Just as there are some universal barriers that stop many from reaching goals, there are also common traits for people that have been successful with long term change and healthy life management. Although it is recognized that everyone is an individual and what applies to some may not apply to all, universal keys to success are a GREAT guideline if you would like to be successful in any major endeavor. The only REAL way to make a lasting change in our lives is to create new, healthy behaviors that replace the unhealthy ones and are “in line” with our goal of great health, confidence, fulfillment, and overall well-being.
Step One: Have a significant reason!
To be successful in any significant transformation, you MUST have a significant reason. Most of us when we begin have a big reason but for many, the original motivation dies out and gives way to the stronger desire (or comfort zone) of doing things the same way as before and led to health problems, depression, pain, low self-esteem, and other issues.. So the key is to stay motivated through the tough times and to have a bigger picture reason as to why you are making the change. Sometimes the reason will change but it is so important to know why you are doing this. For example, a friend of mine has lost 150 pounds. Originally, the motivation for the weight loss was to feel better, be “less judged” by others and to attract a spouse. After the weight loss, my friend’s motivation or reason is to stay healthy for as long as possible, run faster in 10k races, and achieve more in a day. Whatever the reasons are, they must be your own and remain the primary focus as you travel through this very difficult endeavor, even as they change.
Helpful Exercise: In the space below, please list 5-6 SIGNIFICANT reasons for you seeking the change you desire. The importance of clearly communicating with handwritten answers cannot be overstated. Please clearly and carefully handwrite all of your answers to receive the most benefit for yourself.
- I am seeking weight loss to feel better. My knees, back, and hips hurt and weight loss will help to reduce my pain. I will also feel better by not having to “carry around” the extra 75 pounds that I currently do and will feel more comfortable in a chair, car, and airplane seat.
- I am seeking improved health because my children are still young and I want to be able to enjoy activities with them for many years to come. I currently have difficulty walking distances more than a few hundred feet, am a type 2 diabetic and have high cholesterol. I want to reverse all of these conditions and be able to participate with my children in activities we can enjoy as a family. I want to be able to do this in a healthy manner, not struggle, be bound to a wheelchair or “hold them back” because of choices I have made.
- I want to feel more confident in myself. Right now I feel as though I am being judged by everyone and I experience anxiety when I think about exercising in a gym. I know that it is important to exercise but have always felt shame when exercising around others. I am as smart and as good a person as anyone, I deserve to be healthy and confident too.
- I need to become stronger. I am over 45 and have read about the importance of strength training for women over 40. I do not know where to begin but know that I do not want to start at one of those extreme gyms. I want to be healthy and strong.
- I know that I am an emotional eater and eat to comfort myself. I want to live life in a healthier way and to stop feeling the shame I feel when I overeat. I want to manage all aspects of my life in a healthier way and be able to enjoy food with boundaries.
Now it is your turn:
What if six months from now, the reason you currently use as motivation is no longer the reason. What will you do?
I sincerely hope these exercises help you to focus on the reason you are seeking a change in your life. It will not be easy but once you learn that you do have the skills to overcome any obstacle, the confidence you have when obstacles arise will greatly increase. Please give yourself the best chance for success by committing to making yourself healthier over the next year. You will thank yourself. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!