Your life is driven by habits, some good, and some bad. By changing one habit, you will be able to completely transform your life.
A habit is like a rudder on a ship, and small rudders turn big ships.
Supertankers – the biggest ships ever built – have tremendous momentum as they move forward through the water. Imagine 550,000 metric tons moving at full forward speed. It takes a huge force to keep a supertanker on course, yet a small rudder is able to exert this force.
“A rudder is small, and it is attached to the very end of the ship, but it has such power that by this little rudder and by the power of one man – and that power gently exerted – the great bulk of ships can be moved.” – Aristotle
Some Habits Are Keystone Habits
Some habits effect a single aspect of your life, but other habits are keystone habits that impact many areas of your life at the same time. Keystone habits have a ripple effect. Research has shown that we have a few trigger habits – singular habits – that transform other areas of our lives. It is on these keystone habits you need to concentrate your efforts.
If you desire, or you need to go on a weight loss program, then look for keystone habits to ensure your success.
“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” – Poet John Dryden
Perhaps you have a personal reason to lose weight, or perhaps you’ve been given a “wake-up” call by your doctor or a specific event in your life. For whatever reason you know it is time to start, but where do you begin?
Your doctor and all national health organizations tell you to increase your daily physical activity and eat healthy. Getting control of your eating habits is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. But if you could change only one habit, what should it be?
Where to Begin
If you are out of shape, overweight, and carry excess fat start with building the habit of daily exercise. Daily exercise is a keystone habit! Research has shown that exercise spills over into many other patterns in your life. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and become more productive in other areas of their life.
Without exercise, your body’s hormones will work against your attempts to change your eating habits.
A word of caution – do not think of exercise as being a way to burn off unwanted pounds and excess fat. That would take hours of exercise each day. However, just 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking will help keep your blood sugar level within your body’s acceptable limits. When blood sugar in the blood stream is above normal limits, that is when excess blood sugar gets stored as fat.
Studies have found that people, who participate in physical activity on a regular basis, reduce their risk for a number of the most common chronic diseases – including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many types of cancer – by up to 50 percent.
- Establish a regular time each day to exercise.
- Choose an aerobic exercise program. An aerobic exercise is any type of activity that uses the large muscles of the arms and legs in a continuous rhythmic movement such as walking, running, biking, yoga, tai chi, or swimming.
- Ideally, you will do some aerobic activity every day for 30 minutes or more. While building a habit pattern, it is best to maintain one 30 minute session with a set reward at the end of the session. However, two 15 minute sessions provide almost the same aerobic benefit.
I suggest you review what Charles DuHigg said about forming an exercise habit.
Studies on breast cancer show that two to five hours a week of walking has a powerful effect on preventing relapse.