Growing up in an authoritarian culture, it is tough to get away from the feeling that you have all these things in life that you “have to” do. I had a discussion with a friend a couple a months ago who I raised this point to, and she came up with a couple of objections:
“I have to pay my rent!”
My answer: “No, you don’t. You can put in a 30-day notice to leave, or you can just not pay. Of course there are consequences to everything. But you have a choice. You can get a cheaper place, or sleep on a friend’s couch, or move back in with your parents….”
The “have to’s” in life typically just stress us out and don’t help us get to our goals. Let’s look at making lifestyle changes.
Let’s say someone smokes & drinks regularly, and is 20 pounds overweight.
They might think to themselves: “I have to get healthy and get in shape!”
So they will proceed to quit smoking, quit alcohol, start exercising, and cut out carbohydrates- all at once! Most people that do this are setting themselves up for failure. Why not tackle one thing at a time? Maybe you feel you have to make all of the above changes to get healthy. But “chunking it down”, as Tony Robbins would say, may be a lot easier than to go cold turkey in all areas at once!
Diet itself is no different. When I first realized I needed to make dietary changes, I knew there were some things I could cut out. I started with 3 things at first: soda, cereal, and pasta. These changes led me to actually WANT to start cutting out more bad carbs and replacing them with healthy protein and fats, because I started associating those carb foods with feeling tired and sluggish, and having a gut. They weren’t serving me, and this became obvious.
One thing at a time seems to work well for a lot of people. What has your experience been with making positive lifestyle changes?
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