I am sat in the parking lot at Coles with my boyfriend. We just parked to do our weekly food shop. We are both watching a man with his son unload their trolley worth of goods into their car. They are done and proceed just to push the trolley into the next empty car space. The trolley bay is twenty metres away. It would take him perhaps ten steps there and ten steps back.
Everyone finds the inconvenience of moving a trolley ridiculously frustrating when you are trying to park and it’s in the way, yet this is a common occurrence. We are so wrapped up in our own world we don’t stop to think about any consequences anymore. Let me expand on why such a trivial habit is the tip of the iceberg to a growing number of people’s attitude to exercise and living healthily.
The reason I find this trolley situation ridiculous has several components. 1. You’re only thinking about yourself with no regard to anyone else. 2. Twenty metres of extra distance is too hard and definitely not worth your time.
This isn’t just about the fact that its super rude to leave your trolley to inconvenience someone else. It’s the fact that it’s also the way you think about your health. Your health decisions don’t just impact you. They impact anyone who is close to you, your work and every tax payer who forks out so we can have a half decent medical system. You’re too selfish to realise that now you have created extra work for one or more people. You’re too selfish to realise that those extra 20 steps then, could be indicative of you moving less and less every day until you realise you can’t move anymore.
Now come the excuses for why you left the trolley. “I didn’t have time to put it back, I was in a rush”, or, “I wasn’t leaving it in the way of anyone else”. You are making the same excuses for your lack of exercise or dedication to your health. “I don’t have time to exercise or cook for myself”. It would have taken that man a maximum one minute more to take those extra steps and put the trolley away. You’re telling me you were too busy for one minute?
The reason I am adopting such a hard line on this is because these small trivial things we do day by day are the real basis of your life-long, hard formed habits. What message are you sending to your children if putting the trolley away is an inconvenience? You’re attitude towards the small, daily things that you have absolute control over is where you have most power. It’s also where most people fail. Stop looking for the quick fix. Stop being selfish and living in your comfortable bubble.
I have two clients who I am currently working with who have the most amazing attitude towards their health and wellbeing. One broke her back (one of many extremely challenging things she has had to face in her life) and has gone through a pain-staking recovery. The other has a congenital heart defect and will be going in for open heart surgery shortly to rectify this. Their attitude is simple. Exercise, movement and your good health is a privilege. You should be grateful everyday that you are able to walk; that you have the ability to do as you please.
I have clients who use exercise and their health as a way of getting an advantage in their life circumstances. One client says to me, “without exercise I cannot stay mentally sharp and I can’t do the things I love.”
What holds most people back in their health and fitness goals is not their job, or lack of time, or injury or bad genetics, it’s their attitude. One of the most valuable things I ever learnt as a movement coach was that most people believe that exercise is a chore. I need to tie their emotion into it, find my clients why, their reason for wanting to exercise, and help them find something that they at least like to do in the gym. Then maybe I can help shift their attitude. I aim do that everyday for every client I see.
I now want to throw the challenge back to everyone. What if YOU shifted your mindset to one of gratitude and thanks? What if everyday you woke up and said, “F*ck, I have a pair of amazing legs that can move me around to wherever I want, what can I do with these today?” Instead of, “F*ck I’m so tired I have to go to the gym and I really don’t want to.” What if every time you had an opportunity for movement you took it instead of squandered it or turned your nose up at it.
Then those extra twenty metres to put a trolley away isn’t a chore, or a waste of time. It’s just something you simply do because you able and you want to. It’s something you do because you have the ability to walk and you can make someone’s life a little easier for them. It’s something you do to teach your kids that every step you take counts. Every action is you telling your brain and your body that this is the way you want to live. You CHOOSE to be active and healthy. You CHOOSE to add movement where you can and not take it for granted.
I want this for everyone because I guarantee you if you are faced with putting your trolley back every time you do your food shop, or spending your life with a broken back I am pretty sure I know which one you would choose.
Note about the title: I don’t actually believe being selfish will give you diabetes. It is to illustrate that your actions, your thoughts and your habits are powerful and have life-long consequences.