Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Principle #4 – Look for chances to do your daily “Habit Push-Ups”

We all know that without exercise, we get flabby. However, it is just as true that when we procrastinate, we get lazy.
Every action one takes makes it a bit more likely that we will take a similar action in the future. So, when one chooses potato chips over an apple or sleeping in rather than taking a morning walk, a pattern forms that makes it a bit less likely that we’ll choose wisely in the future.
Why don’t we naturally do what is in our own best interest?
The answer lies in our tendency to grab onto the short-term pleasures while forgetting the longer-term pain. For instance, if faced with a donut, we might ignore the unavoidable flab deposit and choose the immediate sugar hit. Such actions weaken our chances of making good decisions in the future.
Just as doing push-ups today makes us stronger tomorrow, resisting the donuts today strengthens our capacity to make better decisions tomorrow.
Every day, look for opportunities to make Principle #4 work in your life. Take the ten minutes to clean your desk, make that phone call that you keep putting off, or even find the opportunity to apologize after making a mistake – acting on these opportunities now will make skillful actions routine in the future.
Look for opportunities for “habit pushups” and you can quickly make your life healthier and more fulfilling.

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