Habits Help Autopilot Your Life

PiperThe purpose of Prescription for Life is not to give you a list of black-and-white do’s and don’ts. It is to inform you so that you can make your own decisions about the direction you are going to take. And remember, your direction determines your destination.

Healthy changes, both big and small, can develop into habits. Over 95 percent of what we do, we do out of habit. Every night when you go to bed, you get in on the same side. You don’t stop to think which side of the bed you sleep on or which side your spouse is going to end up on tonight. No, out of habit, you simply get into bed and go to sleep. Some habits are easy to change, but most are difficult.

Habits are important to develop properly because they are the foundation to consistent behavior. I am a pilot, and I have flown the narrow airway across Cuba at twenty-eight hundred feet. I have flown a smaller aircraft up the Alaskan highway at eight hundred feet. I have flown through gorgeous weather as well as through storms. At times, so many things that require your full concentration are happening that you need all the help you can get. Bad weather is one of the signals that tells me to throw on the autopilot switch. The autopilot is a big help. You simply set the course, and it aids in holding the line.

Habits become your lifestyle autopilot. Develop the right habits related to exercise, the foods you eat, and weight control, and then turn on your autopilot. What once was a challenging decision as to whether you are going to eat a certain food becomes no decision at all. There is no decision to be made about exercising, because you are going to exercise today. Once you stand on the scale and see that you are a pound over your goal weight, you don’t have to decide there will be no snacks today and that your meal portions are going to be smaller. At that point, your habits come into play and you will do ten things automatically because your mind goes on autopilot once you step off the scale. Your habits eventually become your lifestyle autopilot, and flying through the day becomes so much easier.

Use the ten-minute factor to help develop your habits. Develop habits that protect you before the event happens. Decide before you go into a restaurant that you are not going to eat the bread before the meal—such calories are completely superfluous. Eating x number of calories of bread before your entrée does not mean you are going to eat x number fewer calories of your main meal. Decide before you go into a restaurant that you are not going to pick up two or three mints from a tray when you exit. The next time you are already at your goal weight and allow yourself to eat a snack, use the ten-minute factor to eat fruit or nuts this time.

Sooner than you think, you will have formed habits that require no instant decision making. With developing your habits, you will build hope and optimism that you are going to be successful in developing your ideal lifestyle. You will begin seeing yourself younger today. Prescription for Life gives new light to a dark picture.





“Piper” photo courtesy of Dundee Photographics at www.freedigitalphotos.net