Each summer, I help my husband Ian with ocean swim training for triathletes participating in the Malibu Triathlon. I know, having been one, that what occurs with most triathletes is a metaphor for what we all do in real life: since a triathlon consists of swim, bike and run, triathletes tend to train most in their 2 best sports, conveniently forgetting their least favorite one. They will undoubtedly get through their race just fine, but not nearly as well as if they had concentrated on their weakness.
In life, we can slide by ignoring a few bad habits if we have more good habits, but we miss out on a real opportunity to grow this way. I was a case in point, even as a non-triathlete: my exercise routine had always been consistent, but I struggled with keeping my diet healthy. I ate too much sugar and not enough whole foods. For a long time, I ignored the problem and simply kept on being very disciplined with my workouts, which kept my weight down and helped me avoid looking at my diet. One day, my doctor friend Roya warned me that, no matter how much I compensated with exercise, I could become diabetic if I continued to eat so much sugar. That scared me, and I began to work on adding more real food into my diet. It took a long time, but I am now so proud of myself for focusing on my weakness instead of continuing to fool myself into believing I was so healthy because I fit a workout in every morning.
Now that I no longer eat desserts or sweets, I am now healthier, I look better and I definitely feel better – not only because I no longer suffer the cravings or the energy swings that sugar begets, but because I am proud of myself for having tackled an issue I would have preferred to deny existed. I might have been able to get away with that bad habit for a while longer because the rest of my life is so healthy, but I prefer to run the race of life without that niggling feeling that I could improve myself if I just had the courage to face something uncomfortable.
Is there a bad habit in your life for which you are making excuses?