The more that I got used to drinking water, the better it tasted to to me – and now I almost always choose water over a sugary drink.

The more that I ate salads, the more it became my preferred lunchtime meal (and often my preferred dinner too), and now – despite living in Philadelphia – I really can’t handle eating a cheesesteak for lunch.

While I always played sports, for many years I rebelled against the notion of exercising on a regular basis to stay in shape, but now I feel much worse if I don’t don’t go to the gym on one of my regular exercise days.

Like many people, I used to get out of bed at the last possible moment, take a quick shower, rush through a less-than-adequate breakfast, and just make it on time to work. Now I build in some extra time in the morning to ease into the day by eating properly, doing a bit of pleasure reading, and even checking my bank balance online to make sure that I’m not overdrawn because of some automatic deduction that I forgot about. As a result, I start my day with more energy and a clearer mind.

Healthy habits don’t just happen. In many cases, they don’t seem like much fun when we start doing them, but at some point they become part of us. We reach a personal “tipping point” – that point when a process becomes so significant a part of us that it cannot be stopped.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his best-selling book “The Tipping Point,” described its effect in society – such as when a brand of shoe becomes the brand that everybody “must” have or when a previously undistinguished neighborhood becomes “the” place to live. In society, the tipping point resembles an epidemic. With individuals, the tipping point can result when healthy goal-oriented behavior becomes imbedded in one’s lifestyle to the extent that opposing negative behavior is no longer competitive.

When you commit to making a healthy change, don’t expect to automatically like the new behavior, and don’t expect to find it easy – at least at the beginning. But as millions of us have demonstrated, if you stick with it, you will find your personal tipping point – that point when you know that you will continue doing what it takes to maintain a high level of physical and mental fitness. And then it will be easy to continue doing so.

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D., is a positive health psychologist, coach, author, podcaster, educator, consultant, and speaker. He has been in practice for more than five decades, including 25 years as Director of Psychology at the world-famous Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University. As an innovative thought leader in the field, he has developed the concepts of THE MENTAL HEALTH GYM, GOAL-ACHIEVING PSYCHOTHERAPY (GAP), THE TYPE P PERSONALITY, and REJUVENAGING®.


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