Systems for Better Health

Life is complex. A system, applied to any aspect of life, helps to makes things less complex. A system, no matter how perfect, is only useful if implemented, which is the beauty of habits. Habits sound boring, but they are useful when implemented consistently. The trouble with consistency, is people with chronic illness have trouble with that expectation. Being aware of this combination of systems, habits, boredom and complex illness could change the way you make decisions, and potentially help you avoid making some decisions at all - let’s let a system do some of the work for us, and let’s have fun while the sun still shines. 

We hope to inspire you to avoid making some decisions over and over and over again, and to put other decisions off until tomorrow when ever possible. This is based on the idea that now may not be the best time (mentally or physically) to make a good decision.  People with chronic illness are not always going to have days that let them be consistent with habits (the big push from many habit books). They need a system that accommodates change and consistent ‘inconsistency’ in habits.

With a new way of looking at decision making, you can improve your quality of health, and make your day a little smoother by reducing the decisions you are making. So when someone says 'Is your goal to walk every day?', you may just say 'No, I have a long term active goal in mind that I’ll achieve while being flexible around my daily capacity’.  And you will know that right now you only walk once a week for about 10 minutes, but within a year, if you could walk three times a week for 30 minutes by building up your stamina slowly on your good days, then you will have achieved a great improvement. You will have done this by focusing on the days when you are feel well enough to walk. It’s all about a systems of decisions to help you focus on what to do when you feel ok, and when you don’t - no pressure from those who don’t understand what a bad day feels like.

This blog is hosted by Dr. Melinda Martin-Khan PhD, a health scientist interested in increasing your awareness of opportunities to reduce your risk of chronic illness, including dementia, by making small changes to your day. The kind of decisions you should not put off till tomorrow. You can find out more about her work at  and at The University of Queensland.

system |ˈsɪstəm |

NOUN a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method

ORIGIN early 17th century: from French système or late Latin systema, from Greek sustēma, from sun- ‘with’ + histanai ‘set up’.