Every organization, workplace, community, school, church, family has its own distinct culture shaped by its values, priorities, members, and leaders. Even though we are just beginning to understand the power of environment and social influence on our lives, it is undeniable that our surroundings and the people we encounter influence our behaviors especially our lifestyle habits. If you are looking to make a positive change in your health, consider your environment and be willing to be the change. Be willing to be the one who influences and creates a healthy culture. Every day is a rich and precious gift from God, with new and abundant grace. You get to influence and decide what will be part of this day.
Look for creative ways to integrate healthy choices into your environment. Up-level the snack and meal options. Think of convenience food in new ways. What is more convenient than a banana, apple, or almonds? Make those readily available. Replace the bowl of chocolate candy on your desk, with a bowl of grapes. Create support and friendly competition for exercise and fitness. Studies show that social networking groups inspire healthy lifestyle behavior change. Adding a competitive component also increases engagement and fun. Everything from push-up challenges to lunch time walks and even sharing workouts on Fitbit or iWatch will have a positive effect. You can also look for opportunities to run or walk for charities. Join community teams. Take the stairs. Park further away. Install a standing desk. Read books on health and nutrition. Attend classes and seminars on nutrition and exercise. Try new recipes. Find creative ways to make your favorite comfort foods healthier. Put Pinterest to work for you by pinning recipes, workouts, inspirational stories, and motivating quotes.
We think of making healthier choices and even weight loss in individual terms. It’s true you must decide for yourself what optimum health means. It is individual responsibility to choose what goes into your body and how much or how little you move your body. However, the influence of others can make choices so much harder and even create barriers to good health. If you have made some successful choices and you see someone who is struggling, give them support. Be there to encourage them. Your support improves the likelihood that they will be able to successfully make that choice consistently. Use your influence to make it easier for them.
The benefit of fitness cannot be overemphasized. Research shows that people who exercise four times a week think more creatively than those with a more sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise enormously helps memory and thinking capacities. It eliminates depression and anxiety. Exercise decreases stress and make you feel happier. It also lowers healthcare costs. Cardiologists recommend taking a brisk walk for just 30 minutes each day.
If your social group, home, or workplace culture is not one that motivates you to make good choices, be the one to change it. Do not be shy about what you are doing or how you are doing it. Your example, consistency, and results will be powerful. Immerse yourself in a health-promoting culture and be that culture unapologetically. Do it for yourself. Do it for you friends, coworkers, family, and especially your children.
No matter what you are facing, you can be the change! Let’s start right now! Let us pray for you!