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  • Jered Stewart

For Better or for Worse...Habits Shape Our Lives

“This…is… Jeopardy!” That famous phrase has been spoken nearly every weeknight for 38 seasons. If you’re familiar with this game show you know that it is unique in that the answer is given first, and the correct response must be in the form of a question. Wouldn’t it be nice in life if someone gave us the answers first!

Lately I’ve been going to the gym more often. I decided a few weeks ago that I should simply go every day and make it a habit like taking a shower or brushing my teeth. I figured that if I just made it a regular habit, or part of my daily routine, then good things would happen. We all know that there are physical benefits to exercising regularly, but there are also some good psychological benefits as well. I’m hoping to lose a few pounds and feel better about myself in the process. Accomplishing something that is difficult and requires hard work is satisfying.

The same is also true with nutrition. How many times have we said, “I need to eat better,” only to then find ourselves at a drive-thru window or sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips. How many times have we thought about losing a “few pounds” only to start a diet and then flame out in 2 weeks (or less)? It’s not easy making those changes. We all have habits, for better or for worse, and we know that disciplining one’s self is not easy.

As I think about Jeopardy, habits, health and nutrition, I think the common theme is that we actually do have some of the answers to life’s questions ahead of time. We know that if we want to lose weight, we need to make changes to our diet. We know that if we want to get in shape, we need to exercise. We know that if we want to pass that test, we need to study. Even though we might know some of the answers, we are afraid that it might just be too hard. But don’t fear, that’s where good habits come to the rescue.

Someone once said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, if you want different results in your life, find out what habits you need to form, and then get going. Take that first step. Change for one hour, or one day. Then a week, then a month. Take it slow, but don’t wait to start. Now I have to run…literally…back to the gym.

“Habits (…) shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.”

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