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The first 24 hours of change

Part 1–5 of Health series

Time and Light

How many attempts have you made throughout your life? How many times have you heard the trope that it is all a matter of exercising free will? Reflect on these two questions for a moment before reading further.

The word health can mean many things of course. For most it is the state of not being ill, or pain-free. For others, very few sadly, it is a state of feeling optimal. This can apply to physical health, mental health, financial health, environmental health.

However, these different categories of health are part of one dynamic system. A system whose outputs we are powerless to predict based on past and present measurements. This is where it is believed by so many that free will can completely upset the trajectory of a phenomena — we’ll call it life, your life. But free will is a myth.

We will go on a diet as soon as we empty that cupboard of crisps, Nutella and candy that will have the biblical impact and relevance of The Last Supper. You, of course are Jesus in this scenario and will steady yourself for that day of torture, struggle and sacrifice to get to the promised land. — Too much? Sorry.

We fool ourselves into waiting for the perfect time. The first day of the month, the week, or when this stressful time in our lives has past.

Whenever you begin is inconsequential. The first twenty-four hours are everything! Again, Free Will is a Myth.

The only thing we can do is build a system to function within so that the impulse to binge cannot flourish — where will-power and free will are an irrelevance. That system is comprised of the design of an environment (friends, home, work/life balance) that fosters growth and improvement in all areas of life, not just the elimination of junk calories.

Here are 3 suggestions:

1) Go for a walk in the park today and calmly reflect on what you want. (60 minutes) — be stoic about this.

2) Reflect and add one more behaviour –not a goal, that you want to adopt in addition to the elimination of junk food. For example: guitar, reading, painting, etc… — for 20–30 minutes a day.

3) Eat within an 8–10-hour window. Eight of those hours are sleep time so you can do this. Believe me. Start at a ten-hour window if too challenging.

The rest could not be less complicated. Start those first twenty-four hours with perfect attention to this new environment. One behaviour within a supportive system nurtures the next. Repeat that twenty-four-hour cycle.

Draw a crude graph of the two trajectories (junk past-clean present)and describe literally where they will lead. Both unknowable futures I agree but here’s the thing; The junk path will definitely lead to an unknowable poor health future and the clean path will lead to a very likely healthy one that has the added quality of being better well-read, proficient with guitar, improved attractiveness and the attraction of like people.

Enjoy the next twenty-four hours of your life. Own them.

It’s Chaos, Be Kind — Michelle McNamara

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