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The secret to success in health

Posted Nov 11 2013 12:00am
Ever wondered how some people seem to stay healthy almost effortlessly? You see them exercise regularly, eat well, and maintain a good balance between work and play. They’re clearly motivated, and don’t seem to be as vulnerable to the temptations to slack off that assail many of us. It’s admirable – so what’s their secret?

If you were able to sit down with each of these individuals and interview them in depth, you’d discern pretty quickly how they do it. It’s an attribute I’ve noticed in clinical consultations that will help determine whether my new client is likely to succeed in their treatment.  The secret, in a nutshell, is knowing the ‘why’ of the actions you take to get healthy. Let me explain.

Lots of people set goals for their health.  Aims like “I want to lose 5kg” or “get fit”, or “look younger”. These are all very worthy intentions; but, as you’ve probably noticed, not many people actually achieve their health goals. For instance, if you examine the health resolutions you made in the excitement of New Year, how many of them have you been able to tick off as ‘completed’? Perhaps some of them? (If so, well done.) Maybe none of them? (If that’s the case, perhaps you should keep reading.)

Here’s a theory for you to consider:  That the single most important reason some people succeed in achieving their health goals is that they know the ‘why’ behind those goals. ‘Why’ achieving this goal is important to them. That knowing ‘why’ drives them through the ‘how’ that can require them to change long held eating patterns, or motivate themselves to exercise even when they don’t feel like it. 

For example, let’s say that you’ve decided to ‘get healthier’. One of my first questions for you is “why do you want this?” If you respond “because I should”, we both know that really, that’s not going to be enough to sustain you beyond your first rush of enthusiasm, through the first three months when there will be struggles to push yourself through another exercise session despite the slow appearance of tangible results. To bypass the take-away drive-through and head home in order to prepare a healthy meal, even though you’re tired. But if you have strong enough reasons, and remind yourself of your personal ‘why’ for them, it’s going to be much easier to motivate yourself.

So here’s your three-step process for success in achieving your health goals: 
1. First, decide what you want to change. 
2. Second, spend a lot of time pondering why you want to change, and write the reasons up in bold, display them in a place where you’ll see them constantly, and 
3. only then decide what action you’re going to take to reach that goal. You’re more likely to succeed that way.

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