junk food
Credit: deposit photo

As we barrel toward the end of the year, my thoughts turn toward resolutions and self-improvement. I have been one of the many who resolved to exercise, eat right, and lose weight. I would begin the journey full of grand ideas of the result with only a careless glance at what I would need to accomplish day to day to get to my desired result. By January 15th, my resolve would weaken, and I would find excuses to allow poor eating habits and to skip workouts. I despaired of ever finding a way to keep myself motivated until my sister, niece, and I started running this past summer. 


We used a common smart phone app Couch to 5k to guide us in running safely. The first few days went fairly well, but then my feet started hurting, and I found it hard to breathe as the running sessions grew longer. I planned to drop running since I felt I was holding my sister and niece back. My sister said something that will stick with me forever, “Exercise is just for the rest of your life.”shoesCredit: deposit photo

That phrase was the catalyst for a mental shift which has kept me on track for almost six months. I used to look for the excuse that would let me off the exercise hook until January rolled around again. Now if I miss a workout or eat a meal or meals which are not healthy, it’s no longer the key to quitting for the year. I acknowledge the mistake and then I go back to better eating habits or restart my exercise routine. I’m now looking for ways to make a healthy lifestyle the easier choice. 


Those wise words have spilled into other areas of my life and have saved me a lot of grief. coworkerCredit: deposit photoI often find it difficult to be excited about going to work five days a week, but when I think of it as something, I will need to do for the rest of my life my mind begins to search for ways to make the task something I want to do. Before I start the workday, I mentally ask to be a tranquil presence for my coworkers and for customers. It doesn’t always make for a relaxing day, but my good days outnumber the crummy ones. 


I used to be a very aggressive driver who would weave in and out of traffic and yell at anyone who was in my way, or driving in a manner I found irritating. Now I realize I don’t have to make driving so stressful. I may not be driving for the rest of my life, but I will be driving for a large portion of it. truckCredit: deposit photoI decided to think of driving as a shared experience instead of a solitary experience. I notice the less hostile I am, the kinder drivers around me seem. It’s a better feeling to be a considerate driver, and forgiving of the aggressive ones I meet on occasion because I used to be one of them.

It’s not easy to think of life in the long term when instant gratification seems much more important in the moment, but I have seen how small choices day to day will affect the result and give me the outcome which is not only best for me, but also best for everyone around me. What advice have you received that changed your life forever? Let me know in a comment.