Change Your Life By Only Half-Trying

Today I had an appointment in a building with an incredibly slow elevator. The office I had to go to was on the 10th floor, so on my way back down, there was no way I was going to wait eight minutes for an elevator that was going to stop at every floor on its way down to mine. Reminding myself that gravity was on my side in this situation, I took the stairs.

It got me thinking about how frustrated the people who work in this building must get waiting for the elevator, day in and day out. But they could kill two birds with one stone by climbing the stairs: They'd get some exercise, and they'd avoid aggravation. (Sounds like a good deal to me!)

Then I thought to myself, "What if they worked on the 12th floor?" That's simple enough: They could climb up and walk down just half the way, and take the elevator for the other half. In time, they might build up to walking the entire way up and down. That would be an extra 5 to 10 minutes of working out, and 5 to 10 minutes fewer getting annoyed.

The idea of splitting things in half really started to interest me. I started to think, "What if we took on our challenges one half at a time?" Hey, tricks are not just for kids -- do whatever it takes:

  • You need to have that cookie, those French fries, or that cola drink? You feel like you just can't give them up and go cold turkey? How about eating or drinking only half of your sacred item then? In time, maybe you could halve your portion again.
  • Supposed to work out? Don't feel like it? Ready to just blow it off? What about agreeing with yourself to exercise for half the amount of time? Do 10 minutes of cardio instead of 20 -- it's better than nothing at all. Let's face it, the difficult part is getting to the gym. If you can use the "half" idea to get yourself there, chances are you'll do a lot of the workout.
  • Instead of parking near the front entrance to the mall, split the distance from the furthest parking spot to the mall entrance in half. Park at that halfway mark and walk the rest of the way.
  • Don't want to give up your sandwich bread? You got it -- eat half a sandwich, then fill up on soup or salad.
  • Slowly remove food items that aren't great for you. At the end of a grocery shopping trip, get rid of half of the junk food and drinks (pretty much everything except water) in your basket. Keep only the ones you can't live without and ditch the rest.
  • Going out to dinner? As soon as your meal arrives, ask for a to-go container and fill it with half the food from your plate. Then slowly enjoy the rest of your meal.
  • Pissed off? Try to see if you can gain perspective in half the time. Instead of indulging your emotions, see if you can quickly grasp a larger view of what's going on. Make a conscious effort.
  • Watching TV tonight? Pick your shows, then cut the number you'll watch in half. Don't just sit hour after hour in front of the tube. Cut in half the number of shows you normally watch to just your favorites.

I believe we can all make the process of being healthier and happier a little less daunting by just taking it one half at a time.

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