A cumulative effect: an outcome based on a history of actions. An outcome that may not become evident until many years later and may exceed our ability to recover.
We are all dealing with the cumulative effect humans have had on our environment: heat waves, droughts, fires, floods, and food shortages. The list seems to be endless.
Each of us is a small micro-environment. And we are also dealing with cumulative disasters such as preventable diseases, stress, insomnia, and the long-term effects of social media. This list is also endless.
Some of us have been lucky and are dealing with some very positive cumulative effects, while others are not so lucky. We all know our good and bad luck. But regardless of your luck in the past, our futures have yet to be written. Believing that we can all create a new path and a positive future is essential for a long, healthy, happy life.
Last week I wrote about how the book How Not To Get Fat affected me. This book goes against most modern diet science, summarizing the negative cumulative effect science has had on our long, healthy, happy lives. I have always believed in achieving a balanced diet as defined by modern science. My definition of that balance is now in question. I am actively moving to a 'no-white diet.' I am finding my energy is more consistent, and I feel better overall.
This week I talked about the cumulative effect of stress. Stress can be our friend, but it can kill us if not managed.
Are you aware that the cumulative negative effect of sunburn can last a lifetime? It can cause damage to our DNA, causing cancer.
I like the quote: "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear". Do things need to go so wrong and touch us personally before we seek that teacher to help us make a change? Sadly that is, more often than not, the reality.
But many teachers seem to advise what we have heard more times than we can count with our fingers and toes. Here are some examples:
The best ways to stay in shape like: Don't take the elevator, walk up the stairs or walk 30 minutes per day
To avoid injury: Take five to 10 minutes to warm up and cool down properly.
For healthy eating: Eat slowly, and change your diet!
To live longer: how about reducing stress in your life?
To avoid preventable diseases: read How Not To Get Fat.
So you see, there is no shortage of advice. We are all experts!
So what would it take to listen to all this chatter, to figure out what is good for you, and implement it? We all have different reasons for not listening (besides being never really taught to listen). Like: I am too busy, I don't have time, or I just can't focus. Another endless list!
So I would like to make a simple suggestion to get started. Be truly accountable to someone for your goals and progress. Pick one piece of advice mentioned above that you think would help you, and discuss it with someone. Someone that possibly has the same goals and the same need to change. Or maybe a friend that needs a similar confidant. Or find that teacher that talks your language.
But commit to the change. Commit to ensuring that regardless of where we are today, the cumulative effects of our actions today and in the future are part of your long, healthy, happy future.