Monday, February 4, 2013

Little Choices - BIG RESULTS

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." ~ Steve Jobs

What kind of life changing choices are you making today? Thinking of moving? Getting married? Starting a family? Shall I have a glass of water first thing in the morning? These are HUGE choices and definitely life changing. Yes, even the water thing! Obviously we don’t have to make the dramatic, enormous choices every morning, thank heavens. But other choices that we make even before we leave the house have mega impacts on our lives when taken collectively.

Good little daily choices add up to produce big positive results

Because we are in charge of our lives, we get to make the decisions, however we often don't notice the effect.  Drinking an extra cup of coffee a day and one less glass of water a day can lead to dehydration, irritability, nervousness, fatigue, headaches, sometimes on the very same day. But it may be that we don’t know the reason. Having a French pastry each morning for breakfast can result in an extra ten pounds of fat per year, who needs that?  No one in our office! Goodness knows the result of eating half a pint of Hippie ice cream each week …… (always something to celebrate!)

So many things impact our health and just a few simple measures can ease us through each season, try to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning before that coffee. How about stretching before getting out bed?  Protein for breakfast? Yummy and an excellent nutritional start!  Do I put my keys in the same place so I don't run around like a maniac in the morning trying to find them?

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ’Which road do I take?' she asked.
'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat.
'I don't know,' Alice answered.
'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The daily choices don't often seem significant because we don't project them into the future. 
This is the instant gratification generation!
The choices are small.  They seemingly can't either hurt or help us.  Change is steady, cumulative, not dramatic. The choices we make impact our figures, our pockets and our health. Ergo life-changing!

We often think that we don't have time to do things to become healthy.  "I'd like to exercise, but I don't have the time." is a very common thing that I hear from my patients (and office manager). "My schedule is so hectic; I just don't have time for breakfast."  "I have a membership at the gym but never get there. I'm too tired for that.  I'd rather just collapse when I get home and watch a lame sitcom or reality show.” 

So many little choices! 

We believe that we have to make a big change or a big time commitment in order to get healthy or to become more successful.  It really doesn't have to be something dramatic or earth-shaking. 

For example; after that half pint of hippie ice cream, walk with your coworkers around the block alternating walking backwards, walk up a flight of stairs in the office building instead of taking the elevator, park at the far end of the grocery store or mall car park and speed walk to you car. A series of a few short 10-minute walks can add up to a full hour of walking per day. Squeeze your buttocks together ten times each hour whilst you are sitting at your desk. Try doing it without getting the giggles like someone I know. Keep your back straight and your tummy sucked in whilst working and sit at a chair that allows your bottom to be at the same elevation as your knees.

In like manner, brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day eventually leads to long-term dental health and can increase your lifespan an extra 2-3 years! (Ridding the body of unwanted bacteria)  See? Little choices with big results.

Bottom line.  If you start one or two little health or mindset choices and stay with it, you will see long-term positive effects.  Focus your energy on what is important.  Break it down into little daily choices.  Enjoy the results!

Yours in Health
Dr. J B Whitlow
P.S. Drink water like it’s your job!

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