Hi, here is Florin, coming to you today after a whole week of insights into people and their habits. We at Medical Corp fail so many times to make you understand what is better for your body and soul, and generally, your health.
But most times, we succeed – and that’s thanks to you.
This week I had the chance of a video appointment with one of my patients, a 40-year-old lady. She is married, with two children and her own business on the way (about which I’m happy to say she’s doing well!! And I’m glad for her).
It was late in the evening – something like 7.40 pm – and I tapped on the screen 20 minutes of delay because of my last physical appointment with a nine-year-old kid.
I took the video call close to 8 pm:
– Hy Jeanne, how are you? What worries you today at this hour?
– Hey!! I don’t want to bother you, and I’m sure you’ll yell out of frustration when you hear my problem. And above all, it is so late in the day.
– Yeah, I know, but you know very well that I prefer that we talk if you have a problem, even if it is not urgent. Shoot!
– Listen. I want to keep up with my physical exercises and good nutrition, but I can’t anymore. Everything goes okay for me for a couple of weeks when I start – even for my husband and children! I have a lot of support from them, and they also get immersed in this lifestyle. The kids love working out, and they pride themselves at school whenever they eat fruit and vegetables instead of sugars! It’s so cool!
– Oh yeah, I was talking about me. So, I start, and every single time, I fail after a couple of weeks.
– You fail?
– Yes, I fail! I fail because I don’t stick to these habits. I can’t implement them naturally, so every single time something disturbs the routine, I give up.
– You’re trying to tell me that you go back to your old habits.
– Yeah, that’s it.
Suddenly, I become even more lucid, trying to understand the process behind her situation.
Going back to your old habits could connect to your need to become better. You don’t know how to achieve that goal healthily, so you take the wrong path.
Believe me, it’s a recurrent situation, though each person navigates it differently. The changing variables are called blockers, and we must address them correctly.
– Okay, and how do you know you’re failing more than winning?
– Because I don’t do what I’m supposed to do, I don’t work out every day, and my meals aren’t – always healthy.
– How many days do you “fail”?
– I don’t know; maybe one day per week.
– Yes, I don’t know precisely.
– How about next time you try tracking your slip-ups?
– Yes, take a calendar, and make notes. Every day you work out, write it down on your calendar. Draw a line every single day in which you don’t.
Okay, it could seem too basic to count, but here’s how our brains behave:
If we do not track our progress somewhere, our behavior becomes similar to an impression or an idea.
And we have a lot of ideas throughout the day.
What is the difference between the “idea” that you probably ate well today and the dramatic scene of the movie you watched two days ago? No difference!
If you don’t write it down, the brain doesn’t see any difference! Believe me!
And we must write it down. With a pen. On a paper. No technology. Every single day.
Put the notebook or the calendar in a place where you pass frequently. Your bathroom, for example.
And track your behavior.
Neuroplasticity teaches us that some 30 days are sufficient for our brains to create new paths between neurons. The newly created neuronal network will help us implement that action like a new habit.
It’s normal not to succeed from the first try. Nobody succeeds from the start, not even Messi, Verstappen, or Serena Williams.
I know Jeanne and her lifestyle, so I know that she likes to win every single time.
– So, Jeanne, we’ll track the calendar for one month, and we’ll talk then. What do you think?
– Yeah, I’m okay with that. And if I fail in the meantime?
– You’ll restart the tracking from the first day until you have a total of 30 days.
– Mhm, okay, so I don’t have the right to fail. If I fail, you’ll be disappointed when we have our appointment in one month.
– Okay, I’ll be a bit clearer. We’ll have the appointment in a month; you have 30 days to track your activity on the calendar. We’ll decide together what you did there.
People in general love to win, finish their work and keep their promises. And it’s perfectly natural. Not doing what you want to do harms your self-esteem. And this one hurts—a lot.
So, we don’t want to feel it.
One month after:
I’m starting my afternoon appointment, and I see Jeanne being the first one.
– Hi! How are you? You and your calendar?
– Uuuummmm, fine!! You’ll be disappointed.
– Okay, show me.
– Look, I started here, and after 12 days, I failed. I drew a line. It was my cousin’s birthday, so I didn’t work out, and I ate a lot – and only unhealthy things that day! You know how it is at a party; you take some chips, you grab a beer, you touch a cake…
– You touch it? Is it a sexy one, at least?
– Ha, ha, yeah, I mean you eat it, I know.
– Me or you?
– I understand I have to say it, I have eaten a cake for my cousin’s birthday. Is it okay now?
– Okay… Okay, and after?
– Afterward, I drew a line.
– And I restarted from day one. After nine days, I failed again.
– What happened there?
– Simple; Friday night after a hard week at work dealing with my employees. I wanted to feel a bit better. And we’ve done a pizza soirée. So, I failed again.
– Okay, and?
– I knew we had our appointment, and I didn’t want to disappoint you, so I restarted tracking my progress the next day. And take it; take a look at it.
– What do you feel when you see your progress?
– What progress? Where is the improvement in there? NO PROGRESS! I can’t have 30 days of workouts and good nutrition!!! Can’t you see????
– Jeanne, I see that in the last 30 days, you have managed 28 days of good habits, meaning good nutrition and physical exercise. I see only two days when you’ve done things otherwise. And if my math is good, 28 days doing well are better than the two days when you chose differently. It’s how I like to say: One is better than zero. And that’s the case here. 28 is better than two. And you know what? You have another 30 days to succeed fully. What you have done there is a real success; it’s not failure.
– Umm, nothing to say other than a big, big thank you, doctor!!
We, as human beings, love to win, do things right, and succeed.
The key is to define success before saying we failed.
If like Jeanne, we stuck to our plan 28 days out of 30, and we learned to push even harder from those two other days, we are double winners. And double winners are better than 1-time winners, isn’t that right?