We need to emphasize the role of repetition and simplicity and how it important both are when changing your habits and your health. You’ll find here and in my book that there is an enormous amount of repetition. It seems as though we’re saying the same things over and over again. We are. And for a good reason.
The science of habit change has proven that the more you understand a concept holistically, the more easily you can apply it to your life. The more it’s repeated, the more likely you’ll remember it, and the more you’ll imprint it into your consciousness in a way that becomes a habit for you.
If I want you to spend 5 minutes, starting tomorrow, using a form of mindfulness meditation to raise awareness and reduce stress, the most important thing for me to do is keep it as simple as possible, emphasize ease of use, and make sure you understand the value for you.
Your health goals can be reached by making sure they meet two criteria:
Keep your goal simple.
Repeat your actions.
A Common Conversation
I like to use the analogy of prescribing a medication, because I’m a physician and that’s what I was taught to do. Imagine you stepped into my office at my medical practice and said, “I’m uncomfortable because I’m stressed, I’m anxious, and it’s affecting my sleep and my focus, and I don’t like how I feel.”
I would tell you, “I have a prescription you can take that will immediately enhance your focus and reduce stress responses. If you take it consistently over time, you will eventually find yourself no longer anxious, and feeling more in control over your thoughts and emotions.”
You would probably say, “Hey, great! Are there any side effects?
I would respond: “No side effects, and believe it or not, because this medication is so good for you, the company that made it has made it free.”
Pretty much everyone would want it. You would say, “Hey, give me that medication.”
That’s true for everything, whether it’s for the benefits of exercise, nutrition, etc. Five minutes of mindfulness meditation can do that for you every day.
Now that’s a strong value proposition: meditation is free, and it’ll only take 5 minutes of your time.
If you practice it daily, you will begin to gain better control of your emotions and experience a reduction of unease, without having to take a prescription.
Who wouldn’t say yes to that? But here’s the thing…it’s the hardest step.
Knowledge Is Only Helpful Once Applied
My job is not to give you a 6-hour course on meditation and neuroscience, and all of the forms of meditation. That’s just going to make it hard for you to decide which is the best form of meditation for your unique needs. Then your brain’s going to want to do it all, because it’s going to want to get it quickly. Then you’ll end up doing none of it.
We know this, whether it’s overhauling your diet, or your exercise, or any other thing. You have to keep it simple, and you have to start. The #1 key is to start.
Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power.
Knowledge is useless if it’s never applied. It can’t help you. Only knowledge you can apply is useful.
Over and over again, you will see the crossover between our different content areas and how we keep pulling them all together. You’ll see us emphasizing the same points again and again. Why? Because they are foundational to your overall health, and we want you to be as healthy as you can be, to experience the feeling of your best health.
It Begins With Starting
In order to do that, we have to get you to start. Stay patient with it, and remind yourself every day by repeating to yourself the reasons why you’re doing something, such as 5-minute meditation, or cutting out that extra beer.
Simplicity and repetition are where habits come from. That’s how we change. That’s how we succeed on our quest for our best health.