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Most everything involves risk these days. Thankfully, we can pick and choose most of the ones we take. Some risks are blatant, others are a little more concealed, and all can pretty much be placed on a spectrum. I have become increasingly aware of something great today: although I’m more conservative than not, I rather like taking risks. People close to me might have figured this out long before I have. Replacing pastry flour with steel cut oats in baking? Low risk. High soluble fiber. Running nightly to the fountains of Grand Basin when you can’t sleep? Moderate risk. But the sound of water does the body good. Going for weeks without getting your heart rate up, bypassing your veggies, daily downing brews, burgers and ice cream? High risk. Although it does sound pretty darn enjoyable.
Okay…the last one I’ve never done for any extended amount of time, but the point I’m arriving at is this: inactivity, alcohol, and poor diet have recently been identified by the American Journal of Public Health as our top 3 risky health behaviors. You might be thinking “That’s obvious.” So why is it a real problem? “Risky” health behaviors have become so much of a norm that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince individuals of its life-threatening effects. Until time has done the talking.
Right now, I’m working with St. Louisans who are starting to see the effects of continued risky behaviors steamroll some of their youth, and they aren’t crazy about it. So they’ve enrolled in a research study to find out more about what’s happening. We help them get back on track and take lots of notes, which is fun. And they really start to turn around. Mentally, physically, emotionally, some major changes take place just by taking a risk to do something good, i.e. heart pumping exercise, eating well, and moderation.
So I’m learning from this group of people who are legitimately pursuing something hard: great things require much patience. And what we think is an outside job of effortful change is really an inside job of patient consistency. Sometimes time is the factor no one wants to face, but it will deliver something not just good, but excellent. Take a risk. Give change time, let it percolate. Anything less simply compromises quality. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.