Lifestyle Changes that Last – How Slower may be Better
Lifestyle Changes that Last – How Slower may be Better
Most of you probably have a good idea of what it means to be healthy. After all, you’re the type of person who reads chiropractic blogs. We’re not saying you know better; you just know more.
It’s too bad knowing isn’t the same as doing. Go ahead, it’s OK to ponder just how awesome that would be. Unfortunately for all of us, knowing is the easy part. Putting that knowledge into action, not so much. Which is why we say, slow and steady wins the race.
A Japanese Philosophy, a Tortoise, and a Hare
It doesn’t seem at first glance that these three would be related. And actually, they aren’t. However, the Japanese philosophy (Kaizen) and the story of the tortoise and the hare are nearly identical.
Kaizen is Japanese for improvement. But it’s also a widely appreciated and respected business-building philosophy that says – small steps can lead to big change.
Kaizen, put into practice, is about making small and incremental changes every single day that lead you closer to your goal. The emphasis on small steps is particularly important. Small steps are easier, and thus more likely to have been taken, and successfully completed.
Since kaizen was the philosophy used to build Toyota, let’s assume it works. And then let’s take a look at some ideas for incorporating it into improving your total health and wellness.
The Three Lifestyle Areas to Concentrate On
Apologies if this seems obvious, but the three key areas that decide your physical condition are: diet, exercise, and stress.
There are a few good diets out there that limit carbohydrate intake, which is probably not a bad thing. You also realize that your calories should come from whole and organic foods. If it comes with a label, maybe not your best choice.
Keep it simple. More organic produce in a variety of colors. More clean protein from naturally-raised animals. Remember, knowing isn’t really our problem, so let’s continue.
Exercise, as in consistent and repetitive motion. When it comes to exercise, focus on cardio, flexibility, and resistance training. This will keep your heart in shape, and your joints, muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons flexible and strong.
As for stress, there are two types: mental/emotional, and physical. Physical stress factors to keep an eye on are environmental toxins. These toxins likely come from two main sources: your household cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. Learning to limit exposure to those is important for being healthy in our modern world.
The other kind of stress, as in, I’M STRESSED OUT, can be even more harmful. Which means finding a way to effectively deal with that stress is vitally important. Walk in nature, take up meditation, do deep-breathing exercises, or learn meditation. Find one that works for you.
Quick Tips on Achieving Goals
Let’s assume you all know what you want. Let’s also assume that what you want is to get healthier, and for the changes you make to be permanent. Here’s how to best achieve your goals.
Decide. Really and truly make up your mind that you will _____ this time.
Make sure your goal is realistic enough that you believe you can do it. We’ll set bigger goals later. But let’s make sure this first one feels doable.
Be specific. What is your goal exactly? Getting healthy isn’t a goal. It’s an outcome. The goal is _____.
Write it down. A lot of research has been done on this. So just write it down, and keep it somewhere where you can always see it.
Seek help. If needed. For advice, or maybe inspiration, or maybe just accountability. Telling others our goals may make it harder to quit reaching for them.
Consistent evaluation. How far along are you? Are you taking forward-only steps? Can you pat yourself on the back, or do you need to talk yourself back on track? And be honest with yourself.
Always keep the end benefit in mind. The BENEFIT. Losing weight isn’t a benefit. The benefit of losing weight is how you look, feel, etc. Again, specific is good. Being able to visualize that benefit is even better.
The Kaizen Plan to Healthy Lifestyle Changes that Last
This is the fun part, and feel free to build this thing however you like. After all, this is customizable, and should be created just for you.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create some goals, and go through the steps above. Write everything down. And don’t forget to make your first few goals a little easier than say, becoming the next Mr. Universe.
These goals will require a course of action when it comes to diet, exercise, and stress. So write down your general plan for each of those areas. Something like, eliminate unhealthy household cleaning supplies. And adopt a ketogenic diet. And … you get the point. Write as many down as you can.
Now get as specific as you possibly can, and break down that entire list into something that can’t be broken down anymore.
For your household cleaning supplies, write down each one you need to eliminate and/or replace, and whether you’ll be buying healthy versions or making your own. For that keto diet, make a grocery list with everything that’s permitted. And perhaps a list of problem foods you want to remove from your diet.
That incredibly detailed list is your steps. In the past, you tried taking a lot of steps in a little amount of time. This time, you’ll be taking less steps, but for a longer amount of time. And you’ll set up those steps however you like. But don’t forget, the key is in small and daily steps.
Get yourself a calendar and write down your steps each day. If you run out of room on the individual day, you’re trying to do too much. Slow down. Look at the big picture, and keep those benefits in your mind.
My goal: Eliminate 10 sources of toxins from hygiene and household cleaning supplies.
Find the 10 you want to eliminate. On a calendar write those 10 down spaced out over an entire month, or maybe even longer. When “shampoo” comes up on the calendar, find a healthy replacement, or make your own healthy shampoo.
My goal: Follow a keto diet perfectly by (date).
Now on your calendar, add foods you need to incorporate. And add foods you need to eliminate. And again, space them out. Trying to do too much too quickly didn’t work before. Concentrate on small steps every day. And no back-stepping!
To make lifestyle changes that really last, you need to be more tortoise than hare. Because slow and steady really does win the race.
Ready to take the next step? Call Dr. Koch and see how the EMB team can help.