Ah, instant results - who doesn’t love them? If you’ve waited in line at the grocery store or watched more than 15 minutes of tv, you know how advertisers lure us in with the promise of instant or near instant results from using their products: Lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks! Save 15% when you switch! Look 10 years younger instantly! It’s appealing, to be sure, but it sets us up for disappointment when we are trying to build healthier habits.
The truth is, we need a longer runway when our goal is to create greater wellness in our lives. I love this metaphor: A full 747 can definitely take off, and does hundreds of times every single day. Yet it couldn’t take off if the runway were only 500 feet long. It wouldn’t be able to get the speed needed to lift off in such a short distance. But give it the full 8,000 feet, and we’re leaning our seats back and letting our tray tables down for snacks in just moments. If we judged the plane’s ability to fly given a short runway, it would be declared a failure. Yet how many times do we do this to ourselves, declare a failure when all we really needed was a little more time?
For example, let’s look at meditation. It is a wonderful practice and benefits our wellbeing in so many ways. In my years as a health and life coach, many people have told me that they want to meditate, but it’s just not for them. They tried it for two days and it just wasn’t working. That’s like a 50 ft. runway! It’s no surprise it was abandoned if that was the test period.
To create well-being in your life for the long haul, give yourself the gift of the whole 8,000 ft. runway. Whether it’s an exercise program, learning how to prepare more plant-based meals, meditation or any other healthy lifestyle habit, we simply need enough time. In coaching, I tell clients to commit to the new habit they want to try for a month before even beginning to assess its value. As humans, we need time to acclimate, to get comfortable with new ways of thinking and doing things. It’s always awkward at the beginning, but given a long enough runway, our new wellness habits will be up and away!