What motivates you to become “more healthy”? Is it looking better in your favorite pair of jeans? Or being able to play a pick-up game of basketball? Or being better able to manage your depression? Or maybe it’s because you think it’s a commendable thing to aim for?
What does becoming “more healthy” feel like for you? Confidence? Freedom from self-bashing thoughts? A sense of accomplishment? More energy? More peace and joy?
What habits do you need to establish to experience these outcomes and feelings? Many of us can easily identify the “bad” habits that are holding us back from moving forward on our health continuum. However, sometimes we focus so much on breaking these bad habits that we forget we need good habits to replace them.
We call this principle the Put Off / Put On principle and it’s actually something that stems from scripture in the Bible.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. -Ephesians 4:22-24
We often fail to change because we try to change solely by breaking bad habits. This can lead to a pretty unhappy experience because our focus is constantly on the negative and what we can’t do (and what we’ll likely miss doing). However, change that lasts will not take place until we replace the bad habit with a good (healthy) habit.
Success in the health and fitness world becomes so much more attainable, rewarding, and quicker (!) when we identify what we can do, not just what we can’t do.
For example “I’m going to stop drinking Diet Coke”…this is a commendable desire. But what are the behavioral habits you’ll do to replace that one (two, three, ten) daily sodas? How about putting on these habits instead?
- I’ll track my water intake each day and aim for 1/2 my bodyweight in ounces or…
- I’ll make a big batch of infused water (lemon, cucumber, blueberries, mint. other goodies) or…
- I’ll start buying cans of La Croix instead of soda to get my carbonation fix
You get the picture: As commentary on the verse above indicates, “The process of change is not complete by simply telling God or others our regret or asking forgiveness. It is not enough for a habitual thief to tell God he is sorry every time he steals. For true change to take place, the thief must now become a habitual laborer and gift giver (Ephesians 4:25). It is not enough to Put Off the old man; you must also Put On the new man for true and lasting change to take place (Ephesians 4:24). ” – GatewayBibleCounseling.org
Here are some more examples where the Put Off / Put On principle can apply to your health journey:
I’ll stop avoiding regular exercise –> I’ll make an appointment with a trainer, or I’ll sign up for a class for social accountability.
I’ll stop mindlessly munching on snack foods –> I’ll ban unhealthy foods from my grocery cart and replace foods in my home that are not helping me reach my goals with foods that are: more fruit, veggies, lean proteins like fish, chicken, beef, venison, jerky and healthy fats like nuts, some chia or flax seeds, avocados, coconut oil, etc. I’ll eat a little more at meals so I’m not always hungry and looking for snacks.
I’ll stop relying on fast or convenience foods –> I’ll commit to just one outing per week instead of three and replace my fast food runs with leftovers, I’ll keep a cooler in the car, I’ll spend 15 minutes each night preparing my lunch for the next day.
I’ll stop drinking so much at night –> I’ll enjoy a smaller drink and then pour myself some sparkling water or, if I’m feeling really health frisky, drink tea or try some kombucha to relax.
I’ll stop being so stressed/anxious/worried –> I’ll turn my worry into worship by playing music at my desk, praying more actively, meditating on scripture or affirmations, and releasing my grasp on control.
I’ll stop sitting on the couch watching TV or scrolling Facebook mindlessly each night –> I’ll set an alarm to remind me to turn my phone off in the evenings, I’ll do pushups or squats during every commercial break, I’ll fold clothes and put them away or walk on the treadmill while watching my shows.
As you can see, success in health comes when we shift our focus off what we want to stop and on to what we want to begin.
What will you Put Off / Put On this week? Share with us here or on social media by hashtagging #valeotraining #putoffputon.