The graphic above shows what I like to call “The Circle of Having a Clean Health Journey”. There are 4 steps, however because it’s in a circle, it continues to go round and round. You can start this journey at any time, but remember that this is your new lifestyle; it’s not a quick fix. These are things that you will do every day to continue to make yourself healthy. But, if you fall off the journey, just remember you can always hop back on. That’s the nice thing about health journeys…they will always take you back!
So, let the journey begin!
Step #1: MIND
I have a theory about having a clean health journey, and although it does include nutrition and fitness, it also includes the mind. Actually, it’s all about the mind. As you probably know, the mind is a very powerful muscle. Muscles need proper nutrition and fitness to grow, and so does the mind. In fact, it’s tough to have proper nutrition and fitness without a healthy mind!
The first step in your clean health journey is to be in the right mindset. You need goals, aspiration, and discipline before you can proceed. This can also be called “The Why Step”. You may be thinking, why is that? Well, I’ll tell you why (pun intended).
Let’s back up a bit though. I’m sure you’re probably thinking you need to first think of how you’re going to get through your journey and that you need “willpower” to live a healthy lifestyle. But will willpower really help you say no to the fresh box of donuts a co-worker brought into work today or will it motivate you to cook a quick, healthy meal instead of ordering take-out because you just don’t feeling like making dinner tonight?
If you said yes, then you deserve a gold star! For the 99.9% of us who said no, “willpower” has never worked for us long term. We may be able to use willpower at first to help get up early in the morning to do 30 minutes of exercise, but eventually we give in and hit the snooze button instead because we have no reasoning or motivation to getting out of bed to exercise.
This is where the “Why” step comes in. A healthy lifestyle will only be meaningful when you are able to connect it to your desires and dreams. A powerful “Why” is what will help motivate you because it’s the internal motivation that will help you stick through the hard times.
For example, in the past when the Halloween candy would flow around my office, my old self would have looked at it, felt guilty for wanting it, tried having the willpower to say no, and then would indulge anyway, usually with 3 or 4 pieces or one of every kind. But I didn’t really have a “Why” to say no, other than that I knew it wasn’t good for me. I didn’t have my own, personal reason on why I shouldn’t eat it.
This year was different. When people started bringing in the candy, I looked at it and started thinking why. Why do I really want a piece? If I eat it, I know it will taste great for the few seconds it takes to eat the bite size piece and then what? If I only eat one, I know that it won’t satisfy any hunger that I have. If I eat a lot then I know that it will give me a brief sugar high and then I’ll crash and my stomach will be upset and bloated and I’ll just be miserable. Is that really worth it? I also starting thinking about why I’m living a healthy lifestyle, and asked myself if that piece (or pieces) of candy would really help me with my journey. Ultimately, I said no thank you and ate my frozen grapes instead, and felt much better when I was done.
So, what is my “Why”? I’m glad you asked. It’s actually changed. When I first started my health journey, my why was quite simple: I wanted to be able to fit in my current clothes size comfortably so I wouldn’t have to pay money for new clothes that were bigger. Well, that worked as motivation for losing those couple of inches and my jeans no longer gave me a muffin top. But I realized I needed something more significant if I want to remain at this size and be healthy too! Not just for now, but for years to come.
Now I have a new Why…I don’t want to be in my 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s on medication for things I know can just control on my own with clean eating and fitness. I don’t want to miss out on things in life because I can’t move to get there. I don’t want to be a statistic and wind up obese because I didn’t stop eating processed foods. I don’t ever want to use excuses on why I can’t stay healthy and fit!
Do you know what your why is? Take some time today or this week and really think about why you want to begin a new health journey. If you get stuck answer this question:
Are YOU ready to take care of YOU?
I don’t mean that no one else will ever take care of you or you shouldn’t seek guidance. But your body is a temple and if you’re ready to take care of your “temple”, then you will truly succeed in your health journey, because it’s YOUR own personal journey. So begin to think about why you are ready. Not why other people think you should start, but what makes you want it? What is motivating you through your new journey?
When you have the answer, write your “Why” down on paper and put it on your fridge, the bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, or any other place you look at on a daily basis so you are always reminded of your why.
And remember, when your WHY is big enough you will find your how!