Not that kind of habit! More like that activity your mom loved to remind you to do or not do. And didn’t it always seem to feel so authoritative and like a chore…to do the good habit or to not do the bad habit?!
“Timmy, don’t bite your nails. It’s a bad habit!”
“Timmy, remember to wash your hands before you sit at the dinner table!”
Poor Timmy! And NOW, Timmy is all grown up. He’s a 55 year old business executive, with a wife, two kids in high school, a labrador, the picket fence…you can picture it. Timmy seems to be living the dream! However, somewhere during potty-training the dog, helping with science fair projects and remembering date night Timmy forgot to take care of himself! Slowly over time, Timmy has fallen out of shape and gained 30+lbs. Unfortunately, the majority of American can relate with Tim’s situation.
Poor health habits? Most likely. The intentions to get up earlier to work out, or to make time in the evenings are good, though they’re only intentions until they come into fruition. But even just a few small victories (i.e. executing the habit of exercise), over time, is effective. The body physically and mentally starts to crave that physical activity. It feels natural. It’s a habit!
Of course, we are the first ones to admit, good habits are not easy to create. According to large employers surveyed, employees’ poor health habits is by far the leading challenge in healthcare costs.* It’s detrimental to our health and our wallets. An interesting publication from the University of Santa Clara discusses the ethics of all sides of the argument of who should have to pay the consequences of voluntary poor health behavior.
The good news is that, whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re forming new habits every day. Try to be more conscious of that and focus on habits that will serve you and your health well.
Check out Bruce’s advice on Fit After Fifty about creating a habit of exercise:
*Survey Source: 17th Annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health, Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care, 2012