I think it is pretty obvious that as a culture Americans are growing more and more impatient over time. That is really unfortunate because at the same time we are growing more and more unhealthy. I think there is a direct correlation between a person’s willingness to work a system and let things happen as they should and that same person’s overall physical condition.
Very few people don’t have a desire to live a healthier lifestyle. The problem is that living healthy takes a little extra work. It takes diet, exercise, healthy work/life balance and many other factors. Frequently we make a decision to get healthier (maybe around January 1) and a month later we have gone back to our old habits. Why is that? Why is it so difficult to make the necessary changes?
My thoughts are that we are just too impatient. We can’t see the change in the first couple weeks. If your goal is to lose weight you may see some pounds drop in the very beginning and then it will usually slow down. That slow down doesn’t mean that you aren’t making progress, it just isn’t transferring to the scale (yet). You have to be patient and let things happen as your body makes adjustments. If you want to lose 30 pounds it will not me a quick process. You have to stay committed to a plan. That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak the plan or even change processes, but committed to the overall plan of losing weight.
Or what about a person that says they want to run a half marathon but can’t imagine that being a possibility. When I started running I had to learn to run for one mile. After that I had a goal to run for 3.1 miles. Right now my goal is to run 26.2, but the most I have ever ran is 13.1. I need to learn how to run 15 then 18 and on up. This won’t happen over the period of a month. I have a plan and I am staying committed to making it happen.
I heard a story this weekend about an airline that was getting lots of complaints about the wait time for baggage claim. They added personnel and made adjustments to work flow and got the average wait down several minutes. They assumed they would get less complaints and where ready to celebrate the win, but the complaints didn’t change. The rate of complaints stayed exactly the same. So the airline decided to try something different. They adjusted what gates where being used and what baggage carousels where used and placed them as far apart as possible. No other changes where made to the baggage process. So now people walked a lot farther to get their bags. When they got there they only had to wait a minute or so to get the bags. The time was exactly the same from when they exited the plane to when they got their bags, but they didn’t have to stand and wait. The complaints dropped to almost zero.
We are very impatient. Figure out what your goal is and come up with a plan. Be willing to make necessary adjustments as you need, but stick to the overall plan. You won’t be happy with how running feels when you start. It is hard and makes you sore. Over time though it will take a lot more running to make you sore. Losing weight isn’t an easy process. Creating healthy meals isn’t as quick as grabbing a Big Mac. Going to the gym isn’t as easy as taking a magic diet pill. The results you will get will directly related to the amount of work you put into it.
My journey to being healthier has certainly had its ups and downs. I am working now to get rededicated to a healthier diet again. It isn’t always easy, but what has made it easier is having a group of people to encourage me. Find your group that are on the same journey. If it is a healthier lifestyle come check out Run Richmond one Saturday morning. If it is to get a sub 20 5K we have people that will run with you. If you want to finish your first 5K we can help make that happen. Just get focused on your goal and stay committed to making it come true.