Updated: Oct 24, 2020
‘40% of premature deaths are due to behaviours that could have been changed’ – University of Pennsylvania - Quoted by Katy Milkman, who’s research relies on big data and field experiments around human behaviour (my favourite topic!).
So, what are these behaviours that lengthen our life and add quality to it, and how can we change if we are choosing habits that will hinder our chances?
More importantly though, how can we make those changes lasting?
The things we choose to do, or not do, are the things that impact our health, happiness and longevity. Let’s look at what some of them are.
Smoking, drug use, digital addiction, alcohol (amount and regularity), sleep (quality and comfort), food intake and nutritional value, hydration, quality relationships and interactions, movement, mindfulness, where we choose to work, who we hang out with, and what our daily routine entails.. all things that we choose on a daily basis for ourselves.
It’s interesting to note that most clients come to me claiming one or more of the following; they feel generally unwell, have poor sleep, no energy, little motivation, are not happy with their relationships, (work or personal), keep sabotaging themselves, and feel like they are living on auto, claiming they are either powerless to change anything, they don’t know where to start, or they’ve ‘tried to change before and it didn’t work’..
This is every single one, regardless of stature or rank in the Private or Public sector.
When we look at their daily routines, rituals, habits and choices, it’s all there in black and white.
Furthermore, investigating what they believe about themselves and the world around them shows where it all started and why it’s so hard for them to see the possibility for change let alone have the commitment to stick to anything.
From a young age we formed dietary habits, daily rituals, food preferences/addictions, etc based on our environment and circumstances. Some of these habits were formed by us, to help us cope with abusive situations, threats to our safety (perceived or otherwise), or because we decided we weren’t good enough, or that we didn’t matter, so we leaned into unhealthy habits to numb out and/or self sooth.
Our choices around who we allow in our life and what, if any, boundaries we draw with how they treat us are also formed at a young age, and if we don’t learn why we do that, or how to change those choices, we will keep doing the things that damage our emotional and physical state, which in turn impacts our quality of life.
If we had a parent who came home from work every night and flopped down in the chair and said ‘Phew! I need a drink’, that would have become normalised for us, and we’re likely to adopt that habit ourselves. It’s the same with patterns of abuse, neglect, over/under eating, perfectionism and apathy.
Here are the big questions:
Are you happy, healthy and completely loving your life? If so, that’s brilliant! Keep doing what you’re doing!
Do you see which of your current choices you’re making daily now that will impact your quality of life negatively in the future? (Or are they already having a negative impact on you?)
How bad do you want to feel better/healthier/more fulfilled/loved/happy? (Some people complain about things they are not willing to change, there’s a benefit from them staying the way they are and generally it’s fear driven).
Are you prepared to look into why you make the choices that you do and how you can take personal responsibility for completely changing your ‘now’ AND your future?
This stuff fascinates me, this is the work I LOVE to do, helping people understand how their brains are wired for communication, connection, fulfillment, health and well-being.
To predict your future simply look at the choices you are making right now with things like nutrition, movement, relationships and money, and think about how that will impact you in years to come..
If you're feeling a bit uncomfortable about how you see your current choices might impact your future in a not so pleasant way, maybe it's time to look at what you want most rather than what you want right now..