When the check engine light goes on in your car, what do you do? Do you ignore it? Wait until something goes catastrophically wrong? Bring it to the mechanic right away? What about the change oil light?
We have all experienced various hiccups with our car and whether we take it to a professional to be handled right away or whether we wait is dependent on a number of factors. Maybe you're really busy with work. Maybe you're afraid whatever the problem is, you won't be able to afford it. Maybe, you're just really tired and don't feel like taking it to the shop, possibly waiting longer than you'd like, and forking over what seems like an offensive amount of cash at the end. These are all reasonable concerns and all feelings we've all had at one time or another. I've been there, you've been there, it's just a part of owning a car.
My question for you is, how often do you ignore the signs from your body that it's time for a tune up or an oil change? How often do you KNOW you should workout or be more cognizant about portion sizes or food quality and how often do you act on those thoughts? Is it 10% of the time? 20%? 80%? Whatever the number is, we all often feel like we could use some improvement. Shifting your mindset on what is acceptable or not acceptable for your body may be as simple as thinking about what would be acceptable for your car.
If your tire light came on, you instinctively know that you should get some air in the tires sooner rather than later, but you also know that if it takes you a day or two to do so, there likely won't be any major long-term damage done to the tires or car. In that same sense, you also know that if you were let that issue fester, within a few months you'd have a series of issues on your hands. Tires not wearing correctly, issues with your alignment, the list goes on. The stakes only get higher with the change engine light or the oil change indication.
How often do you ignore your body's signals that something needs to change or long-term harm will come as a result? How many people go years and years saying they'll make a change but never seem to find the will or ability to do so? I am not blaming them or shaming them - life is hard and it is often significantly harder to do the right thing and take good care of yourself than it appears. Imagine if we had the same foresight for ourselves that we do for our cars? Or even our family and friends? Think about how when you see a family member or friend engaging in behavior that is damaging to their health and wellbeing and how much more inclined you are to step up and say something. What if we all treated ourselves with the same care and grace? To say hey, I know life is hard and taking care of yourself can be quite a bit of work, but where can we improve? I'm not talking about moving mountains or making dramatic life changes overnight. But how can we improve, instill discipline, and make life just a little bit easier without being self-critical or negative?
Start with something small. Wish you were in better shape but can't seem to find the time? Don't have the resources for a gym or other exercise equipment? Start with something small. Go for a 5 minute walk during lunch. Sneak in little walks where you can. Maybe set up a space in your bedroom to do some pushups and air squats. No need to pull out all the stops to get started, do what you can and try to do a little bit more than you did the week prior. The same goes for food choices. Want to eat less or eat healthier? Start by eliminating some more calorically dense or unhealthy foods from your pantry. Have yourself wait a few minutes in between servings to see how hungry you still are after the first plate. Try to incorporate one healthy snack or meal per week or per day. Baby steps can take you miles as long as you're willing to keep moving forward.
If you need a place to start and you'd like a helping hand, start with one of our Free Monthly Fitness Challenges! I made sure they didn't require any commitment and anyone could do them. And keep checking back here for more blog posts, article shares, and tons of other health and lifestyle info and fun facts! Thanks for reading and be sure to sign up on the website so you don't miss out on anything!