Three Steps to Putting Your Health First
When setting out on a change of lifestyle people will often highlight different areas of their lives that they feel are holding them back. Time management, family commitments, work and career are all common answers.
Now while I would not pretend that lifestyle change is easy, those who are successful at achieving it share one common trait. They stopped asking for permission to be healthy.
What do I mean by asking for permission to be healthy?
We all live busy lives in very busy times. Family, work and friends all place certain expectations upon us to act a certain way, conform to certain routines and stepping outside the norm for some people can be a very stressful experience. This stress can be for a number of reasons such as fear of change, upsetting others around us, or concerns over feeling stupid for trying something new.
These feelings can lead us into a trap where we stay locked into our unhealthy and unfulfilling routine. We know we need to change but we don’t know how we can make it fit in to our lives. These areas of your life have the top priority and taking time for yourself feels selfish or wrong. In this situation we can allow others to influence our goals, how we spend our time, or how we view our roles in relationships.
We are taught when growing up that being selfish is a bad personality trait to have. I would ask you to rethink this concept and encourage you to embrace your own selfish streak for a while and see how quickly you can make positive change when you stop asking for permission and instead make your own health and fitness a priority. Here’s my three step guide to putting your health first.
Three Steps to Putting Your Health First
1. Making YOUR Goal Personal to YOU
The start of any weight loss, fitness or lifestyle journey begins with a goal and a destination to aim for. If you have no clear goal then any road could take you there. If you are not clear on where you are going then how will you know when you have arrive?
Setting yourself a goal should be a self-reflective process based on your ambitions, feelings and personal desire. Setting a goal of “losing weight and toning up” really does not attach you emotionally with the desire needed to make lasting change.
Often when selecting goals people will sight the doctors recommendations, a desire to look good for a partner or to trying to hit a recommended BMI or weight range. These goals all have their merits, however unless you feel passionate, motivated and driven by them, then they might as well be trying to win the 100m final at the next Olympics, unrealistic and pointless.
Goal setting is too often a rushed or overlooked process. To do this properly you need to reflect on why it means so much to you and why not achieving it would be an unacceptable outcome.
If you do not “own” your goals and allow it to be given to you, then you are not taking responsibility or control of the first step of your journey. You don’t need to love every single day of your journey as that would be unrealistic, however if the thought of giving up and going back to where you started is more appealing than pushing through to the end then the goal was never right for you in the first place.
2. Finding Time
Time is the biggest issue for 99% of all my clients in one form or another. People don’t have time for breakfast, they don’t have time to exercise, they don’t have time to sleep, they don’t have time to cook, they don’t have time to spend with the family, they don’t have time for lunch breaks, they don’t have time to go to the doctors, they don’t have time for holidays, and the list is literally endless.
The real truth of the matter is actually quite different. These people don’t have time for just one thing in their lives, themselves. Behind this ever growing list of things that people don’t have time for is always the same thing, that individual’s health, fitness and happiness.
Work will always be there and family will always love a support you. Everything else is just you asking for permission to put yourself first, and because you don’t want to be selfish nothing changes and your health, fitness and happiness all suffer as a result.
Taking care of your health will actually make you more alert, happier, more productive and more confident to manage the stresses of daily life. When you look and feel your best everything else is easier.
Some people might say that they don’t have time because of work or business commitments that must be fulfilled. To these people I would suggest that if you physically cannot find a way to adjust your commitments to accommodate your own health then it’s time to consider if your health is really worth the salary?
No health care policy cannot undo years of abuse on the body and you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to reflect on this. Your health is your responsibility and you have the permission to take control of it, nobody else.
3. Managing Relationships
It’s always advisable to have a strong support network at home if you are to be successful. Always recognize when a partner or family member is working hard to help you make change as this acknowledgment goes a long way. Remember that while they might support you, it’s fair to say they may not share your burning desire for change or why it’s so important to you. If you acknowledge their help this will allow them feel a part of the process and your journey.
Relationships can be a very difficult area for people to tackle when making deep rooted changes to their lives. It’s important to talk through why you are making the changes and why they are so important to you. You do not need to bare your sole unless you want to, however cutting out your loved ones leaves them feeling isolated and confused.
In some circumstances friendships and relationships may in fact be unhealthy and could be a leading part of why you are struggling to make the changes. I am not suggesting you blame your problems on your loved ones, but instead make sure you are discussing your journey and how you can incorporate the changes necessary into your lives.
This make take careful conversation and time to work out but you need to find a balance where you’re not left feeling like you need permission to eat a certain way, or be made to feel exercising is a selfish act. Most partners, friends and family are very supportive and this can be a great help to achieving your goals. It’s important to remember though that your goals are your own and your health is your own. You always need to find a balance, just take care not to allow others to steer your direction.
If you don’t put your health, fitness and happiness first then nobody else can. Being healthy is not a selfish act but it does require you taking control. When you say you don’t have time you are really saying you don’t have time for yourself. No matter the job, business, family or situation you have the permission to take control and put yourself first. Don’t wait until you are burnt out, unwell or seriously ill to reflect on your own health.
You will feel so much better when you make time for yourself and it will enrich you whole life. You will be more productive at work, your will have more quality time with you family and children and most importantly you will be happier and get so much more out of life.
By Andy Strong
Fundamentally FIT Ltd