“So when do I get the part where the eating and exercise is automatic, like it is for you?”
Someone asked me that this past weekend, and I think my answer disappointed her. I don’t like to do that to people.
For me, there’s sometimes a feeling of being on auto-pilot. I’m eating the same rotation of healthy(ish) foods every day. I exercise right on schedule. I’m in a positive sleep pattern. And so on, with all of it seeming to happen without much thought.
But that’s not true. I don’t set the cruise control on my car and then take a nap. I still have a job to do, namely keeping my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road. (One would hope the same thing is happening with other drivers. And with airplane pilots.)
Maybe a better analogy is that of the automatic coffee maker. Unless I set the timer, position the carafe, and add the water, filter, and–oh, yeah–the coffee, I’m going to get freshly-brewed air the next morning.
It’s the same with this quest for healthier living. I have to have the ingredients on hand and in their proper places for it to work. For me, this translates to having healthy foods in the house and having a specific time set for exercise. And also a good Plan B, Plan C, etc. for when Plan A has a wrinkle, because not every day is perfect.
What IS automatic is that I wake up each day and start. I mentally run through the day ahead and commit to following through. Most days I do, but sometimes I don’t. It really doesn’t matter as long as I start again. Or I start over, depending on which is required at that moment.
In How to Never Give Up, writer Stephen Guise assures us that as long we keep starting, we’ll finish:
Your brain has no idea how to “finish,” because it’s a multi-step process to get to the point of finishing something. But the brain does know how to start the first step.
The mind is a magnificent machine and will either power our efforts or blow them to smithereens. Taking that first step–a commitment to start–each and every day can become automatic. What follows can become routine, but it won’t happen automatically. Darn it.