Attempting to answer — with 6 insights — the mind-boggling mystery:
Why 9 out of 10 People Refuse To Change Their Lifestyle
Even In The Face Of Certain Death
Why is it that, when we know we need to change our health habits, (even facing life and death scenarios), do we rarely make a permanent change?
Think about that question and try to answer it best you can before you continue to read.
Go ahead, think about it.
Got a theory?
Yeah, me too.
In fact, I have 6 insights I’m hoping will be helpful to you.
But before I continue, imagine this …
There you are on the operating table, with an oxygen mask on, I.V.s in, and that lovely catheter inserted.
You’ve arrived at this moment not knowing what happened.
Suddenly you hear the anesthesiologist say, “Ok, [Insert your name here], starting from the number one-hundred, count backwards to the number one.”
One hundred, ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-s e v e n … n i n e t y – s i x … n i n e t y – – –
The next thing you know, you wake up groggy, in pain, and feeling like someone has just sawed your chest in half.
That’s because thirty minutes ago, the surgeon finished sewing up your sternum after performing an open heart, double bypass surgery — to save your life.
You’re not alone. You’ll be one of 395,000 other people to have that surgery done this year.
That doesn’t include the other 454,000 coronary artery stents inserted in the heart or the 1.0 million cardiac catheterizations, or the 2.4 million arteriography procedures done.
Considering that 4.2 million people are given a second chance at life every year, you’d think these individuals would be among the most dedicated and motivated people alive to change their health and fitness lifestyle.
But, according to Dr. Edward Miller, former CEO of Johns Hopkins University, if you look at these patients two years after their surgery, 90 percent of them have not changed their lifestyle.
These people looked death in the face, underwent a drastic procedure, (with the possibility of dying on the table), in hopes they’d wake up with a second chance in life.
And they got it.
But despite knowing they are battling the #1 killer — heart disease — despite knowing they should change their lifestyle, and despite knowing their family depends upon them to be strong and healthy for years to come … 9 out of 10 don’t.
Which begs the question: Why?
It’s a complicated question to be sure, with answers as varied as the individual who undergoes the procedure.
But I’m going to offer a few thoughts and opinions in an attempt to answer this perplexing and mysterious question.
My answers, will, of course, fall short of absolutes, won’t fully satisfy my own thinking, much less yours, and certainly not those of the medical fields.
But having lived on this earth these last 58 years — helping transform thousands of lives — I’ve formed a few opinions as to why people don’t take up a health and fitness lifestyle.
1) Confusing honest emotions with action:
If you’ve ever purchased a self-help book looking for an answer to a finance, exercise, or business problem — and it’s still sitting on your shelf unread — then you probably already know what it means to confuse the emotional satisfaction of having the answer in your hands, with taking action.
You know you need an exercise solution, so you buy the book, (or join a gym), and upon purchase, you initially feel different.
You actually feel better.
But a week later, it’s still sitting on the shelf.
A month passes, same thing.
Now it’s been a year, and you still haven’t read that dang book, but you are 10 pounds heavier.
You’ve tricked yourself into believing that because you feel different after purchase, you’re actually doing something different.
You’ve mistaken the purchase of a product for real change.
2) Confusing intellectual stimulation with action:
You read the book, it provides you intellectual, thoughtful stimulation and satisfies your need for knowledge.
The problem is, knowledge never changes you.
It takes action to do that.
Sure, you read the book and discovered how certain foods spike blood sugar, how elevated blood sugar leads to type 2 diabetes, and what to do to change it.
You learned that 80 percent of fat loss is determined by what you eat, and only 20 percent are affected by exercise and your genetics.
You’ve read the book, you have the knowledge, and it’s always at your fingertips to reference, just in case.
But nothing changes.
You’ve mistaken your intellectual stimulation and satisfaction for real change.
3) Confusing band-aid procedures for cures:
You bought the book, you joined a gym, you had the bypass surgery.
All those are simply varying degrees of different kinds of band-aid procedures people mistake for cures.
Because we don’t fully understand our own psychology at times, and because we don’t know why we do the things we do most of the time, we’ve trained ourselves to default to the least common denominator.
“I paid for the book, I joined the gym, I underwent the procedure, I think I’m good go.”
You’ve mistaken your band-aid procedure for real change.
4) Confusing the discomfort of exercise with an uncomfortable life:
Let’s face it, most people put off exercise not because it’s boring, but because it makes you sore.
We don’t want to be in pain, so we don’t take action.
Simple as that.
It’s like many other areas of our lives …
- We put off hard conversations because we don’t want awkward tension.
- We put off going to the doctor because we are afraid of the diagnosis.
- We put off asking for professional help because we don’t want to feel vulnerable.
- We put off asking for forgiveness because we don’t want to feel ashamed.
- And we know exercising is going to demand something valuable from us: effort.
So we put it off.
But that burn we feel in our muscles while exercising … that’s new blood flow flushing out toxins in your muscles.
The soreness we feel hours and days later … that’s breaking the rust off your stiff joints, and making you more mobile.
And the stiffness we fight with after a hard exercise session — that’s life returning to your body!
It all forces your body to become stronger and more vibrant for all the right reasons.
It restores your life.
Sure, it causes an hour of minimal pain — a few days a week — but it liberates your life 24/7.
Avoiding the lifestyle decision to eat clean and workout weekly means you’ve mistaken the discomfort of exercise with an uncomfortable life.
Those sore muscles won’t make your life miserable.
Just the opposite, in face.
It’ll make your whole life more enjoyable.
5) Confusing the lack of symptoms with having plenty of time:
The first symptom many of these heart surgery patients suffered was a heart attack.
Boom. One and done.
Many don’t survive the first hit, and for the lucky ones who do, they come out of surgery weak as a kitten.
You’re what, 4o, 50, 60-something?
It’s later than you think.
The average U.S. male lifespan is only 76.4 years, and 81.2 for females.
You 46? If you are a male, that leaves you 30 years on average. Female? 35 years.
You 56? Males have 20 years left, females 25.
You 66? Well, you can do the math.
That book sitting on your shelf?
Open it up, start reading.
That gym membership you are not using?
Get up. Go to the gym, walk through the doors.
That loved one you need to ask forgiveness from?
Man up. Take care of business for both of your sakes.
Whatever you do from here, please don’t confuse your lack of symptoms with having plenty of time.
It’s later than you think.
6) Confusing your age with defeatism:
Defeatism — it’s too late now.
I wonder how many of the open heart patients take on the belief of defeatism?
I wonder how many look at the mess they are in, and instead of taking action, believe it’s too late for them?
I’m too weak.
I’m too old.
I’m too far out of shape.
My joints hurt too much.
My back is too painful and weak.
My tendons are not strong enough.
My heart is too weak.
One thing is for sure, one day, it will be too late.
One day, the lights will go out for good.
But that’s not this day. Not by a long shot.
Over 30 studies prove that if you’ll take up a strength training program, you can increase your longevity up to 20 good and healthy years!
Just consider the incredible implications of that.
If every person in the U.S. started a workout program today, it means the average lifespan could jump from 76 years to 96 years for men … 101 for women.
Not when you consider there are over 50,000 Americans over the age of 100 living right now — and over 300,000 worldwide.
Listen, your body is designed to live to be 100 if you’ll keep it strong and functional.
And those years can be full of dignity and independence.
All it takes is to stop confusing the emotions with action.
If you doubt the truth and efficacy of this advice at your age, you are confusing your age with defeatism.
Your age is the least of it, trust me.
Whatever your age, whatever your condition, an exercise program and good nutrition lifestyle can do wonders — even miracles.
And that’s what I want for you.
I want to help you get past all the confusion and get you to take action.
Take action for yourself. And if not for yourself, take action for those who love you and depend upon you.
If I can help, simply let me know.