For many people the “Domino Effect” is very real and noticeable effect. I know if I have a bad day, I rush around – I may not shake that grumpiness for a while. Since I am in a “funk” – I don’t pay as much attention as i might, going through my morning routine. This could (and often does) lead to spilling my coffee, not paying attention and having to re-write an email several times, etc, etc, etc… Turning what started out as a simple “waking up late” – to a bad day, as I let each thing effect the following thing.
Running and working out, it’s not hard to see this in effect also. Starting with the bad — If you skip a planned workout on monday, then on Tuesday it may bother you, encouraging you to go work out. But if I miss Tuesday, then weds. becomes much harder to get off my butt and go. Thursday? probably not going to happen either. I have talked to other people with “plans” on getting in shape or starting a regular work out habit – and know that I am not the only one with this problem. The domino effect can work to our advantage as well. If you workout on that monday, then come Tuesday it might be harder (when you first workout, that second day HURTS!!!), but if you stick with it through the initial discomfort of the first week or so, you just may find that you miss it. If I run on saturday and sunday, I usually take monday off as a rest day. However, I still WANT to go running. Come Tuesday, I enjoy being out there, and Wednesday, that pavement beneath my shoes? WONDERFUL!!!!
This pattern is easy to follow in eating habits as well.. Eat fast food one night when it is quick and convenient to do so (you are tired.. don’t want to cook for the family..) And the next time you are tired, it becomes very easy to grab that happy meal and big mac. Spend a couple of days of cooking good healthy food however, and you might just find yourself looking forward to doing so again (especially as the pounds start to drop off!)
We can use the normal tendency of continuing a pattern, to create new patterns and habits. I know for me, my wife and I have been really trying to eat much better – and we are enjoying doing so. Eating an unhealthy meal actually makes us feel guilty now – as it stops a wonderful pattern we have started. When I do to-much, and can’t run because i have managed to hurt myself again – it bothers me to be stuck on the couch in the house, instead of outside in the 65 degree weather where all the other runners were on saturday.
That is how I am attempting to use this “inertia” of one thing encouraging the next similar thing – I am trying to use it to keep my self on a healthy trend, and when I notice I have fallen (mmmm. thin mints.), the next day I am making sure that I do not let a new trend start, but try to return to the healthier choices.