[November 24, 2019] Much has been said about adopting and the maintaining of good habits (see links here, here, and here) Humans, nonetheless, possess an inclination to shortcut or completely skip behaviors that are good for them. For example, my daily back exercises are something that I do only reluctantly because it takes time and it hurts. Any excuse is good to forego my morning back ritual.
Eating properly, exercise, fresh air, a good night’s sleep, and proper hygiene are daily activities that are good for our mind and body. Not only do we know this but reminders are found throughout our day as we go to work, watch television, or just walk around our neighborhood. Your mother is another source of first-rate advice you should not ignore.
A number of years ago while I was deployed to a combat zone, one thing we were told by soldiers of the unit we were replacing, were to keep up healthy daily habits. That meant to brush your teeth, put on dry socks, and a basic list of simple actions that should not be sacrificed to the daily grind of combat.
Yes, occasionally emergencies will arise. Major events will pop up out of nowhere to throw us off our routine. Those are short in time and should never give rise to giving up on what’s good for you. To illustrate this point, my first day in combat included an inspection of our physical fitness gear (the next day we were in formation running two miles; with rifle and ammo).
The 20 minutes that I devote each morning to do my back exercises could be used for something more productive. Or, so I tell myself. This is not true and I know it. Telling myself the truth about the need to keep up good habits, is part of the proper way to live. My exercises are a responsibility to my future self. If I want to be pain free 10 years from now, I will be rigid in following those good habits.
Leaders have the responsibility to teach, mentor, and coach those around us to not shortcut or skip what’s good for us. Otherwise, we will walk down a path that leads to an unfortunate end. Our job is to motivate through encouragement and support.