Habits make you do the hard yards.Heart health will follow.
Are you working on your goals for the year?
Those new years resolutions? Can not even remember them? Habits will help you.
You know the story of how you eat an elephant? Bite for bite. Yes, it’s an old one, but there’s more to it I think. Eating the elephant is the goal but bite for bite is the habit. Heart health is the same.
Because I was born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) named Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) I was always aware of my heart and how my lifestyle could influence my heart. I have seen how good and bad habits can influence me.
The goal is easy to set, well anyone can do it(and should do it). Where does it go wrong for so many of us? It’s the daily thing, the grind, the small bites.
HABIT – The Oxford dictionary says “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up“
I don’t know about you but I want something good in my life that is “settled or a regular tendency” and hard to give up.
I like to dream about how I will ensure heart health for myself but the truth is that dreams will not improve my heart health, I have to DO SOMETHING!!!
That is where habits come in. Habits do not just fall out of the sky. Sometimes we think our bad habits just appeared one day but the truth is that we created them, willing or sometimes unwilling.
Be honest with yourself. The most important patient you have to treat is YOU! If you do not take care of yourself you will not be able to take care of anyone. Who depends on you? Spouse, children, parents, boss, cats, and dogs? But seriously people depend on you(Ok pets also).
You are one of, if not the most important doctor, in your life. Your doctor or adviser sees you, if you are lucky, a few times a year. The rest of the time you eat what you want, accept any thought into your head, neglect exercise, forget to take medication, cannot give a good account of your symptoms to your doctor. And then you expect your doctor or hospital to do a miracle to ensure your heart health?
Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide according to health24.
What can you do to improve your heart health?
Create good habits!
Risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, poor diet, high cholesterol, tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol use and obesity.
Adress the risk factors.
I used to take two teaspoons of sugar in my Rooibos tea and coffee. I went to one and a half and now I’m on one teaspoon(sachet). Now it’s a habit. One, not two. Two is too sweet for me, now that the habit is formed.
One teaspoon = 4grams of sugar. Four cups of coffee or tea per day(at least) x 365 days.
4×4= 16 x 365 days = 5,84 kilograms of sugar not taken in a year.
It means this year I will be consuming 5,84 kg (12,875 pounds) less sugar than last year.
It will not be that difficult, and it is a good habit!
What good habits can we develop?
Create and develop the right thoughts.
Take a walk or cycle every day.
Keep a food diary.
Sleep at least six hours.
Floss and brush teeth every day(Yes there could be a connection with heart disease).
Drink enough water.
Wake up early.
Stop the bad stuff.
Eat less sugar!
So to get those “old” new year’s resolutions back on track, form/create/develop or force a new habit.
A good habit!