I read an interesting article recently, and at first it made me a little mad.
But once I thought about it for a bit, there’s something going on here that we can really harness in our lives, for the better.
Get this: Did you know that when you approach a crosswalk at an intersection, and you push the button to prompt a “Walk” signal, most of the time, pushing the button does absolutely nothing?
That’s right. At many intersections, the buttons are disabled. They don’t control anything.
Every crosswalk in Dallas is disabled. Most of the buttons in Boston do nothing. And the list goes on and on.
So why even have the buttons at all? For two reasons.
The first is, it stops people from walking before the signal says it’s safe to do so.
But the second reason is more important. It gives people a feeling of control. Standing there waiting, knowing you can’t do anything about it is frustrating.
A loss of control leads to stress and anxiety.
But if you give someone a sense that they can “make something happen,” they are much more content to wait. Even if the waiting time is the same, either way.
The same is true with the “close doors” button on the elevator. Most of them don’t do anything. But it sure feels good to push them!
So, what does this have to do with your health? I’ll tell you.
When you start a healthy habit, when you make a conscious effort to “do something” good for yourself, that individual action, like one healthy snack, or one pill, in the grand scheme, it may not do much.
But it puts control in your hands.
And this builds you up. It builds confidence. It builds something you can repeat.
This repeatability, this feeling that “you’ve got this,” that actually does make you healthier. It reduces stress. It leads to more and more healthy actions.
And that’s when the real magic happens.
When you look out ahead at the new year coming, if you want change to happen, it’s ok to start small. One tiny action, each day.
Because it starts that cycle of control. It puts you on a path. And it will lead to greater and greater actions that make the real differences.
People talk about “placebos” in health all the time. It’s when you believe something will work, it actually does, regardless of whether it is made to do anything.
The power of your mind is incredible. And believing in yourself isn’t fooling yourself.
It’s giving you the control to make a change in your life.
This power is there if you want to grab it.
And by all means, keep pushing those buttons if you want, just wash your hands afterwards.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.