Good habits really can make such a big difference to our lives. I have seen evidence of this time and time again over my 20+ years in physio practise and indeed in my own personal life.
It is such a pleasure to see patients oftentimes embrace simple little changes and come back with a big smile on their faces after the evident results.
The farmer who has implemented his 10 minutes of shoulder exercises every day, taken his evening hot shower and used good pillow support at night reporting 50 % less pain doing his daily jobs in the yard on review one week later.
The lady who returns after 4 weeks of doing her new pelvic floor exercises reporting one incidence of stress incontinence in the entire month instead of daily occurrences.
The fact is – some health improvements can occur quite fast and the strategies needed can be “easy to do and easy not to do” as mentioned by Jeff Olsen in his book called The Slight Edge, a very impactful book I read last year. In this book Olsen outlined how the person who has their life in order – is in the minority. Only 5% of people are on course most of their time. 95% of people at any one time he claims are veering away from their goals and dreams.
The difference in the successful 5% compared to the majority is that they understand that quality habits almost daily are worthwhile (approx. 260 days a year is the sweet spot to aim for). This consistency and diligence isn’t fancy but gives the CUMULATIVE effect of mini efforts over time building up to oftentimes massive results. Pat Divilly – Facebook phenomenon and motivational speaker described in a recent 2019 podcast – that the difference in adopting good and bad habits is like having two people driving along parallel roads at the beginning of their journey with one veering marginally to the left and the other marginally to the right. He outlines that they will end up in very different locations over time. The person with the good habit may simply have started 10 minutes of exercise every morning and the person with the bad habit may have ate a bar of chocolate daily but the overall health of each individual may now be poles apart.
The big teaching I try to in-still in my patients going forward is the mind-set that simple habits that they have begun need to become a new WAY OF LIFE and the changes being made are not just for the short-term. I look to in-still the 80/20 rule. Maintain the changes at least 80% of the time and you will live the Slight Edge Life-style! We are all human and life throws everyone unexpected
curve-balls and we have to allow for that. The path of life never runs completely smoothly.
However, I am regularly amazed that the work necessary to attain much better health can be quite simple. And I have seen time and time again that when we stop doing the positive habits and really properly evaluate the regression backwards that it really is obvious that the good habits were the glue keeping our health in order if we are really being honest.
The only catch is that – These habits MUST BE DONE EVEN WHEN THINGS ARE GOING WELL AND WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! Again as Jeff Olsen says “easy to do and easy not to do”.