Sometimes I hear the phrase “You can bring a horse to the water, but you can’t force a horse to drink.” I invariably reply “Yes, but you can give salt to the horse to make it thirsty.” Developing healthy appetites is something like that. Hunger is something natural, but appetite is learned. We all get hungry, but we get hungry for different things. We can either develop an appetite for junk food or we can develop an appetite for great nutrition. Appetites are actually habits. We can develop healthy or self-destructive habits, and it is the same way with appetites.
So how do we develop healthy appetites? We all know that it is important, but many of us seem to lack the ability to do so. We want our junk food and serial dramas. We can’t get off our Facebook. We need to respond instantly to an incessant stream of inane messages sent by people we might not even know in person. One way is to deliberately give ourselves small doses of what we know to be good, but for which we have no appetite. Gently dabbing mashed vegetables on a baby’s palate before weaning creates an appetite for vegetables as the baby grows. Taking small doses of exercise daily helps one acquire a taste for that invigorating feeling which comes with appropriate physical activity. Here are a few steps which might help you.
1. Schedule the activity.
You might as well forget it if you didn’t schedule it. Other things will invariably creep in and you will forget about it before you even start. Want to be healthier? Like to become more punctual? Well, schedule it in! Plan! Yes, that includes when you get on social media and when you get OFF social media!
2. Visualize achievement.
The power of visualization is well known. It produces a desire in us to accomplish what we have seen in our visions. Take a moment to see in your mind’s eye what going for that early morning run does for you. Feel the effects of endorphins rushing through your body and the exhilarating feeling of wellness and confidence. Listen to your friends and workplace colleagues complimenting you for your determination to become fitter. Do this before you actually start the activity.
3. Have an accountability partner.
When we tell someone about what we are going to do, it becomes an encouragement for us to actually do what we said we would do, because someone is there to cheer us on. It also becomes a disincentive for failing to do what we said we would. After all, if our friends cannot even trust us to do the little things we said we would, how could they trust us with the big things?
As we start a new week, start developing an appetite for one good thing today! What will yours be?