Just Start: Why There is No Pause Button on Your Health

JUST START: WHY THERE IS NO PAUSE BUTTON ON YOUR HEALTH

Undertaking new health endeavors can be intimidating for even the most seasoned fitness veterans. Changing the way we eat, rearranging the daily routine to allow for more exercise, altering our evening schedule to try to get more sleep–it’s certainly not always easy. Oftentimes, the idea of health goals are a lot more appealing than the actual work. Lowering cholesterol, losing weight, putting on muscle, or feeling more confident all sound wonderful–but what happens when the work starts? People press the Pause Button.

The Pause Button Puts our Health On Hold…Or Does It?

The Pause Button is that tempting, safe, alluring button that people love to press when they have a goal they’d like to accomplish, but don’t want to deal with the work that’s required to reach it. Many people find themselves putting the goals off into the distant future, for the next week, or day, or when they have “more time.” Avoidance gives the appeal and comfort of not making a decision. “I’ll start next month” feels safer than saying “I won’t do it.” But there’s no such thing as not making a decision. Not doing it is not doing it.

Whether we like it or not, our body has to keep on doing its job. Cells are regenerating, building, and repairing; food is being digested, metabolized, and stored; muscles are waiting patiently to be used–all whether we’re ready to start or not. We might want to mentally press the Pause Button, but physically, there’s no choice. We’d die if our bodies were to stop trying. So when we eat with reckless abandon because “the diet starts next month” or lay on the couch after a day of sitting in a chair because “I’ll start working out next week,” our body still must cope with the consequences of those decisions.

Fortunately, there’s a massive expanse of middle ground that’s being totally overlooked in most of these situations. The use of the Pause Button perpetuates the idea that people are either off or on the wagon of health. It perpetuates the concept of all-or-nothing decision making. And it ignores the profound concept of starting small. What if your new health endeavor of eating nutritiously doesn’t start tomorrow, but starts right now, instead? And what if the goal was not to eat iceberg lettuce and and an egg at every meal, but to add one serving of vegetables to dinner. And that’s it, for now. And how about if instead of training for a Spartan Race beginning next Monday, you focus on lifting weights twice a week, first.

Resist The All-Or-Nothing Thinking of Dieting

The Pause Button perpetuates a cycle of letting all our decisions be run by our emotional brain. And that emotional brain is incredibly powerful. It resists change, it resists effort, and it runs on passion. Passion is an emotion. Emotions come and go. We might have passion for the thought of getting healthier–but when the work sets-in our passion dwindles because the emotional brain stomps its foot. Which is why we must rely on discipline. Passion gets us excited, discipline gets us to our goals. Starting small gives people a place to begin their journey because it reminds them that they do have agency in their decision-making. If a person can set the foundation for their discipline by starting small, they will always have a safety net in their behavior because they have something more reliable to fall back on.

If you’ve been pressing the Pause Button every week, you are not alone. But it is time to take your finger off the button. Your body is not on pause. Your health is not on pause. Your worthiness to feel confident is not on pause. Start something small right now, and give yourself the opportunity to build new habits of discipline.

JUST START: WHY THERE IS NO PAUSE BUTTON ON YOUR HEALTH

Undertaking new health endeavors can be intimidating for even the most seasoned fitness veterans. Changing the way we eat, rearranging the daily routine to allow for more exercise, altering our evening schedule to try to get more sleep–it’s certainly not always easy. Oftentimes, the idea of health goals are a lot more appealing than the actual work. Lowering cholesterol, losing weight, putting on muscle, or feeling more confident all sound wonderful–but what happens when the work starts? People press the Pause Button.

The Pause Button Puts our Health On Hold…Or Does It?

The Pause Button is that tempting, safe, alluring button that people love to press when they have a goal they’d like to accomplish, but don’t want to deal with the work that’s required to reach it. Many people find themselves putting the goals off into the distant future, for the next week, or day, or when they have “more time.” Avoidance gives the appeal and comfort of not making a decision. “I’ll start next month” feels safer than saying “I won’t do it.” But there’s no such thing as not making a decision. Not doing it is not doing it.

Whether we like it or not, our body has to keep on doing its job. Cells are regenerating, building, and repairing; food is being digested, metabolized, and stored; muscles are waiting patiently to be used–all whether we’re ready to start or not. We might want to mentally press the Pause Button, but physically, there’s no choice. We’d die if our bodies were to stop trying. So when we eat with reckless abandon because “the diet starts next month” or lay on the couch after a day of sitting in a chair because “I’ll start working out next week,” our body still must cope with the consequences of those decisions.

Fortunately, there’s a massive expanse of middle ground that’s being totally overlooked in most of these situations. The use of the Pause Button perpetuates the idea that people are either off or on the wagon of health. It perpetuates the concept of all-or-nothing decision making. And it ignores the profound concept of starting small. What if your new health endeavor of eating nutritiously doesn’t start tomorrow, but starts right now, instead? And what if the goal was not to eat iceberg lettuce and and an egg at every meal, but to add one serving of vegetables to dinner. And that’s it, for now. And how about if instead of training for a Spartan Race beginning next Monday, you focus on lifting weights twice a week, first.

Resist The All-Or-Nothing Thinking of Dieting

The Pause Button perpetuates a cycle of letting all our decisions be run by our emotional brain. And that emotional brain is incredibly powerful. It resists change, it resists effort, and it runs on passion. Passion is an emotion. Emotions come and go. We might have passion for the thought of getting healthier–but when the work sets-in our passion dwindles because the emotional brain stomps its foot. Which is why we must rely on discipline. Passion gets us excited, discipline gets us to our goals. Starting small gives people a place to begin their journey because it reminds them that they do have agency in their decision-making. If a person can set the foundation for their discipline by starting small, they will always have a safety net in their behavior because they have something more reliable to fall back on.

If you’ve been pressing the Pause Button every week, you are not alone. But it is time to take your finger off the button. Your body is not on pause. Your health is not on pause. Your worthiness to feel confident is not on pause. Start something small right now, and give yourself the opportunity to build new habits of discipline.

2018-07-31T16:35:09+00:00

About the Author:

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Erin is a graduate student working toward a Masters of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion, as well as completing the Didactic Program in Dietetics to become a Registered Dietitian. She’s also a Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach and Certified Sports Nutritionist.