Having only had six hours sleep and yet unable to remain asleep, but tired, is a problem. It’s linked, I know, to the inordinate amount of rich food I consumed yesterday and to other lifestyle factors, like for instance, time pressures, many cares and the propensity to sit on the computer to write, do Facebook, email, etc--for all factors of lifestyle are linked.
Health is a vicious cycle. Where we have imbalance in one area it invariably creates imbalance in other areas. We eat poorly, exercise less, think on things too much, and our sleep suffers--we get tired and irritable as a result and that has an impact on what food we eat (how much, the type, and how often) and our willingness to deal with the actual problems in our lives.
I’ve noticed a pattern with my life that might resonate with you. I can be typically strong-willed but it’s a cyclic thing. It seems that around my birthday (in August) each year I get reflective and a little sick of my typical weak-willed existence and really give a big effort at reforming those aspects of my lifestyle that haven’t been working.
This new impetus gains traction for a while, particularly during the spring months, but eventually the focus wanes slowly. Eventually, I’m able to continue with a strong-will toward my health for a period of about twelve days before I lapse. Then eventually that is broken down further and I struggle to string three strong days together.
It seems that the more we give in to ourselves, the more we give in to ourselves.
What am I learning from this? The following five steps help me.
To turn this around, sustainably, a big push is required. This will require some serious planning and reflecting to get the right mental platform, and the right strategies set up that will support the future effort.
Life Purpose & Vision
An intrinsic part of this whole process enshrines our purpose. What is the vision we see of ourselves? What behaviour would we need to engage in to run congruently with that vision? I see myself as lithe, healthy, and responsible adult. What are the behaviours that will support this vision?
But almost more important than both the above is the starting off with a resolve to say “no” to certain things, and “yes” to others. Resolve is really quite simple. It’s also about knowing how to engage the ‘delay of gratification.’ It is self-discipline to a tee.
Infractions on our resolve (especially small ones) will only serve to severely weaken it toward eventual breakdown. Cognisance of this should motivate us to protect it.
And to exercise resolve effectively we need to start living ‘manually’ again (or perhaps for the first time). This in itself requires discipline. This means stopping the thoughtless, autopilot existence that we get lulled into. We choose instead to make some simple rules, and then use our awareness (unconditional presence) to remain vigilant to the temptation to give in to our weak-wills.
Finally, we can ask God’s help. The non-follower might scoff. My experience, however, is when we ask God to help us, especially if we’re saying sorry for abusing ourselves, he does make it easier somehow. Somehow my resolve is stronger. Somehow I’m more cognisant of my goals. Somehow I’ve a better chance of reaching them. Somehow I have more peace as I venture.
Planning, knowledge of our personal purpose and vision, resolve, present awareness, and God’s help… these all go toward assisting us become more strong-willed for our health.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.