If you really look at these two days, however, there are only a few decisions that make the difference. It starts with the alarm. By not hitting snooze you start your day off with more time and also with some momentum of good choices. Not hitting snooze might be the hardest decision that you make that day. If you can decide not to hit it, it will set you up for success. By not hitting snooze you have time to make a healthy breakfast, time to pack your clothes for your workout, and time to pack a lunch. You could argue that this one decision set the tone for the whole day. Let's look at some other decisions made. The decisions to go to the vending machine, go out to eat, and go to the break room for snacks were all made because of hitting the snooze button. You were set up to fail the moment you hit that button. The decision to watch Netflix instead of going to the gym was a conscious decision, yes, but it was made after a day of making unhealthy decisions. It's going to be a lot harder to decide to go to the gym once you go home after work and have eaten poorly all day than if you go straight after work and have eaten healthy. Finally, the decision to stay up late and watch Netflix set you up to hit the snooze button the next day. You were set up to fail again. By going to bed earlier you set yourself up to not it the snooze button, thus setting off a domino effect of good decisions.
This was a very primitive example of decisions in a day but I hope it gives you an insight into the difference in people who are successful in health in fitness and people who aren't. The perception is that it takes a superhuman amount of willpower to be fit, but that is just not the case. The difference in success and failure can be traced back to one or two decisions a day. If you set yourself up for success then over the long term you will succeed. If you set yourself up for failure then over the long term you will fail. What are the critical decision points in your life? Really sit down and think about them and how you can set yourself up to succeed. If you make the one or two right decisions day in and day out then eventually it will become a habit. Once it's a habit then it's not a decision anymore, it's just a way of life. We are the sum of our habits. What we do over and over is what we will become over time. Make the right decision a few times a day and you will change your life.