When you decide to improve your health, you’re actually embarking on a sometimes frustrating journey that can leave you feeling always like you’re not ever going to get to your destination.
That’s because taking action towards being a vibrantly healthy person is a little like walking towards the horizon; it doesn’t matter how far you travel, the landscape will change (you’ll look and feel better), but the horizon will forever be in the distance. When it comes to your well-being, there’s always more that can be done.
For example, imagine that you decide to transform yourself from couch potato to triathlon star. (As I write this I’m aware that most people reading this won’t fall into the ‘couch potato’ category, but bear with me.) At the beginning, your day starts with two strong coffees as you drag yourself out of bed. The fast food drive-thru supplies breakfast on your way to a stressful day at work. When you get home (having eaten nothing but snacks from the vending machine) you pour the first of several very large drinks in an attempt to wind down before a huge dinner. You fall into bed for a fitful sleep feeling bloated. Where you are seems a long way from that triathlon.
So you start your health plan with eating a real breakfast containing some animal protein (like eggs), and pick up a salad sandwich on your way to work to save you from being fed by the vending machines. You book time with a personal trainer to design the right fitness routine, keeping your triathlon goal in mind. You shop differently this week, filling your trolley with lots of fresh fruit, meats, and vegetables – and a recipe book, because you also know that you have no idea what to do with all this good stuff. The journey has begun.
Within a few weeks of managing your health differently, you know that triathlon goal is just a little closer; but now you notice something else that needs to be attention: The stress in your life is sapping your potential. A relaxation track is downloaded from the internet, and you manage to squeeze regular meditation into your schedule. Curiously, spending the time to do this has made you far more productive at work, so you get more done. Even better, you have more energy. The goal is closer, but still seems elusive.
But despite these improvements, you’re noticing more health improvements are needed, even after you’ve run the first triathlon. It can feel depressing, until you remind yourself that ideal health will always be a vision on the horizon that you can move towards.
To keep yourself motivated as you improve, remember to notice how much the landscape (how you look and feel) has changed as you moved towards it.