“The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step.” ~Lao Tzu
I’ve always liked this quote because it highlights the importance of taking action. You can’t achieve any desired outcome until we get off your butt and start moving towards it.
The energy and strength to live a high quality active life doesn’t manifest itself out of thin air. (Apparently, neither does money because I tried thinking really hard about having a lot of that and nothing happened.) It truly is a journey and the landscape is constantly changing. If you don’t change with it …you’re screwed.
The first step is the hardest they say.
The hardest step is the one you take after each misstep.
We all mess up …and anyone that says they don’t is lying to themselves. There will be times when you bend to temptation or fall off the wagon. It’s human nature. What happens next, however, determines if you ever make it to the journey’s destination.
Do you allow a day where you abandon your workout to become several days of inactivity? Does an unexpected dessert binge result in you deserting your nutrition plan the next day too? Or do you acknowledge when you’ve gone off course and immediately take steps to get back on it?
The reason why correcting course is so difficult requires a crash course in cognitive behavior.
Negative actions are often tied to psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and stress, and then there are chemical factors like the release or suppression of dopamine and serotonin (a.k.a. the feel good chemicals).
Your negative action (like binging) might be in response to a negative emotion (feeling anxiety) but it can cause one as well (feeling guilt and depression for having binged). Eating fatty or sugary foods release dopamine and serotonin which makes you feel better but as a consequence causes you to crave more fat and sugar. The result is a very ugly cycle that’s hard to break.
The expediency in which you get back on track governs your success.
While some of these things are the stimuli for why we succumb to our impulses, experts agree that mindfulness is the solution. Being aware of when and why you have setbacks is the best way to avoid them or move past them quickly.
Is it easy? No.
As I said at the start, I think this is more difficult than getting started. But it is crucial to not falling in a cycle that puts you back where you started or worse.
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