Life's journey is shaped by the choices we make
When we are born, the first action we take is to fill our lungs with air in order to make us breathe. We continue to take around 20,000 breaths a day, until it becomes the last action our bodies take as our bodies pass away and die.
Life often gets referred to as a journey. In order for us to survive the journey of life, many elements happen unconsciously, out of our control. We breathe to oxygenate the blood. Our hearts beat, pushing this blood around the body delivering vital nutrients to make our muscles work. Chemicals and hormones are created within various areas of our bodies in order to make thousands of other processes work optimally in order to survive. There are thousands of things that happen within us to help us survive and thrive.
This blog post isn’t about the automatic actions, or elements of life we have no choice over. It is about the conscious decisions we make daily in order to shape our lives and send us in various directions on our ‘life map’.
It has been documented that human adults can make up to 35,000 choices every single day. It is no surprising that over 7 ½ hours a week gets spent on making decisions.
Apparently at any given time 1/5 of the UK population are on a diet. But with the 200 decisions surrounding food we make every day, being on a diet can be hard work. To name a few, these choices can be what to eat, when to eat, where to eat, how much to eat, who to eat with, whether to have seconds, is dessert necessary/possible? Regardless of the number of people on a diet, the UK waistline is expanding by 1 inch every 10 years, and this is due to the choices we make, and the environment in which we find ourselves in.
For me as a health coach, diets aren’t about restricting what we eat. Instead, it is about educating people about what foods give them the optimal energy and nutrients to fuel their bodies allowing them to work to their optimal capability. This is different for everyone, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the best food to eat. That said, I guide my clients to make the best choices when it comes to their lifestyles in order to, plan, prepare and eat food which serves their bodies in the best way possible.
In the past 80 years in the UK, we have decreased the amount of sleep by 20%. This doesn’t sound like too much, but I have been stunned by the importance of sleep through the research I have done. Not only is it time for our bodies to perform an in-depth cleaning process, but it also helps us be more physically fit, enhances our immune system and contributes to bone and muscle growth. Within the mind sleep allows time for our thoughts to consolidate, in turn enhancing our memory and intelligence. It improves our concentration and creativity, as well as reducing stress and stabilising emotions.
We make choices surrounding when we go up to bed, what our bedtime routine looks like (we should all have a good bedtime routine, not just our children), and how we prioritise sleep in our lives. A good night’s sleep starts in the morning: the consistency of time we wake up, and the activities we choose to partake in during the day. Getting outdoors and moving our bodies both greatly contribute to a good night’s sleep. The choices we make surrounding the food we eat, the caffeine we consume, and the environment we sleep in (a cool, quiet, dark, decluttered and device-free bedroom is ideal) also add to getting a great night’s sleep. By choosing to prioritise your sleep is one of the biggest favours you can do to get your body to be the healthiest version of you possible.
Research suggests we are most like the 5 people we spend the majority of our time with. For the most of us, we get to choose who we spend our time with, and it is with this in mind, that it is vital to choose who we spend our time with wisely. We are creatures of community. Our cave men ancestors wouldn't have been able to survive had they lived isolated lives, and therefore it is in-built to our natures to 'fit in' with our immediate community. Nicolas Cristakis suggested that if someone in your immediate social circle is obese, you are 45% more likely to become obese. If we surround ourselves with people that smoke, you are more likely to take up the habit, and the same is true for people who excessively drink alcohol. The good news is, this doesn't just work for negative traits, but also positive ones. I am sure you can think of people that you love to spend time with, as they leave you feeling positive and uplifted after a conversation. These are the people you want to be prioritising your time with as opposed to the complainers, critics, and negative people the drag us down.
Being surrounded by positive people forces you to grow. For example, people who love to learn often choose to spend time with other like-minded people to have intelligent conversations and bounce ideas off each other. Sports people who are wanting to improve, train and play against people who are better than themselves in order to push their abilities and perform to a higher level. We don't always have a choice as to who our colleagues or other family members are, but make sure that for every negative person you spend time with, try to surround yourselves with people who have a positive impact on you as much as possible. When you can make a choice, make sure it is one that will impact yourself positively.
Our bodies have been designed to move- we have 206 bones and over 650 muscles, to facilitate movement. It is only with recent technological advances over the last century that has led us to live much more sedentary lives. We are in fact, the first generation to have to actively seek to fit enough movement in to our days to meet the recommended 150min/week of moderate intensity exercise (World Health Organisation). It wasn’t many years ago that people walked to work, and their manual jobs forced them to move lots daily. Today, people are either working from home, or drive to work, and find themselves sitting in front of a computer for the majority of the day, with minimal movement involved.
I try to move away from the term ‘exercise’ as this conjures up images of people having to put on special gear and get uncomfortable. Instead, I try to encourage my clients to focus on injecting more movement into their day. The good news is that we can choose to be more active. We can have walking meetings and we can invest in standing desks. Not only that, but we can also experiment and find enjoyable ways in which to move our bodies for recreation. Whether this be a lunchtime walk with a friend, a few squats and lunges whilst brushing our teeth, or getting involved in an on-line yoga, it really doesn’t matter, so long as the body is moving.
There are many choices we face every day, and it is through these choices we shape that journey of life. If this blog has made you consider the daily choices you make, and you would like to find out more about taking the next step in your journey to create the healthiest, happiest and most fulfilling life possible, I would love to have a chat. Click on this link to book a call and allow me to explain how with tried and tested strategies, the correct support, and accountability, I can help navigate you make the best choice surrounding your health and wellbeing.