Find Good Habits to Mindlessly Age Well
The Rejuvenate retreat I hosted in Buena Vista was a blast! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and seemed satisfied with the healthy meals and great discussions. Hopefully everyone left feeling a little better about themselves and motivated to indulge in healthy lifestyle habits. That was the point!
We hiked, we danced, we soaked in the hot springs. All while using yoga, a practice of self-awareness, to consider attitude, physical wellbeing and how we fuel our bodies.
The question for everyone to consider, are you training for longevity or will you be reacting to a health crisis with medication or hospitalization?
Many people are living into their 90’s. If that’s you, how do you want to do it? Stuck to a wheel chair or walking in the park? Mel Brooks is 96 years old and has released a new tv series on Hulu (History of the World Part II). I wanna be like that guy!
I want to live well! That means being aware of my health and wellness and living a lifestyles to support it. Creating good habits, unfortunately is not simply desiring it. It requires making a conscious decision to make good choices.
Phycologist say we live 43% of our days on autopilot. Not really paying attention to mundane tasks or checking in with our feelings. So awareness is the first step to making any changes.
Bad habits have short term rewards that keep us hooked. I know sugar is bad for me but it tastes good and is easily accessible. I do well avoiding sugar all day while I’m busy, but late at night when I’m tired and want to be satiated, I hear the cookies calling me. I finally decided I need to stop buying Oreos under the pretense that they’re for my son. (Besides, he doesn’t need them either.) If they’re not in the house, then I’m not tempted to eat them and I can reinforce my new habit of staying sugar free.
Knowing the disadvantages of sugar isn’t enough motivation to cut it out when on autopilot. To quit a bad habit needs to become difficult or uncomfortable so that you are forced to make a conscious decision.
By the 1970’s most people knew that smoking was bad but smoking rates did not decline significantly until it became harder to smoke. That’s when vending machines were removed, non-smoking areas designed and taxes added to cigarettes.
Even a slight discomfort can be enough to motivate change. One study gave video watchers fresh popcorn and stale popcorn. Those who usually ate popcorn consumed all the stale popcorn even though they didn’t like it. But when they were asked to eat it with their less dominate hand they ate less of the stale popcorn. Just a slight challenge was enough to change behavior.
Good habits can be reinforcing but can take time. I noticed the less I eat sugar, the less I crave it. The more I exercise, the stronger I feel and want to continue. The more consistent I am with yoga, the more I’m at peace with my body and attitude. But I must do these things past a few days.
Another way to make change is to piggy back habits. Add a new behavior to an existing behavior. A friend said she started watching cooking shows while on the treadmill. Not only did she attach a positive habit with an indulgence, but she noticed eventually if a cooking show came on while she sat on the couch she had the urge to get up and move around.
If you’re convinced you should add some better patterns, a good time to implement is when their is disruption. Think of how many new habits you incorporated or gave up during the pandemic. Moving to a new house or town is an opportunity to make change. Or having a newborn or sending a child off to college are all shake-ups ripe with opportunity to start something new.
Spring is a time for change too. As the weather turns warmer and you’re motivated to get out side, how can you incorporate walking regularly, drinking more water, getting to yoga class or any other habits you need to include into your routine. Host a mini Rejuvenate retreat for yourself. Take a day or an afternoon to evaluate your wellness and commit to improving your self care routine. It’s time to plant seeds to flourish into feeling great with a better quality of life.