Someone told me tonight that he was on a health kick. He had decided to give up wine, sugar, and processed flour. He said he did not know how long he would do it, but he was going strong after three days. He was not sure about next week, but he was fairly sure he could get to the end of this week.
This well-intentioned person needs a major adjustment in his mindset regarding his health. In truth, the simple disciplines he decided to do make a difference over time, not overnight. It is not a waste to practice pro-health habits for a few days, but they do not add up to anything significant.
Imagine a line that is straight in present time, but that curves up, or down, into the future. The way the compound effect works is like this. If you live above the curve, healthy habits accrue. Your ability to create long lasting habits is the result of the smallest and simplest activities adding up over time. Drinking plenty of water, getting regular exercise, eating nutritious food, avoiding saturated fats and processed foods, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, getting plenty of rest and relaxation will make a world of difference when they build over a lifetime. In fact, one of the magic components of the compound effect regarding your health is this: when you feel strong, healthy, and energetic (after a period of time during which you invested in these pro-health activities) you can’t even know which one little activity produced that effect. Why? Because it wasn’t just one. It was the compound effect.
Similarly, if you live below the curve, and practice simple errors in judgment over time, your body will tell the story of neglect, defeat, and poor health. You might not be sorry if you ate and drank excessively for one day, but if you maintain this practice over days, weeks, months, and (God forbid) years, your body will conk out. Not because of one drink, or one heavy meal, but because of a strong of them. If you manifest diabetes or heart disease through persistent poor practices, you will never know which one night of excess took you over the top. It wasn’t just one night. It was the compound effect.
Time will promote your successes in your body (above the curve) or it will reveal your failures (below the curve). Harness time as an ally in choosing to be well. You can’t change the past regarding previous choices you made. And the best way to predict the future is one healthy habit at a time. It is never too late to start making your health a priority and it is always too late to wait. Best time to start? Now!
With love and encouragement,
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Click for a free Ebook, It Pays to Be Healthy
Join our community on Facebook!