Habits. They can work for you, or they can work against you. Sometimes they’re awesome… Sometimes they really suck.

What habits really are is your mind trying to find a reliable path. Habits are your body’s defense mechanism so that it can conserve energy and go on auto pilot. Once you have done the same thing several times, your mind logs it as an algorithm and stores it away to make it easier to do over and over.

In the beginning of September last year I started on a new journey. I told myself I was going to work out with weights three times a week. Starting out, it was fairly difficult. It was hard getting up early and getting to the gym. It took some time, but it did get easier. i’m happy to say I’ve only missed two workouts since September 1st of 2019.

At the same time, I started an eating program. I’m a bigger guy and I wanted to start losing some weight. This turning 40 thing is very real… And being a cancer survivor also played a part in me wanting to become more fit and healthier. I was doing really good… Until Christmas came along. Dang it.

What I should have realized is Christmas happens at the same time every year. I knew what was coming: desserts and treats and candies and cookies and pie and everything else that the holiday brings. Deep inside I knew I needed to stay to my diet, but I did not.

We are now 2 1/2 months into the new year. While I have restrained myself much more than I did in the month of December, it has still been a challenge to keep it all straight. I have tried to pick back up the eating program exactly as I was doing it before Christmas, but these pesky old habit paths in my brain keep wrecking me. I hadn’t practiced the new one long enough to lock it in.

The good news is my exercise program is still going strong. At one point, I was working out six times a week. I’ve toned that back just a touch, but I have kept it up and I’m pleased. I can and I will get the food under control.

I write this tonight because someone I love is in the hospital due, in large part, to the habits that they have practiced over the years. Those habits have led to the need for surgery and a major course correction. I know he will be the first to tell anyone that when his surgery is done his life will look much different. He no longer has a choice. It has to. I believe in him and I know it will.

There is no better time than now to examine the habits you have in place in your life. It is painful to admit when some of them have lead you to a bad place. Those habits can be changed, as can the future…the time to start is now.

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