One of my favorite movies is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s called As Good As It Gets and it’s about an older man who suffers Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His daily life is so routine, that he is stuck in a rut and he doesn’t even know it. Until, of course, a series of situations force him out of of his comfort zone and into the reality of being human. And, it all starts with just one thing...By the end of the movie that one thing has led to many, many things that have changed about his life.
When it come to healthy habits, the task of a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming. Depending on your current habits, healthier habits run the gamut from eating healthier, to exercising, to stressing less, and resting more.
But, you don’t have to overhaul everything to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, over the years, I’ve learned that it’s actually quite simple to get started.
When you change one thing, change everything.
That’s right, you read that right. Change one thing, change everything. Now, don’t misunderstand me, you may have more than one unhealthy habit that needs adjusting, but usually there’s a root to any problem, and your health is no different.
Let me give you an example. For me, that habit is sleep. I have 3 small kids, who keep me up all hours. My husband often brings work home with him and works quite late. To spend time with him, I stay up. When I stay up late, I eat late at night, and I don’t nosh on healthy foods. I crave sugar and caffeine when I’m up at ungodly hours because I’m depriving my body of what it really and truly needs: a good night’s sleep.
A few years ago, I was battling the bulge, and I decided that instead of writing a huge laundry list of habits that needed to change, I’d change one thing: sleep. I vowed to go to bed early every night, regardless of when Lucas went to bed. With a little more rest and a lot more energy, I started to feel motivated to go to the gym. I got up early everyday and headed for the gym. So early, in fact, that when I got home Lucas and girls were still asleep. When I got home, I’d take a shower in peace, make a cup of tea, and my husband would get up to join me and hang out. When the girls got up, we’d all have breakfast together before heading out to start our day. A little more intention in the day resulted in a much better day.
Simple, right? Well, sort of. Often unhealthy habits serve a purpose in our lives. They help us cope with stress, disappointment, or boredom. You have to get honest with yourself not only about what you’re doing and why it’s not working, but WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. For me, I stay up late because I need to unwind from long, busy days. I feel too wired to go to bed. And, most importantly, I want to have the chance to spend time with Lucas uninterrupted when the kids are in bed. But, when I was more intentional about my day, I found ways to get the rest I needed and still spend time with my husband and family.
So, what is it for you? Can you quickly identify one unhealthy habit that may be sabotaging your other healthy efforts? Is there one healthy habit that needs to start taking priority? For me, this reflecting is so important because when I change just one thing, it really does change everything.