Every day you are faced with decisions that seem mostly insignificant to the outcome of your life. Do I floss? Should I have a salad or a hamburger for lunch? Supersize or regular size? Soda or water to drink with my meal? Speak a kind word or not? Read something or watch TV? Read a Facebook post or get my work done? You get the picture.
There are obvious good choices, and on the contrary, there are obvious poor choices. Most of us don’t even think beyond the choice. There has been an eastern movement which focuses on awareness of living in the present, which certainly has its place (which I will address in a different post), however not to the determent of who we say we are and who we envision ourselves to be.
You might say, Aaron, come on, putting sugar in my coffee isn’t a reflection on who I am and who I claim to be. And I would challenge that statement. If you claim to be a powerful, healthy, strong, ______ (you fill in the blank) person choosing to add something to your coffee isn’t “bad or wrong” – but is out of integrity with who you choose to be?
We have to look at what we call the “micro-decisions” of the addition of sugar, not just the here and now of the choice. If we add 15 years of sugar to our daily coffee, the “macro-result” is certainly a whole lot of wasted calories and could lead to extra pounds, addiction, skin issues, hormonal issues, diabetes – even mental issues.
Whereas sugar in moderation isn’t necessarily going to send you to a convalescent home. My point here is that the little choices in life are what make up who you are in the long run. The small choices add up. Is one cigarette going to kill you? Not likely. However if you continue to make the micro-decision to smoke, what are your odds of death? I know that smoking might seem like an obvious threat to your health but what are the less obvious micro-decisions in your life that go against who you say you are? What are the micro- decisions that you make that go with who you say you are? You are still a vital living being and the beauty of your life is that you can change it on a dime, and begin to make good micro-decisions that lead you toward optimum macro-results – the big things you want out of life.
As I’m faced with decisions every day, I constantly stop and think what is the macro-result of this micro-decision? If we never cross paths again I want to make sure that I leave you with a litmus test to challenge your micro decisions against your ideal you. And remember, your micro-decisions create your Macro-Results.
I love this quote, something about it really draws me – well actually it would be more accurate to say that it sets me free.
I grew up in a very negative home – with very little praise and a lot of criticism. I learned to keep my dreams to myself long before I learned how to drive a car and after being in that kind of environment for long enough I internalized the negativity and made it my own.
I stopped believing in myself, I stopped having dreams. I even stopped trying to make friends.
I created a safe little cell for myself – and I hung out there for years, closed up tight.
Then I met Aaron Wright and, oh my gosh, that man is ANYTHING but tight! I think Aaron may be the most easy going and OUTGOING person I have ever met in my entire life. Being with him inspired me to open up, to blossom – he led by example.
So what does this have to do with exercising? Well for me, one of the things I kept in my safe little cell was food; and of course, there’s not a lot of exercise happening in a teeny tiny cell – right? I have gained quite a bit of weight (and lost … and gained … multiplied by whatever – which has created an bit of a metabolic issue for me).
If I choose to remain in the bud of inactivity and poor nutrition what do I have to look forward to? Well, diabetes and heart disease run in my family, as does depression – all of which can be helped or prevented by getting a little more exercise. I can get used to wearing the less attractive clothing that is available to me; and resign myself to sitting in a chair for longer and longer periods as my health continues to deteriorate; eventually not being able to take care of my home, myself, or my family properly.
But what if I choose to BLOSSOM?
Do you have a garden? Have you ever watched a flower blossom? Flowers bloom over a period of time – it doesn’t happen all at once. they open a little bit each day.
What if I gave myself permission to make small changes, each day that brought me closer and closer to the goals that I have for my life? Changes that made me stronger with time instead of jumping into some program that would make me feel inferior and like I wanted to quit.
What if I started walking a little each day? Then a little more? And a little more?
What if I started getting up from my desk every so often instead of allowing myself to remain ‘in the zone’ for many hours at a time? Then, what if, during those breaks I started doing a little stretching or a few sit-ups.
I’ll tell you what. Improvement happens when you start doing some little things each day to get stronger in an area. Confidence happens.
And it’s wonderful.
I turned 40 over the weekend. (Don’t worry, this story turns out okay.)
I’ve really been struggling with the pending rollover of a decade for the past year or so. I was consumed with all of the things that I thought I’d have accomplished by this point in my life (like becoming perfect) that I hadn’t accomplished, not really being in the ‘place’ that I pictured for myself, getting O.L.D.(er). Top those normal passage of years issues with the fact that this year my kids turned 16 and 13 – more big milestones – and when I look at them all I can see is my time with them slipping racing away and I just felt so sad.
Then I ran across this beautifully written post by Lindsey Mead that practically describes my very own life – and was exactly what I needed to start changing my mind.
I don’t have to be all dramatic about the passage of time – it’s going to pass anyway. Instead I can be grateful. I can be grateful for the wonderful people in my life, my material blessings, and my health (even if it’s not perfect – it’s more perfect than what other people are experiencing). I can be grateful for the time I have been given to live and to love and I can be grateful that I am still alive to turn 40.
This different mindset didn’t automatically make me happy to usher in a new decade but it has led me to some introspection (as much as I can indulge in while also starting a company, raising two teenagers, and living my otherwise busy life). Now that the ‘big day’ has passed I finally feel like I can relax again and I am beginning to look forward to this next stage of my life with anticipation and excitement .
Oh, and my awesome little family made my day so special. My daughter created something she called a ‘joystick’ that has ‘most’ of the great things about me (she ran out of room) and they organized a wonderful surprise party for me complete with a visit from my sister and niece – all the way from Georgia!
It is remarkable how one’s wits are sharpened by physical exercise. – Pliny the Younger
The mind/body connection is really sticking with me this week!
Tuesday I shared information about a study suggesting a correlation between midlife physical fitness and dementia in later life. Today I’d like to take a look back at our late teens and a study that ‘shows a clear link between good physical fitness and better results for the IQ test’, particularly ‘for logical thinking and verbal comprehension’. Of course, since the researchers looked at data from 1950-1976 they were also able to compare the results of the fitness tests (taken while the young men were participating in Swedish national service) to socioeconomic status later in life. Guess what – ‘Those who were fit at 18 were more likely to go into higher education, and many secured more qualified jobs.’ So exercise makes you successful? 🙂
I have read several other articles that indicate that being physically fit (and making sure our brains get plenty of oxygen) positively affects our intelligence. This certainly turns the old stereotype of the ‘dumb jock’ on it’s ear doesn’t it? Although I’ve known plenty of smart athletes in my time.
Incidentally, the study says that ‘youngsters who improve their physical fitness between the
ages of 15 and 18 increase their cognitive performance’ so if you have teenagers who are getting a little sedentary ask them to join you on your next walk.
(I could NOT find the actual study but one of the articles I used for my research is here)
I recently ran across this post on the UNC Health Care blog and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
A recent Finnish study shows a correlation between fitness at midlife and risk of developing dementia; ‘Study subjects who reported their fitness levels at age 50 as “poor” were four times more likely to develop dementia over the next three decades vs. those who rated their fitness levels as “good”.’
This really bothered me, mostly because I have witnessed how awful Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are – both for those living with the disorders and for their families. I currently have a friend who is courageously living with this type of disorder (yes, I like to hang out with people a few years my senior) and watching her fight for her words and independence breaks my heart.
I think that losing control of my mind and body in this way may be one of my biggest fears and even the slightest hint of ‘mom fog’ scares me to death. I’m just now entering the last leg before ‘mid-life’ and I could absolutely up my game with regard to my fitness level (so many excuses). So, I have to honestly assess my current habits and where following that road is likely to end up. If upping my fitness (and probably cleaning up my diet) will help me stay sharp as an octogenarian, then give me space so I can do my push-ups and pass the salad bowl pretty please (just don’t make me do Sudoku – I hate numbers)!
Minute Movement Adversity Podcast
Today I discuss the 4 steps I had to go through to overcome some recent adversity at my job.
What are some adversities you are going through and how have you handled them? If you are currently struggling with your fitness, job, weight, or relationships, contact us and we will help you grow through it.
micro decisions | MACRO RESULTS