Generally I would consider my wife Gail, daughter Maya, and I a pretty active, healthy family. Recently though we unveiled a pattern we have been living a bit too much that needed to change.
Most weekdays I’d go pick up my Maya from the dayhome at the end of the afternoon. When we’d get home she’d ask for a snack and to watch Treehouse (kids channel for you non-parents). Pretty much automatically I’d turn on the TV. Our home is an open concept style between the living room, kitchen, and dining room so the TV in the living room could be watched and heard from everywhere else too.
It was convenient to turn on Treehouse while we would prepare dinner. Out of habit we’d often settle in and watch the news while eating at the coffee table. Sometimes this would then shift to whatever else was on next.
An automatic habit had developed.
Can you relate?
Unfortunately that mindless pattern can have consequences to your Thriving Health.
Too much TV (for kids or adults) can take away from potential active time. TV while eating can lead to overeating. TV while eating can draw out a meal much longer than it needs to be.
So we decided to remove the TV and make watching it INCONVENIENT! We still have the TV in the basement. In fact that TV is bigger and has a nicer home theatre sound system… but it’s in the basement. A conscious decision to go down there and watch now has to be made.
By making TV watching inconvenient we have noticed a number of very positive changes.
- It’s becoming more enjoyable to prepare dinner while talking to one another
- Gail and I are eating a bit less
- Maya is eating much better (and she was already eating pretty healthfully)
- Maya is not fussing over her dinner
- We are having quality family time at the dinner table talking and enjoying each other’s company
- We are finishing dinner quicker and consciously heading out for evening physical activity, play, and other much more positive things.
Our experience with the TV is one example of becoming aware of a pattern or habit then shifting an element to add inconvenience resulting in a healthy positive change in action.
I recently heard that the Boston Market restaurant chain the the USA had removed salt shakers from it’s tables. Salt was still available at the condiment stand but now it was less convenient. A conscious choice was required instead of habitually reaching across the table for it without even really knowing it.
Take the time to assess your habits and patterns and make one change this week to add inconvenience. Adding inconvenience to break old habits and patterns will have a positive impact on your Thriving Health.
“Life is meant to be embraced, enjoyed and fully lived, not merely endured!”
To your health,
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