Read my latest article on the OU.com website about Why It’s So Hard To Change, Even When You Really Want To.
Living a healthy life begins with forming healthy habits. Optimum health and weight loss are not simply about nutrition and exercise. I believe that failure to keep to a diet is not a lack of willpower or motivation. If you ignore the mind-body connection, you cannot achieve long-term success, even with the most advanced nutritional and fitness principles. It’s only a matter of time before you revert to your original habits—even with the best intentions and resolutions.
CREATURES OF HABIT
It so hard to change because we are creatures of habit. Try switching your seat at the dining room table and you almost feel lost. Try wearing your watch on the other hand or switching your pillows to the opposite side of the bed. If you ever visit a foreign country where they drive on the opposite side of the road, try driving on their side (not on a freeway, please).
Habits are essential. Notice children when they first learn to talk, read and walk. Can you imagine what would happen if you had to give the same attention to all your actions as you did when you first learned to do them? (To call it “chaos” would be an understatement!) So habits become automatic and a fixed part of your personality. You cannot simply change your behaviors or habits overnight. Research has shown that most people can only tolerate a small amount of routine disruption before experiencing discomfort. Self-control and willpower wane, and it’s not long before you’re back to where you started — your old comfortable habits.
In his philosophical work, Maimonides stresses the power of mind habits: Within human nature is a love and inclination toward one’s habits. A person loves his habitual opinions, and is protective of opinions with which he was raised. This often prevents him from recognizing the truth.
Let’s look at how habits play with your mind.