Having a dog can reduce your risk of getting diabetes.
But having a cat doesn't reduce your risk at all.
This isn't about some weird pheromone that dogs produce that helps you regulate your blood sugar.
It's not about reducing stress or some secret chemical in dog slobber either.
This is all about how your environment impacts your behavior, and in turn, your health.
How Your Environment Impacts Your Behavior
Here's a question for you: who is more likely to lift weights - a guy with a home gym in his house, or somebody who has to take a subway across town to get to the gym?
This isn't a trick question so answer should be pretty obvious - the guy with the home gym.
Here's another one: who is more likely to eat more sweets - somebody who lives out on a farm 30 minutes from town or somebody who lives next to a pastry shop?
Again, the answer is obvious: the person living next to a pastry shop.
Why is this?
Well it's pretty simple - the easier it is to do something, the more likely a person is to do it!
When Willpower Fails we do what is Convenient
Willpower, like motivation, is a finite resource.
And humans, when left to their own devices, tend to take the path of least resistance.
After all why go out of your way to do something difficult when you can stay comfortable and do what is easy?
This isn't a knock on us as humans, either. This is an evolutionary trait.
Back when resources (such as food and water) were scarce early humans had to do what what they could just to survive.
This meant getting the most we could with the least amount of work.
This is why when tasked with the choice between a quick stop at the drive-thru versus grocery shopping and then spending an hour in the kitchen to prepare a meal, many people choose the drive-thru.
What All This Has To Do With Owning A Dog
Nearly everybody knows they should exercise more often.
But like the examples above, unless we have a serious amount of commitment, we tend only to exercise when it is convenient for us, or when we feel like it.
Think about it - if you woke up planning to go for a jog, and it was rainy out, or even just a bit cold out, are you getting up and forcing yourself out the door, or are you hitting snooze and saying, "I'll go when it's nicer out."
So why does a dog change any of this?
A dog needs to be walked!
If you have a dog that requires walking, then odds are you're putting your shoes on and going outside, even in the rain.
And when it's nice out, that walk around the block might extend to a stroll around the neighborhood if your furry companion is by your side.
The Dog Is Just A Metaphor
The point isn't that you need to get a dog, or move to a farm, or get a home gym.
The point is that how you set up your environment has a big impact on your behavior, which has a big impact on your health.
If your pantry is constantly stocked full of donuts and candy, and your fridge is full of soda and beers, you aren't even giving yourself a fighting chance to maintain a healthy diet.
I'm not saying you should never have any of these things - you still need to enjoy your life - but if you want to make a change you need to be very intentional about how you set up your environment.
Build An Environment That Helps You Succeed
One of the easiest ways to change your behavior is to change your environment.
Just like how the guy with the home gym is more likely to exercise, a person with only healthy foods in their kitchen is more likely to eat healthy.
Are you trying to cut back on carbs? Go to your kitchen and throw away all your carb-heavy foods like bread, pasta, and pizza.
Want to drink less soda? Stop buying them when you go to the grocery store.
I'm not saying that you can never have soda or eat carbs, but you should do your best to make it inconvenient for you to consume those things.
If you're out at a restaurant and feel like ordering a soda, go right ahead.
Just don't bring a 12-pack of them home with you.
A Program Makes It Easy
We designed the 14 Day Blood Sugar Challenge to help keep your accountable so you can reach your health goals in as little time as possible.
The program includes step-by-step instructions on what to do each day in order to see results in as little as 14 days.
This done-for-you program includes meal replacement shakes, supplements, recipes, ideas for exercise, cheat-sheets on what to eat and what to avoid, and so much more.
It's everything that you could need to get on track to better health and a better life.
Your environment plays a huge role in how you feel, what you think, and how you behave.
This can be an incredible tool or a serious handicap.
If you set your environment up in a way that supports your goals, you'll be far my likely to achieve them.
If, on the other hand, you fill your environment with distractions and negative stimuli, it will take a herculean effort to stay on track.
So be intentional about how you set up your life!
It can be an incredible asset or a devastating liability.