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Why Don’t We Do What We Know We “Should” Do?
How often do you start your day intending to start a new habit or change a behavior and, by mid-day it’s a distant memory?
How often do you say: “tomorrow I”m going to start my new….(exercise/eating/work) plan…” and when the alarm goes off and you think: “Oh wait…I meant the next tomorrow…”
You’re not alone.
Our society has more chronic disease, is more overweight, and is more anxious than ever before.
Yet we’re smart beings.
It’s not that we don’t know what to do for greater health.
We know our bodies need sleep.
We know our bodies need exercise.
We know eating whole fresh foods is good for our health.
We know scrolling Facebook negatively impacts our mood,
We know sleeping with our phone by our bed is bad for our health.
We know one glass of wine increases our risk of disease, inflames our body, depresses our system, impacts our sleep, and can influence our mood the next day.
Yet…the excuses we come up with.
Excuses for why our phone is by our bed.
Excuses for why we eat what we eat.
Excuses for why we don’t get enough sleep.
Excuses for why we don’t exercise.
Lack of information, research, or knowledge is not why we aren’t changing our behaviors.
We have google and can find all these studies and more.
85% of our risk of disease is not genetic.
90% of what determines our life span is not genetic.
Sleep is critical for the prevention of disease.
Exercise is non-negotiable.
White sugar and wine harm our bodies.
Having notifications on our phone triggers our fight or flight response; that one “beep” can raise the level of cortisol in our blood for 20-60 minutes!
Checking our email in the morning moves us into reactive energy and makes us 30% less effective that day.
We keep our notifications on,
We stay up late to watch “one more show”,
We push snooze,
We put off exercising,
We pour the glass of wine.
This post is not about shaming you. I do these things too.
What it is about is explaining to you WHY we do these things as it will give you the tools to shift to decisions that are better for you.
It is also about empowering you by showing how your daily actions make a crucial difference in your risk of disease and ability to increase your longevity.
Changing any piece of your daily behavior from hurtful to helpful makes a difference in your wellness. Most disease is not genetic. Therefore the amount of control we have with our daily decisions is exciting and empowering.
So WHY DON’T WE DO WHAT WE TELL OURSELVES WE WANT TO DO?!?
Blame the brain.
Have you heard how our brain is wired for survival? I had too.
And, as a loving and trusting person, I then assumed that my brain would act in my best interest. That it, when given the chance, would choose behaviors that would help me; move me towards my goals. I even thought, that when given the chance, my brain would choose behaviors that would make me happy or add joy to my life.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
Our brain has a motivational triad. Its’ goal is to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy. As far as your brain is concerned, if you lived through yesterday, it was a successful day. It essentially says: “You’re alive? Let’s do that again”. Rinse and repeat. It doesn’t matter if you spent a good portion of the day on the floor crying or lying around procrastinating and feeling like sh*t about yourself. You lived through the day and that’s a win. Our brain doesn’t care if you gain weight, if your relationships tank, or if you’re depressed because you’re not living in alignment with your goals.
Our brain looks at our track record and says: “Look, you lived through yesterday. Let’s do that again”. Your inner warrior may say: “But I was miserable. I didn’t do what I said I’d do and I over-shopped or ate.” Your brain will retort: “Yeah. And, as I said, you’re still alive. Success for me”.
Blame it on the Brain.
It is why we push snooze.
It is why we overeat.
It is why we pour the glass of wine.
It is why we stay in jobs we don’t like.
Choosing something different goes against the brain’s triad: it takes energy, it is uncomfortable, it is not pleasant.
Yet choose different we must.
There is more chronic disease now than ever before.
More of us are on anti-depressants.
Our obesity rate is going up.
Diagnoses for diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, respiratory diseases and arthritis are all on the rise.
It’s not genetics.
We have an overabundance of concentrated pleasures; what I call false pleasures (things that feel like self care but are actually self sabotage (staying up for one more TV show instead of getting the sleep, pouring that glass of wine so we don’t have to think about our difficult day; eating something with high sugar content mid-day to “get through our day”, etc…)
Our brain got us here but as we look around and see the chronic disease, stress, and state of our society, we see it is no longer serving us. As Brooke Castillo points out: “Our brain’s motivational triad is now killing us. In order for our society to evolve, we must do the opposite of what our brain desires.”
We Must Re-Wire Our Brain.
We must do the things we know are good for our wellness. We must resist pushing snooze when our brain tells us to. We must go out for a walk when our brain tells us to sit on the couch. We must choose to have the difficult conversation instead of turning to wine to dull reality.
Over the next couple of weeks on my podcast and Instagram, I will dive into tools that specifically assist you as you change habits and behaviors. For this week, I invite you to become aware of your own brain’s blend of BS. Which excuses is your brain telling you? Where is it seeking false pleasure? Where is it avoiding discomfort (aka growth)? Where is it saving energy?
Everything Starts with Awareness.
You are in control. Not your brain.
Your brain convinces you to stay stuck.
How does that feel?
Where does that get you?
If you found this post interesting, sign up for my 10-Day Course for Conscious Living. It’s a 10-Day Program that will shine awareness on different areas of your life and help you learn your brain’s blend of BS. It will help you see where your brain is running the show and where you might like to make a change. Sign up. You’ll love it. This is what I do. I help women remove the emotional drama from their lives. I empower them to live more consciously; To take their brain off the rinse and repeat cycle and live lives they LOVE!