I remember the first time I saw this video and it really struck a chord. Ultimately life is a series of choices. We make those choices based on emotions, information, and goals. But those choices play a very large role in where we end up and in what condition. Stephen Covey urged readers of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" to admit to themselves the mantra: "I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday". Yes, things outside our circle of control happen to us. But with regards to that, he goes on to say something truly profound.
“In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose. Ultimately, this power to choose is what defines us as human beings. We may have limited choices but we can always choose. We can choose our thoughts, emotions, moods, our words, our actions; we can choose our values and live by principles. It is the choice of acting or being acted upon.” -Stephen R. Covey
I find that we Americans have habitually poor record keeping when it comes to taking care of ourselves. I can't tell you the number of times I've been talking to someone that is struggling with health problems and they say some variation of the same thing: "I eat pretty clean". THAT SIMPLY ISN'T TRUE. We are masters of convincing ourselves that what we want to believe is the actual truth. But our bodies are Exhibit A in the trial of life. When you get that blood panel done, or you are called upon to do a physical task that should be easy, but it isn't, you just can't hide from the truth of things.
I believe that one of the biggest pitfalls we face is our habit of comparing ourselves to the general population. There is a comfort in feeling that you're doing better than average. But here's the problem: average sucks pretty bad. The average American is very, very sick. Fitting into that crowd is not a very lofty goal. And let me assure you that your body doesn't care how healthy or sick the people around you are. It responds to how you feed it, exercise it, and rest it. In other words, the choices you make are what determine the state of your health.
Going back to the video, that kid had an uphill battle to fight. As a toddler, his mom fed him french fries. His family made poor food choices. And as he entered adulthood, he had some pretty deeply ingrained habits. That is the story of nearly everyone around you. And it might be your story as well. But as we enter adulthood and make our own choices, we live and die with the consequences of those choices.
I'd like to conclude with one last little point. Our choices change us. Not just physically, but psychologically. When you make the choice to binge eat, it becomes easier to do it again. And next time it becomes even easier to do it yet again.... and so on and so forth. That may seem depressing. But the other side of the coin is quite positive! When you make a choice to eat a balanced, healthy meal, it becomes easier to do it again. And next time it becomes even easier to do it yet again.... see where I'm going with this? Our minds have a tendency to follow the momentum of our actions. You are only one good choice away from getting back on track. C'est La Vie.
As you head into this Holiday season, just remember that you ALWAYS have a choice. Choose wisely, because you are not just choosing your actions, you are also choosing your consequences.