Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you started down a path to change some bad habit and truly taken the time to visualize what six months from now will look like? Will you look back and think, “Man, if only I’d stuck with it. Things would be very different right now.” Or will it look like, “Wow! Look at what I’ve accomplished in just six months!”
One is a great feeling while the other is the pain of regret. Which one will you choose?
Most good health habits take time for you to see a result, some longer than others. How much time will you give it before you give up and return to the old way of doing things? What will you use as your gauge that you’re actually improving?
What about changes to your diet?
On a day to day basis, it can be hard to figure out if what you’re doing is helping or not. Unless you did a bunch of blood work to find out how your blood is responding to what you eat, you’ll have to wait for results. Results are not just about weight loss, either (although that seems to be why most patients seem to change their diet).
I did blood work on the advice of Dr. Daniel Gonazalez, a functional medicine practitioner and chiropractor in Austin. After evaluating my blood, it was clear that I was insulin resistant and heading for diabetes if I didn’t make some changes. I dropped my sugar intake, changed my eating habits and saw a big difference in energy levels (and weight loss) within a few weeks. Notice I didn’t say a few hours. It took a couple of weeks and it made all the difference but even a few weeks can be fast to see results. Keep doing the right things and know that it will make a difference.
Some patients are “eating better” for one meal, not noticing a difference and returning to their old habits. I wish it was that easy, but years of eating one way take a little bit to undo. I recently had a patient that had so much inflammation going on in her muscles that I suggested she drop sugar from her diet.
In about a week, we went from “barely able to touch her back” to being able to deliver adjustments like I would for anyone else. Her sugar intake was leading to so much inflammation that she had to make a change. Once she made that change, she was able to see a big difference in how she felt.
Excited about the result, I told another patient having a similar issue. “Oh, I could never give up sugar.” I was very disappointed because I knew six months from now she would be feeling just as bad (if not worse) because she was unwilling to make a change.
What about changes to your physical activity?
Exercise. So many patients hate doing it. I get it, because I was just like them for years and years. I just wanted to mark things off my to do list and be done with it. Exercise just doesn’t work like that. I would start a new program and six months later… well, I had stopped doing the program long before that. No results, no changes.
I jumped on the bandwagon of a lot of new exercise programs, hoping for the result, but not putting in the time or consistency to see a change. Another six months wasted. My patients know how much my family and I have enjoyed attending Crossfit Central Houston, but it wasn’t a six month transformation (at least not for me).
I finally had to tell myself, “If I just keep showing up, I’ll see results.” I had never worked so hard in my life doing exercise, and I knew it had to pay off. I stopped worrying about results and just expected them. I found an activity that I enjoyed doing and stayed with it.
Maybe CrossFit isn’t your thing?
If it’s not, that’s okay. I think the “secret” to being consistent with exercise is just finding something (or somethings) that you enjoy doing. Almost as if it isn’t work! Play basketball, ride your bike, go rollerblading, walk the dog… just be consistent about it.
My key has been to just schedule it out. I put it on my calendar when I will be doing my workouts at the beginning of each month. Since I go so early in the morning, I’ve also found it’s important not to ask this question when I wake up, “Do I want to work out today?” Because the answer will always be a strong, “NO!” I just get up and go. Try that too.
Chiropractic works like that too.
Kids typically see results faster because they haven’t had the problems as long. Their muscles are healthier, more resilient, and they haven’t had the chance to stack up years of bad habits. However, the average age of a new patient is our office is around 40 years old. These patients have had a long time to have a problem develop and cause degenerative conditions.
“But I didn’t do anything!” Yes, you did. You did a lot of stuff. You’ve consistently been doing good things or bad things for yourself. You’ve consistently eaten well or eaten poorly. You’ve been stretching or not. You’ve been exercising or not. You’ve had proper chiropractic care or you just went in occasionally.
Like it or not, we are the culmination of all of our habits. Good and bad. If we want a different result, we have to remain consistent with good habits as long and as often as we can. Don’t give up after a day, a week, or even a month. Give it time and expect to see results!
What will six months from now look like? That is ultimately up to you. What do you want yourself to look like in six months? How would you like to feel? How do you want your relationships to be? What will you like to have learned?
“Six months from now” can be a great time or no different. It’s all up to you.