There is an interesting phenomenon that math statisticians call “The High Probability of Low Probability Events” that we all experience in our lives. That title sounds a bit complicated so let me explain what it means.

There are things in our life that have a high probability and a low probability.

High probability events (events that have a good chance of happening)

  • I’ll wake up in the morning
  • I’ll shower
  • I’ll drink water
  • The sun will rise and set
  • I’ll drive someone somewhere today
  • I’ll eat food

Low probability events are things that aren’t likely to happen or happen very often.

  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Car breaks down
  • Flat tire
  • Graduation
  • Special work celebration
  • Grumpy kid
  • Poor nights sleep
  • Vacation

The idea behind is that there are so many low probability things that happen to us in life, there is a good chance that one of them is going to happen regularly! For example, the chance of going to work, leaving on time, and having some type of issue related to traffic, your own car, weather, or parking is pretty high. That’s why many people who like being on time plan on leaving to go to work a little early. They understand that although each of those events listed above aren’t likely to happen, the chance that one of them will happen is pretty high. So they plan in advance for it!

Now lets relate this to our health journey. There are low probability events that happen ALL THE TIME. As a Weight Watcher leader for 8 years, I’ve heard them all. BBQ’s, church parties, work parties, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, weekends (more of a high probability – they happen every week), husband wants to eat out, stress, feeling tired after work, sickness, grand kids, injury, neighbor gifts, vacations, weather… you name it, I’ve heard it.

Our brain takes each of these events and creates them into an excuse or reason to not stay on our health journey. It tells us that this particular event is rare, special, and a reason to cave “just this one time”. The problem is, if we listen to our brains and follow it’s theory, we will be caving all the time! There will always be a Sunday meal with family, a night out with your significant other, a birthday cake, a brownie at work, a long drive. The chance of one of these low probability things happening is pretty darn high!

When we develop the habit of listening to our brain and allowing for exceptions each time one of these events happen, we derail ourselves. We end up sabotaging our own best efforts. We want to stay healthy and on the road to optimum health! But our brain is a “party” and “fun” and “excitement” brain! It loves to celebrate! Seeking pleasure is one of it’s 3 main responsibilities. And it’s darn good at it!

So next time you’re at a low probability event and your brain starts to tell you a story, remind yourself that you can’t give in to these low probability events. At least not all of them. Pick one or two of them that you occasionally can plan in advance to indulge in.

Retraining your brain to realize that joy comes from other places than food is going to be a sure way to increase your happiness and joy in your life. You will find ways other than food to bring lasting and true joy.

It works! I pinky promise!

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