At any point in life you are in an upward or downward spiral. Either you’re getting healthier or unhealthier. Getting better or getting worse. There is no stasis.
What determines the direction is the practice, the consistency. If you decide to exercise 3 times a week, and you do that consistently, you are going upward.
If you choose to just fix one little thing today, and then another tomorrow, then another tomorrow, you are going upward.
The reason why it’s a spiral and not a ladder is the presence of loops in the process. Loops can be good or bad. It’s easier to exercise every day than once a week, because you’re in a positive loop, reinforcing itself, getting easier and easier, harder to break.
Negative loops are bad. You eat bad, feel bad, so you skip a workout because you don’t feel like it, the next day you feel bad about missing a workshop so you eat comfort food, which leads to skipping a workout, and so the cycle continues.
You’re behind at work, so you stress at night, look at your phone in bed, end up mindlessly surfing youtube garbage and getting to bed at midnight. Your alarm goes off at 5am to do a workout. You skip it because you think you need the rest. You start the day badly, you’ve had little sleep, missed a workout. Motivation is low and your body now wants to sugar to compensate for the lack of energy. You have a bad day at work because your energy and mood is bad. You get home, eat rubbish, flick through your phone, feel bad, set your alarm for 5am to get a workout in but end up staying up late because of stress and surfing junk. The spiral goes down another notch, the loop continues.
The #1 loop breaker is exercise. As soon as you do a workout where you break a sweat (as little as 10 minutes) you’ll feel endorphins. You feel good, you feel happier and healthier and now you give that muffin a skip. The loop is broken, now you are on a new loop, an upward spiral.
Build a positive practice and a positive loop.
From my own experience I’ve found you can move from lower rungs of the negative spiral to the start of the positive spiral, but you can’t skip rungs of the positive spiral. Eg. you can go from “withdrawn” to “master stress”. But you can’t go from “master stress” to “engage emotion”, you first have to “energise body”.
Wishing you all a resilient 2021.