We’ve all heard the saying a million times “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
And we know with some degree of medical certainty that eating an apple every day does not, in fact, prevent illness.
But the saying is simply a metaphor, not to be taken too literally. The “apple” is a metaphor for any healthy habit that promotes better health or fitness. And “the doctor” is simply a metaphor for any condition that may negatively affect your health or fitness.
A more accurate way to phrase things would be to say that “the continuous practice of healthy habits reduces your risk of a whole host of ailments and illnesses.” But that isn’t very catchy.
99% of you reading this would agree with that statement. We all know that regular exercise helps to keep you fit. We all know that healthy eating habits keep your weight down. We all know that getting regular and adequate sleep can help keep you from getting sick.
So if we know this to be true, then why don’t we exercise regularly? Why don’t we eat better? Why don’t we go to bed earlier?
In other words…..if we know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then why won’t we eat the dang apple?!!!
It basically boils down to two things.
First, there is no immediate benefit to eating the apple. Second, there is no immediate consequence to not eating the apple.
Let’s look at this through the lens of an exercise program. Many of you have known for years (maybe decades) that you needed to start an exercise routine to improve your health. But you haven’t. Why not?
The main thing that allows us to procrastinate on a matter of such importance is the lack of any immediate reward or consequence for doing so.
If you truly thought that starting an exercise program tomorrow would give you the body of your dreams instantaneously you’d be running to the gym. But the logical side of your brain kinda knows that the process is probably one that is going to take weeks, months, or even years to achieve. It’s easy to blow it off.
On the other side of the coin, if I told you that not starting an exercise program tomorrow was going to cause you to become fatally ill – you’d start. But you kinda know that isn’t true either. In your mind, you have a little more time…so you take it.
The same thing happens with peoples finances. We know that if you want to be a millionaire you need to start putting some money away and paying off debt. But yet, most people don’t save. Why? The same reasons. If putting $100 in the bank tomorrow was going to make you instantaneously wealthy you’d make the deposit. Or if not putting $100 in the bank tomorrow was going to cause you to go broke you’d do it.
It all goes back to immediate reward and immediate consequence. That’s how a lot of us live.
But if you are going to become successful in the long term with your health and fitness you need to start thinking in terms of sustainable habits. Notice in the clichéd saying that it says “an apple a day” not “an apple.” So there is a time component attached to our healthy behaviors. We can’t expect rewards for doing things once, or for a week, or for a month, or even for a year.
Health and Fitness is built by consistency over the course of many years. Don’t fall for some short term fad diet and a bunch of over-priced supplements. Create healthy eating habits you can stick with day in and day out. Don’t fall for the “Lose 30 lbs in 30 days” nonsense. Create a training plan you can do 2-3 days per week for the rest of your life.
If you need help, shoot me an email and I’ll be glad to help you start putting together a long term sustainable plan.