Why Don’t We Look After Ourselves Better?
As a matter of fact, we get our hair cut every six weeks, change the water system filters whenever the warning light illuminates, change the oil every three thousand miles, pressure wash our decks, and rotate our tires. We take better care of our stuff than of ourselves
Why is getting up from the couch and going for a walk so challenging? Alternatively, why not join a gym, consult a health expert, or go to the gym?
What prevents us from caring for ourselves better?
Actually, we aren’t to blame for a lot of it.
Our brain’s wiring plays a role in this, in part. Our brains are anticipatory and constantly focused on effectiveness. Therefore, the behavior patterns we have established for ourselves—like spending eight hours a day at a desk—are the ones we always fall back on. And the longer we put them into practice (40 to 50 hours per week times how many years?), the deeper the patterns become which makes them even harder to change.
Another component is a fundamental physical principle that states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless it is acted upon by an external force. Simply put, if energy is not required, our brains won’t use it. Any number of things, such as a vicious dog chasing us down the street, a forthcoming wedding, family gathering, vacation, or unfavorable news from the doctor, could be considered an outside force. Unconsciously or eventually consciously, we will do whatever is deemed necessary for survival.
But I believe there’s more.
Storytelling is a natural human behavior, usually reserved for ourselves. But are they really the facts? The stories are frequently false when it comes to enhancing our physical fitness. They take the form of a question and are unsettling, just like the danger they suggest. If I get in better shape, will I lose all my friends who didn’t? is a question we already know the answer to. Do I have a right to triumph? Will I be viewed favorably by others? What if my partner doesn’t improve his or her health but I do? What happens to our relationship? I’ll draw a lot of attention if I change how I look. How will I feel after that? Who are these new admirers, will I like it, and what kind of people are they? Why didn’t they pay attention to me earlier? Lastly, and most importantly: What if I fail? What if I fail?
But aside from the scary aspects, getting this kind of assistance is a special procedure. First and foremost, fitness is a service, but the work isn’t done for or on you. You are required to carry it out on your own. Additionally, you must be certain of what you require and be able to obtain it, or perhaps you simply must be aware that progress is possible. Our health may deteriorate gradually and soundlessly. Most of our chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, take 12 to 15 years of bad decisions before they manifest themselves at the doctor’s office. That doesn’t really provide that “outside” force to get you up and running until it’s too late.
Even if the failure wasn’t your fault (and it usually wasn’t; it’s actually normal), it will be much harder to try again if you have previously tried to get fit and be healthier but have reverted to your old behavior. Seven attempts are typically necessary before success.
All of this does not preclude change. It simply means that it’s harder than we realize. Because the effects of our poor decisions don’t manifest themselves for years, we take for granted our youth, fitness, and good health. But sooner or later, we must take action if we want to age well rather than simply degenerate. This is the ideal time to start if you’re ready to embrace health and wellness, stop taking medication, and get stronger. Recognize that it requires a lifetime commitment. Work on forming new neural pathways in your brain. It’s challenging at first, but it gets simpler. To keep myself going, I always remind myself of a one-line prayer I heard years ago: “Don’t let me pass away while I’m still here.”