It has been a good amount of years since I heard that inspirational speech by Jim Rohn, however the impact of those words is still there. In that talk, he said, “We’ve all heard the expression, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Well, I’ve got a good question for you: What if it’s true? Wouldn’t that be easy to do—to eat an apple a day? Here’s the problem: It’s also easy not to do.”
Those words of Jim Rohn struck a chord with me because like other things that we know we should be doing for our well-being but still we don’t do them, eating an apple is an easy step that we all can take but still we don’t take it. In order to remind myself of this insight and in order to take a tiny step to ensure my good health (and test the adage for myself), I started eating one small apple every single day without fail.
Many of us are aware of this maxim and know on the surface that eating an apple every day has the potential to keep us healthy and disease-free, but very few of us have given this a shot and found the truth behind this adage for ourselves. Even if we decided to start to discipline, in practice, it is highly likely that most of us would forget to eat an apple every single day. And to cover it up, we’ll come up with excuses like “I would have eaten one, but I ran out of it.”, or “I would have eaten one, but I had a really busy day.”, or “I would have eaten one, but I’m traveling right now.” Or worse, “I would have eaten one, but I don’t like apples.”
Sure, life happens. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to throw away our discipline out of the window. The simple truth that we need to accept and practice is that if we want to design the kind of life that we really want to live, then we need to do certain things every single day without any excuses. But a majority of us don’t end up doing those things, out of laziness, forgetfulness, lack of motivation or out of sheer stupidity.
Some of those things are exercising, eating right and feeding our mind with positive information and inspiration. Now, taking a day off won’t hurt our body and our mind, but the problem begins when that one day turns into two, two into three, and soon the gap widens and the discipline is lost. This is why having a streak is so important. Our streak keeps us accountable. It reinforces the habit. Seth Godin once wrote in his blog:
“Streaks are their own reward.
Streaks create internal pressure that keeps streaks going.
Streaks require commitment at first, but then the commitment turns into a practice, and the practice into a habit.
Habits are much easier to maintain than commitments.”
The main issue why most of us find it difficult to let go of the poor habits that we do daily is because we don’t see any immediate consequences. If someone had a heart attack right after eating a cheeseburger and fries, he would never even dare to have that meal again. But this is not the way our body or in the overarching picture, life works. Outcomes build over time.
As Jim Rohn said, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure.”
PS: If you want more ideas and insights rooted in personal development, philosophy and timeless wisdom, in fact a calendar worth of them, I encourage you to get my new book The Daily Apple: 366 Meditations on Growth, Persistence, and the Art of Exceptional Living at your favorite bookstore. Like an apple a day that helps you become healthier and vital, each meditation has been designed to offer you positive information and inspiration to nudge you a little towards your better, wiser and more well-rounded self every single day.