Making any big change to your lifestyle can be tough. This is true for anything from changing jobs to stopping smoking. If you don’t believe me, see how many people you know who have made a radical change (say losing weight or starting a new healthy habit) and have stuck with it. Few, are there? So what’s the problem? What makes these changes so difficult and why should Paleo eaters be interested in all this?
Well, the Paleo lifestyle is actually a great example to use. Virtually nobody will argue against the health advantages of a caveman style of eating. And yet so few people will take the plunge. What if we could make things a little easier and maybe understand a little better why it is so hard to make big changes in our lives in the first place?
At first, glance, refusing to do something that will benefit us, in the long run, seems crazy. “Hey, eating this burger and fries is putting my health in danger. I should eat better.” And yet we continue munching on that burger and slurping that soda.
Actually, there is quite a lot of scientific research that tells us why this happens, but to keep things simple, we all place a huge priority on immediate satisfaction over a potential long-term benefit. Understanding this is key to changing it. In fact, it makes things much easier because you know that you only need to deal with the here and now to make a huge difference.
As an example, think of our friend eating his burger and fries. His logic might run something like this.
1. This burger tastes good.
2. I shouldn’t eat it because it is bad for my health
3. I may as well eat it because it really makes no difference, it’s only one more burger.
4. And anyway, have to stop eating these forever. I’m bound to fall off the wagon at some point so why even try?
Now let’s look at things differently.
1. This burger tastes good.
2. Actually, a nice piece of beef and veggies would taste good too.
3. Why don’t I just make a good choice today and then deal with the next choice tomorrow?
If you make everything about now, about this decision, you will always win. Don’t think about the long term it doesn’t exist. It is just the result of many ‘today’s’ when it comes to following a Paleo lifestyle.
The second way to deal with change is to think about changing one thing at a time. Too many people try to alter everything at once. This never works. Make one change (for example, stop eating sugar) and make it a daily habit by dealing with the present. After a month (most science says it takes 20 days or so to ingrain a habit if done every day) it isn’t an effort to continue and then add in something else.
You can think of it like building a house. If you look at all the work necessary to build a house from the floor up, it is huge and can be disheartening. So don’t! Think about the first step and don’t worry about anything else at all when changing over to a Paleo lifestyle. When this is done, move on to step two.
This approach can work for anyone. You might think you don’t have the self-control or willpower to do stuff that you see other people doing such as changing over to a Paleo lifestyle. Actually, you do. We all have limited reserves of this desire and the important thing is how you use it. If you save it for the big, important decisions and deal with things one day at a time, you can really make a huge difference. People will turn to you as a role model and wonder just how you did it. and you can just tell them it was all done one step at a time.