Incremental change

July 2nd, 2019 | by Jake Cooke | Posted in Balance

I often think of life like a spinning top. We have thoughts, emotions, wants and needs all trying to pull us in different directions. Not to mention the demands of friends, family and work. To stay upright and spinning we need all of those forces to be balanced. If we lean too much in one direction it threatens our stability and, although we might manage to keep spinning, life becomes chaotic.

There are extremes for diet, exercise, social life, work, rest, sleep, hobbies and just about any other category you can think of. Each of us will have a slightly different tipping point. Perhaps you can tolerate a little less sleep than others. Or maybe you’re naturally a workhorse. However, we all have an equilibrium which needs to be respected. You can stretch that point for a while, but don’t tip it over the edge. 

Most of us work too much, play too little, make poor food choices and sacrifice our sleep. We’re stressed, anxious and lonely. We spend our spare time jealously watching what others are doing on social media and wanting meaningless objects that we think might help.

We spend huge amounts of time, energy and money on treatment for back pain, neck pain, headaches, help with anxiety, dizziness and any other number of unwanted feelings. We consult a chiropractor, physio, a host of doctors and continue to worry ourselves sick.

How did my ancestors live?

Often the answer is simple. You need a Life in Balance. You need incremental change.

We live at such odds with how we evolved that ‘everything with moderation’ is no longer acceptable because our idea of moderate is wrong. We think that only having bread for breakfast and lunch is moderate. Exercising 3 times per week is moderate. Working 10 hours is moderate. We need to be honest with ourselves. Look at yourself from the lens of ‘how did my ancestors live?’ and try to get as close to that as possible.

How do you use incremental change?

That’s not going to occur overnight, it’ll take time, planning and effort. We are creatures of habit. Mainly a collection of movements and thoughts that occur automatically. Our goal is incremental change. Focus on one area of your life that you can control and change it. Just a little. Each day, or week, continue to make small changes. For example, if you normally only sleep 6 hours, which we know will increase your back pain, your weight and stress, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier. It’s only 30 minutes, Netflix won’t go anywhere. A week later try going to bed 30 minutes earlier again. You’ve now jumped to 7 hours sleep and you’ll feel better, you’ll look better, you’ll perform better.

Equally, we don’t want to be excessively sleeping for 10 hours every night. The key is Balance.


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