“Change” is a word we often connect with fear.
After all, if we don’t choose to change, we don’t have to try something we’ve never done before—and risk failing at it.
If we accept our life choices as the only possible choices, we don’t have to take the time to think about them, get uncomfortable, work at mastering a different way.
Of course, not all of this “reasoning” happens at a conscious level. As Brian Grasso and Robert Cappuccio have explained, unconscious drivers are the bigger factor behind most of our actions—our brains become used to believing that something is impossible, so it becomes impossible.
Real change, however, requires conscious choice—an act of will to shift away from fixed mindset and automatic negative thoughts —so that we can take charge of our lives and move toward real health and real fitness.
LITTLE CHOICES, BIG IMPACT
Look up “choice” on Wikipedia and you’ll find that it characterizes choices about what to eat for dinner or what to wear on a Saturday morning as having “relatively low impact on the chooser’s life overall.”
However, it’s exactly those small, everyday choices that define your health and fitness over time. They become the unconscious habits that add up to health consequences or missed opportunities. And while they may feel insignificant, pharmacologist and metabolism expert James LaValle notes that choices made in this comfort zone are leading many Americans to the path of disease (a word that contains a paradox: dis-ease).
FROM GOAL SETTING TO GOAL GETTING
Our generation tends to think of change as a drastic, one-time thing—driven by a single pivotal decision—the stuff movies are made of. Yet, just as small choices may lead us down a path to serious health issues, small choices also can add up to big changes over time. Best-selling author and leadership coach John Maxwell observes in Today Matters:
“Real sustainable change doesn’t happen in a moment. It’s a process … You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”
Starting with a mindset that’s open to possibility, then your next, most important steps are:
1. Goal setting—Rethinking decisions you make daily.
2. Goal getting—Having the discipline to repeat the effort.
John Maxwell points out these elements are interdependent. Food for thought: Good decisions without daily discipline will leave you with a plan that doesn’t pay off. Daily discipline without good decisions leads to regimentation without rewards. But good decisions combined with daily discipline deliver tremendous potential for change.
THE REAL LIFE EQUATION
James LaValle teaches that mindset and lifestyle choices significantly affect body chemistry all the way down to our genes. Choices related to eating, sleeping, exercising, stress management, expressing love or hate, or any other life activities impact metabolism, which in turn affects the ways in which genes express themselves and guides the body toward health or disease.
At 24 Hour Fitness, we think about health as determined by all of these decisions. That’s why we’ve begun and we’ll continue to discuss topics in this blog including Mindset, Movement, Nourishment and Regeneration, and how they collectively create to a happier, healthier you.
In every instance, one truth is certain: the choice to change is within your reach. All you have to do is make it.
THREE KEYS TO CHANGE THAT STICKS
1. Your mindset, which has a huge influence on the choices you make.
2. The decisions you make in the next minute, hour, day—they all count.
3. The discipline to repeat the effort tomorrow.