Often when people embark on a health transformation they have short-term goals driving them: to lose 20lbs by their sister’s wedding in 8 weeks, to run the marathon in 3 months, to be bikini ready by June.
I lived in this space for a long time. I was constantly signing up for new programs with big promises: the 6-week bootcamp, the 21-day challenge, the 7-day detox. I would work my ass off for a short period of time, only to discover that once the program ended, the race was run, or the summer came to a close, I started to slide down a slippery slope right back to where I started.
Short-term goals can be great stepping stones along the path to health, but short-term goals alone don’t give us the grit we need for long-term success.
Eventually, I got so frustrated with “my way” (which clearly wasn’t working), that I decided to stop and ask for directions from a health coach who showed me a better way.
The better way turned out to be slow and steady rather than fast and furious. It taught me to embrace a partnership with my body rather than to be a dictator of it. It helped me to understand how my physiology responds to the messages I send it.
By becoming a better steward of my health, I became better at managing almost every area of my life. My vision for what was possible for my life began to shift and I became acutely aware that my reasons for getting healthy in the past didn’t stand up to the magnitude of who I was or what I wanted to represent in the world.
I needed a bigger WHY, one that expanded far beyond being picture ready for upcoming events and well past other people’s opinions of me.
I spent quality time with my values and got crystal clear with what was MOST important to me in my life.
Being a healthy example to my young son was a much more motivating reason to “do the work” than my desire to look good in a swimsuit ever was. Feeling confident in beach attire just became a nice bi-product of doing what I need to do to be a healthy example to my son.
What are your reasons for being your best kept self right now? Will those reasons still be propelling your forward a year from now? 5 years from now?
You can expand your “why” by getting straight with what you want MOST in life, rather than focusing on what you want in the moment.
Name your top 3 values in life. Maybe it is family, career, or being of service?
Under each value you name, write down 3 ways in which getting healthier is going to enhance that value.
For example, taking responsibility for my health is going to help me be a better mom in the following ways:
1. It will give me the best chance of participating fully in my son’s life.
2. It will allow me to be an example of health to my son, so he too can learn to become his best kept self.
3. It will help me to respond to the difficult moments with my son with more mental clarity and effectiveness than if I was just to “react” out of hormonal imbalance and chaotic chemistry.
Every moment you find yourself wanting to negotiate the work you have set out to do to improve your health, say this phrase out loud:
I want _________________, MORE than I want ____________________.
I want to be a great example to my son MORE than I want to skip my workout session today.
It works for me, and maybe, just maybe it will work for you too!