Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The malleable nature of human beings

One of my favorite college classes ended with one final idea, discussion, and ultimately a warning: Human beings are incredibly malleable creatures. 

In other words, we can get used to anything. 

We can get used to working 6 days a week and go stir-crazy when we have time off. We can get used to not working and find it nearly impossible to go back to work.  We can get used to doing nothing but watching TV every night and get annoyed if we have to do something other than watch television.

We can get used to being inactive. We are creatures of habit, and the habits we make—good or bad—are incredibly difficult to change.

We can also get used to being active. We can get used to incorporating fitness into our daily routines no matter how much work and how many commitments we already have. It can be done.

When I think about the malleable nature of people, I have both hope and worry. I worry what routines we adapt to: routines that keep us from being active. But I also have hope because we can change and become the person we want to be.

It’s not easy. Many people who try a new fitness program, for example, may give up in a matter of days or weeks.  The reason people give up is because the changes they have made cause stress. The stress results from the discomfort we all experience when introducing change in our lives. 

This is a short post, but an important one. We have the power to create the routines and habits that will make us better people. We all want to improve, but the effort it takes to improve is often too difficult for many people. So I urge you that when you make a commitment to change your life, you reflect on the malleable nature of human beings. It will take more than a few weeks, but if you keep fighting the desire to go back to the lifestyle you once had, you will eventually create the lifestyle you have always wanted, and then all of sudden, fitness is easy.

You will get used to the daily fitness you have incorporated, and you will feel crazy when you don’t have it. And that is a wonderful thing.

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