Everything is created twice. First mentally, then physically. If you've struggled reaching your goals in the past, it's important to make sure your head is in the right place. Today we'll cover 4 different steps to do that:
Find Your Deep/Internal Motivation
What drives you, inspires you or makes you tick? Who do you care most about and what type of person do you wish you could be for them? How would this ideal person live and what values would they live by? Take a moment and write them down. This is your deep, internal motivation and your road map. Now, honestly ask yourself: “Will being healthy help me become that person?”
Everyone has a reason to be healthy, what’s yours? Health is important to all of us but for different reasons. Whether you want to feel good about yourself, have more energy, feel and look better or want to set an example for your kids, we all have a different reason. But we are all in this journey of being healthy together. Find your health reason, share it and be inspired by others. What’s your reason to be healthy?
How You View Yourself Matters—Choose Your Identity
Each of us views and talks to ourselves a certain way; this is your personal identity. In the depths of your mind where no one else can hear you, what do you tell yourself? “I will never be beautiful.” “I just don’t have the willpower like other people do.” “I will always be fat.” “I’m not good at setting and accomplishing health goals.” Often times these thoughts come from others, outside influences. But we then allow ourselves to believe them, and begin repeating them to ourselves over and over. Like a script for our life, these destructive thoughts eventually become our reality. This is our personal identity—the person we see ourselves as.
Whatever your thoughts, they will ultimately determine who you are and who you become. If you think your thoughts don’t matter or that people won’t eventually discover what you’ve been thinking, think again. It’s simply impossible to hide your thoughts, for they are your life script. Thoughts turn into actions, which turn into habits, which determine your life.
If you have always viewed yourself as lazy, ugly, fat or unmotivated, choose today to be someone different. Choose today to be proactive, beautiful, healthy and motivated. You and only you hold the power to become whoever you want to be. And it starts with your thoughts and the way you view yourself, your identity. If you don’t mentally believe first, you will never physically become. Choose to write a new script, choose a new identity and read it to yourself daily, in your mind and out loud. Believe first, then act!
Focus On Things You Can Change & Forget The Rest
Some things in life are out of our control: the weather, our genetics, the way people treat us. But it does us no good to focus on these things we have no control over. All it does is waste our time and energy. Instead focus on things you do have control over and simply forget the rest. You’ll find that achieving your health goals, and life in general will get better. Maya Angelou summoned it up nicely, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
Find Joy In The Simple Things—Show Gratitude
Life can get overwhelming fast when you’re focused on the problems around you. In fact research shows that people who choose to find joy in the simple things in life and show gratitude are less likely to experience stress and depression. It seems so obvious, and yet at times can be so hard to actually do. No matter your current circumstances, each day actively search for things to show gratitude for and either write them down or express them to someone else.
After surviving a Nazi concentration camp Viktor Frankl later wrote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Vivian Greene wisely stated, “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.” Find the joy in your life and show gratitude for it. Doing so will help you get your head in the right place and help you accomplish your goals.
Humans Are Amazing
Have you ever marveled at what humans have been able to accomplish? It is truly amazing! We are unlike any species and have seemingly unlimited potential. Think of the “greats,” the people you admire most who are living or have lived. Now stop for a minute, and realize that YOU are also amazing. You have unlimited potential and you can do and create amazing things and become whoever you want to be! You can accomplish and do things as great or greater than the people who came before you. No matter the circumstances or life you were born into, you have the power to change and become anything your heart desires. In the words of George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” But it all starts with accepting responsibility.
The Deck Is Stacked Against Us
It’s no secret that the deck is stacked against us when it comes to trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Our society is overrun with unhealthy, processed, cheap food. Modern technology allows us to sit and be inactive as much as we want. And to top it all off we are working longer hours, experiencing more stress and less restful sleep. In short, unhealthy is the new normal. And in order to be healthy we have to fight against that norm, making it harder and harder to reach the health goals we want. So where does this leave us? Despite this, the choice is still ours…
It’s Our Life & Health—Own It
Can we be honest with each other? Let’s get real and let’s do it fast because we are running out of time and the odds aren’t in our favor. Here it is. There are always two ways of looking at every situation. You can either blame others and forever be a victim…or you can accept responsibility and use whatever power you have to change the situation. The first sucks all power from you. The second empowers you. The same is true with our health and current health problems.
While our genetics and environment influence us, they don’t have to define us or our future unless we let them. The truth is, life isn’t fair and it never will be. Some have been dealt a harder hand than others. But no matter our current circumstances we are still left with two choices. We can continue to live the way we are and point our fingers at the food companies and others and blame them for our current problems. But we all know what that gets us. Nothing. Or we can rise up, accept things the way they are, accept fault for things we have control over and make any changes within our power to make the situation better. It is our life and health—own it.
The Power Is In Our Hands
So just how much CAN we control? Let this inspire you…recent research has proven that we can eliminate at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, more than 40% of all cancer cases and almost all cases of obesity by simply changing our lifestyle! So what does this mean? It means even though the deck is stacked against us, WE still hold the power and keys to fix this problem if we want to by simply changing the way we live. How awesome is that?! But we must take ownership for our own health. Blaming or demonizing others, including the fast and junk food industry, will never get us healthy or fix the problem.
So what can we do? We need to lead by example, be the change we want to see. If we want food companies to make healthier foods, we have to stop buying so much unhealthy food. After all, food companies will only continue to make products we purchase. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pressure food companies to stop advertising unhealthy foods to kids. We should and will continue to push for such changes. Kids cannot be expected to make healthy life choices completely on their own. They need less advertising directed at them. But more than that, they need healthier role models, starting with their parents. In fact, the best thing we can do for our kids is to model healthy behaviors including proper sleep, exercise and nutrition. Kids are more likely to follow their parent’s example making it the greatest influence for better or worse on their health. If you are a parent or role model to kids, commit to helping them be healthy by leading with your example.
Ultimately, change lies within our control. Remember, our genetics and environment do influence us but don’t define us, or our future. The late Stephen R. Covey wisely said “until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’” No excuses. As an adult with personal control, no one is forcing you to do anything. Don’t get stuck being a victim your whole life. The past is behind you. Take control of your future and be empowered.
I can’t promise it will be easy. In fact, to start out with it’s probably going to be really hard. But all things worth having don’t come without some serious effort, and that also goes for good health. It’s time we stopped waiting for a quick-fix that will NEVER come, and instead start to focus on healthy lifestyle practices that will truly bring long-term change. Remember, you are a human and can do amazing things! So let’s get started. Assuming responsibility for your own actions and current health status is the first step. The power is in our hands...let's start a Health Movement!
No judging: we’re all on the same journey, just at different stages so let’s not tear each other down.