I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, Steve, I don’t want to make a big deal about this, but it’s almost the end of April. Why are you wishing me a Happy New Year?”
It’s not a typo and it’s not a repeat of an earlier article. I’m doing this on purpose.
Wellness Is Multi-Faceted
I say it all the time, but as a wellness coach, I am concerned with all the areas of your life. My license says I’m a chiropractor, and that is true, but I learned early on in my practice that if I want to get the best results with my patients, it’s not enough to adjust your spine. Wellness is a jewel with many facets and all the parts of your life are intertwined to form a whole.
Last week we talked about how having a purpose for your life can be the difference between wellness and sickness. I asked the question, “Do you want to be well?” Then I followed up with this question, which might be more important: “Why do you want to be well?”
Once you have established that you want to walk in greater health, and you have identified a purpose for your life compelling enough to get you out of bed, there’s a critical next step that you must take to enjoy better health.
What Motivates You To Change?
I came across a video several months ago that has been very motivational for me. It’s a compilation of clips from various movies, but the audio track is clips from motivational speeches given by different people. They challenge me to be more than what I have been in the past.
One of the most powerful lines in this video is one I’m sure you’ve heard many times:
“If I always do what I have always done, I will always be what I have always been.”
Transformation starts with a choice to change.
To Be My Best Self, I Must Change
Change can be painful. It can be terrifying. It sometimes leads us into unknown territory. When we let go of our past, we let go go our right to maintain old excuses. There are reasons people avoid change.
But I can’t shake that one line. I want to be the best version of myself. How can I tell that I’m not already my best self? Look at the fruit:
- Do I have pain in my body?
- Is there stress in my relationships?
- What is the condition of my work?
- Do I treat people the way they deserve to be treated? The way Jesus would treat them?
- Are my finances where I want them?
- Do I have peace in my conscience?
- Am I impacting all the people I was created to impact?
These are all important questions, and at different times in our lives each one comes into focus. Pain brings them into focus. Pain is the flashing red light on the dashboard of your life that lets you know that one or more of your systems is malfunctioning. One of the biggest problems in our society is that we use drugs to mask pain, so we never recognize pain as a warning and deal with the underlying problems. It’s like putting black masking tape over the warning light. Eventually, the untreated problem in one area will shut down the whole system.
I Can’t Stay The Same
The way you have been doing things up to this moment is shaping your experience right now:
- Suffering financially? Chances are you have been making bad choices with money or relationships up to this point.
- Overweight? You have been misusing food (and probably not moving enough).
- Broken-hearted? Your “relationships” warning light is on.
The only way back to wellness in any of these areas is to change the behavior that got you there.
It’s easy to blame other people or circumstances for where you are today, but you will never get past where you are until you make the decision to change. If other people did you wrong, take responsibility for allowing yourself to be mistreated. It would be easy to blame the American food and pharmaceutical industries for your health problems, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but until you take responsibility for doing your own research and making appropriate changes, you will never get better.
Nobody in the world can take responsibility for your past but you. But that’s a good thing! Here’s why: if you are the only one responsible for your actions, then you are the only one who can determine your future. Nobody else can transform you into who you want to be…BUT…nobody in the universe can prevent you from making yourself into who you want to be.
The power over your destiny rests entirely in your hands and nobody can take it away from you.
So many people I talk to have a mental block that wants to line things up neatly. They want to change, but they want to wait until the start of the next morning, or the first day of a new week, or the first of the month. Millions of people make their grand start toward a new life on January 1.
That said, if nobody else in the universe can tell you how to change yourself, then nobody can tell you when to change, either. If you want to decide that today is New Year’s Day, then you have the freedom to do so. Your destiny is in your hands.
Decide now who you want to be, and then use the enthusiasm of that decision to propel you into action today. Don’t wait until next month or next year. Start now.
I also recommend that you don’t go cold-turkey on anything (unless you’re the type of person who does best that way):
Pick one day a week to change your diet
Have a salad for dinner or to skip breakfast. One of my friends did “Meatless Monday,” choosing salads and shakes for several months, until he was ready to transition to using meat as a condiment on his salads all the time.
Go for a walk after work once or twice a week
Marathon runners don’t start by running marathons. They start by walking intentionally and building up to running one mile. Then two. Then five. Give your body a chance to adjust.
Add one new movement to your day each week
Watch the Move Right Monday videos and add one to your morning (or evening) routine for a week or two. Once you are in the habit of setting aside time to move each day, add a second movement. Then the next.
The series of “7 Fundamental Movements” features a set of workout tools from my friends at StickMobility. So, in addition to making today “New Year’s Day,” why not make it “Christmas Day” too and invest in a set of StickMobility sticks for yourself? I don’t get anything for suggesting it, so you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t, but I know how they have helped my workouts.
Play the Long Game
You don’t start a new year planning to give up before the year is over. You move forward and face each new day as it comes.
Once you have identified your “why” for getting your wellness in order, it will keep you moving forward when you don’t want to. Breaking off a toxic relationship hurts, but it will end up making your life better. When you want to quit, think about what you would say to someone you love if you saw they were struggling with a hard choice. You would want them to fight through the pain and withdrawal and enjoy the peace on the other side.
If you decide to give up soft drinks in exchange for your health, be prepared that you will probably have a headache in two days that will make you want to go back to bed. That’s part of the detox process. Your body was addicted to the sugars and chemicals in the soft drinks and when you remove them, your body cries out with withdrawal symptoms similar to heroin. Don’t let it shake you. Press through and drink plenty of clean water. In a few days, you will be shocked at how much better you feel. Your joints and muscles will stop hurting and you will enjoy more energy and clarity of thought. But you have to commit to pressing through the pain. See the joy and health on the other side of the suffering.
Why wouldn’t you do that for yourself?
Aren’t you worth it?
Are You Worth Going Through Difficulty For?
I think you are. I believe in you.
Do you want to be well?
Why do you want to be well?
What are you willing to change to enjoy wellness?
Are joy, peace, longevity, self-control, health, and wellness in different parts of your life worth the sacrifices and pain of change?
These are important questions to ask, but they are the difference between wellness and suffering, life and death. I ask my patients these questions so I can help them get where they want to go. Ask yourself these questions honestly and make the changes that will get you where you want to go.
If you live in the Naples area and we haven’t met before, I would love to visit with you. Coming up in May, we’re having another Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner here at my office behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road. It’s usually the first Thursday night of each month and I have a guest speaker who takes on a deep dive of one specific health-related topic. My May topics (and speaker) are especially important for anyone who lives in Southwest Florida, but I won’t spoil it until next week. Bring a dish to share or $10 cash. We’ll have the RSVP link on my Facebook page soon.
In the meantime, if this article has been useful to you, please take a few seconds right now to share it on your favorite social media channel. You never know who is looking for exactly this information.
“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas