Some years ago, at a business seminar, the speaker asked for a married couple to come up on the stage. The husband was asked to hold his breath for as long as he could.
So the man held his breath and the leader timed how long he was able to hold it. From the strain on the man’s face, he was clearly struggling to hold it as long as he could. When he finally took a breath, the leader announced that he had held his breath for 35 seconds.
Then the leader asked him to hold it again. This time, however, his wife would announce every 5 seconds that passed. In addition, she (along with all of us in the audience) would encourage him to hold on as long as he could.
So, the man held his breath again, while his wife counted out “5, 10, 15, 20,.” We all became excited and shouted our encouragement. His wife continued to count “30, 35, 40, 45,.” Still the man held on. “50, 55, 60, 65, 70,.”
Finally, after 70 seconds, he took a breath. He had doubled his time!
So what was different the second time? Of course, it must have been very motivating to be encouraged by his wife and everyone in the audience.
But even more important was the fact that he had a measurable goal that he wanted to surpass.
This illustrates an important principle: “If you measure your behavior, you will improve your behavior.”
If you keep a record of your exercise, you will exercise more. If you keep a food journal, you will eat less.
I find that keeping a food journal is the single most important factor in keeping my weight where I want it to be.
So what behavior do you want to change? Do you want to lower your weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure? Do you want to increase your exercise?
Whatever it is; measure it, and it will improve!