For many men “heart” is a scary word. We have been conditioned to be in fear of high cholesterol and poor cardio vascular health. Do you think you will have a cardiovascular illness, do you say it is a fait accompli? Believe it or not, many of us do, and that is just wrong. Not only because it is not true for the overwhelming majority of men, but more importantly it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The mind is a fickle friend, and we have to commit to creating better health for our mind first, which in turn will assure our bodies stay healthy. This should be easy because it is our health and we would do whatever was best for our health, right?
In a recent article prominent cardiologist, Dr. Chauncey Crandall, MD, writes about a patient that had almost died from a severe heart attack of the type aptly named the “widow maker,” you can imagine why. Well, his patient survived and went on to cut down on smoking and cut his beer intake by half. Now, I do not know about you, but if I almost died of a heart attack, I would give up smoking for sure. And probably the beer too.
This is not to say this patient did not make satisfactory progress but think about it, what is it that makes changing these life threatening habits so difficult? And is my, or your, ice cream (or other) habit any different?
Way back when I quit smoking over 35 years ago, I recall never being able to imagine not smoking again. At least one or two cigarettes after I ate a good meal. There was no way at that time for me to imagine smoking would not be an important part of my life. But it isn’t. I have not even thought about it for 34 years. And to smoke, a cigarette after a meal at this stage in my life would be uncomfortable, unpleasant, and probably not even palatable.
Ok, so then is every habit the same? You mean the wine I think I must have could become irrelevant to my enjoyment of life? And the cinnamon rolls? And every other part of my lifestyle I hold so dearly? Yes, of course. There is an infinite number of ways to enjoy our lives and culinary boundaries. We are highly and incredibly adaptable creatures.
We must wrestle our mind to the ground and let it know who is really in control. The story our mind gives us that these things are irreplaceable, key components to our enjoyment of life – is simply not true.
There are proven ways to change habits but you probably already know how. Just think of a habit you have already changed in your life and then apply the hindsight to your current habit. Seeing past successes will prove to you that it can be done. And that is a major and critical first step. Then you just do it.