The Vicious Cycle and How to Escape It

Are you stuck in the VICIOUS CYCLE?

You wake up feeling tired. You try to compensate with caffeine and sweets, but they just mask your exhaustion or make it worse. You know you should exercise at some point, but you just don’t seem to have the energy. After a long day of work you collapse on the couch and veg out. It’s fun, but you end up going to bed too late and the whole process repeats itself.

I’d love to say I can’t relate, but I can. Been there, done that. Most of us have. It’s the path of least resistance, and it leads to low energy, disease, depression, and weight gain. Not exactly the life we hoped for.

But there’s a better way.

If you want to be in good health, there are three things that are absolutely vital. Practicing them can help you escape the vicious cycle and start living a more fulfilling and productive life. Ready?

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1. Sleep well – When we get enough sleep, every part of our life benefits. When we don’t, every part suffers. Being sleep deprived is like being on crutches: we can get where we’re going, but it takes longer and is more painful. Plus, when we’re tired it’s a lot harder to find the motivation to eat well or exercise, which leads us to our next point…

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2. Eat well – We are what we eat, for better or worse. What we choose to consume has a direct effect on our emotions, our energy levels, even our IQ. Did you know that some doctors now refer to the stomach as the “second brain”, as it has a proven connection to our thinking? It’s true! We’ll never function at our best if we’re putting poor fuel in the tank.

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3. Move well  – When we’re sleeping and eating well, we have more energy to exercise. As with a lot of things, the more we do it, the more we want to do it. And although exercise uses energy, it ends up giving us far more in return – which helps us be happier and more successful in other areas of life.

Stop. I know what you’re thinking.

Yes, life is hard. Yes, there are obstacles, disruptions, and temptations everywhere. And sometimes, for a variety of reasons, we’re unable to get the sleep, nutrition, and exercise we need. I get that.

But just hit pause on all that for a minute and imagine how good it would feel to run on eight hours of sleep (or whatever amount you need). Imagine how awesome it would be to have sustained energy throughout the day because you’re making smart eating choices. Imagine a version of yourself that is fit, energetic, ready to face the day, and feeling great.

Perhaps you’re already there. If so, that’s awesome!

If not, here are some suggestions:

  • Think progress, not perfection. Move in the right direction while giving yourself grace for mistakes. If you’re facing a lot of setbacks, remember this quote: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt
  • Start small. Embrace baby steps. If you try to change too much, too soon, you’re likely fail and fall off the wagon. So try to make little changes in your daily routine and progressively build from there.
  • Get help. You don’t have to go it alone. Find a friend to keep you accountable. Join a gym. Read helpful books. Do what you need to do in order to feel encouraged and supported.
  • Remember your “why.” What’s your motivation for pursuing good health in the first place? Write it down and look at it daily so that you can stay focused and strong when challenges come.

Are you stuck in the vicious cycle? If so, what changes do you need to make to get out and get going?

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Author: Dave Mierau (Meer-oh)

Christ follower, family man, lifelong learner.

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