Path of Least Resistance

Without getting too philosophical, I do believe that humans are like streams. Our thoughts, our emotions, our actions . . . they all flow in the path of least resistance. When we choose to ruminate over some negative event, although it's uncomfortable, it is still easier than facing the part of ourself that is ready to move on. Or, if we have difficulty embracing our own success, we will find it easier to remain angry and disappointed . . . even if it's painful to hold onto those emotions . . . simply because to see ourselves as a bright light is even more painful. 

In fact, I would argue that every decision we make is based on our understanding of ease . . . and done in an attempt to minimize our pain while maximizing our reward.

But life isn't static. Situations, people, relationships, our minds, and our bodies change. And as they change, so does what we consider to be the path of least resistance.

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Here's a case in point . . . 

Despite being in the fitness profession, 

I don't naturally eat well.

I don't naturally exercise 6x/week.

And for whatever reason, I don't even naturally do what makes me feel best on a moment by moment basis.

Yet, then,

". . . why do I eat well more days than not?" and

". . . what motivates me to get moving?"

My answer: "I have engineered eating well and exercising to become my paths of least resistance."

I have lived through enough negative consequences to my past poor habits, to have trained my decision-making to consider how I'll feel in 30-minutes and tomorrow . . . not just right now. I guess you'd call it delayed gratification.

Oh believe me, if I could get away with eating sleeves or Oreos, and not exercising for weeks on end (not to mention spending my time watching old Masterpiece Theater mini-series), truth is I'd probably do it.

But I don't . . . because the cost is too heavy.

For me to eat poorly and not exercise is similar to inviting symptoms . . . one by one to my own body's party.

Sure, it always starts out fun . . .

  • the sense of freedom
  • independence
  • feeling in control

But that initial high doesn't last long.

Instead, the dark underbelly of my behavior is exposed . . .

  • moodiness
  • irritability
  • low self-esteem

And as if these side effects are not enough, my body punches me with . . . 

  • an unending achy-ness that runs through my joints and hurts as I walk
  • an energy gas tank that remains on empty
  • the discomfort of a stomach unfulfilled or overly full

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One of the magical, completely unique human qualities, is the ability to consider ourselves . . . our thoughts, who we are, and who we'd like to be.

Along with that ability, is the capacity for change.

When you notice a habit that you're not happy with,

or, you don't like what you see in the mirror,

you have the power to choose whether you stay the same or you change.

And odds are high, that with a deeply embedded trail for your habits to follow, you will continue to follow that path . . . unless you place a diversion to reroute the flow.

You can divert your stream's currents with a dam, or even something subtle like a rock.

In the case of our health, we can do things like:

  • don't bring tempting foods into the house
  • commit to not eating out
  • find yourself a walking buddy for your lunch break

. . . whatever it is . . . do something to make it easier to do the right thing.

And if you are really sick and tired of your old ways, hire a personal trainer or a nutrition coach who will hold you accountable so that it becomes more painful to not do what you said you'd do than it is to just do what you know will ultimately give you a happier life.

Find your dam . . . your rock . . . your diversion . . . 

and make your path of least resistance be the path to better health.

Happy diversions!

Coach Rebecca