In 2018, I shared the mason jar story with the attendees at OPTAVIA Convention. That story is now a core theme in the newly released Habits of Health Transformational System. The story has resonated for me, but I am blown away by how much it has resonated with our community.
Before we talk about how people are using mason jars on their journeys, let me revisit the story for anyone who might be new to the Habits of Health:
A teacher comes into a classroom and places a mason jar filled with rocks before the class and asks them if the jar is full. ‘Yes,’ they respond. ‘Not so,’ says the teacher, and he reaches for a pail of smaller pebbles. He pours them into the jar, shaking it until they fill the spaces between the rocks. He asks the class if the jar is full? ‘Yes,’ they say again. ‘Not yet, says the teacher, and he adds a scoop of sand to the jar. He tilts the jar until the sand has run all the way through the gaps. Once again he asks the class if the mason jar is full. The class inspects the jar. They conclude there is no more room for anything else.
Smiling the teacher grabs a pitcher of water and proceeds to fill the jar to the brim.
As he places the jar back on the desk, he explains how the jar is an analogy for our lives. The jar is your life. The rocks are the big things in your life: family, spouse, health, hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the things that give life meaning: friendships, work, hobbies. And the sand and water represent the small stuff that fills the rest of your time.
The point? If you fill your life with small stuff, how will you ever be able to find space for the big, important stuff?
I love this story for many reasons. Its principle lesson is the building block of the Habits of Health System. Life is a series of choices and some of them are more important than others. It’s the prioritization of those choices that creates the proper motivation that drives everything you can accomplish.
The Habit of Health system is like the mason jar, creating a microenvironment of health to protect you against your unhealthy surroundings.
The six MacroHabits of Health are the foundations of optimal health and wellbeing. These are the rocks that must be placed in the jar in order to create lifelong transformation and protect you from the modern world negative side effects. They are the foundation.
Next come the primary and secondary habits that are derived from the six MacroHabits. These primary and secondary habits are the pebbles that now surround, reinforce and actually arise from the foundational rocks.
These Habits of Health can be further broken down into the sand – the microHabits of Health. These are the thousands of small choices that are part of our daily life – the positive actions that are so small that we can always do them.
With a new Habits of Health lens, members of our community are making this story real in their lives. They are coming together with friends, coaches, and clients, and they are building their own mason jars. This exercise of physically placing rocks and pebbles and sand in a jar gives you a moment to reflect. What is in your jar today? If you had the power to empty your jar and refill it – and you do, with the Habits of the Health – what would that jar look like?
If you built your own mason jar, share your experience. I’d love to hear how it affected your thinking or what it made you realize about yourself and the choices you make. And, as always, I’d love to see pictures of your jar as well.