Finding Your “Why”

Changing behaviors can no doubt be challenging. Many times when people decide to improve their health, lose weight, quit smoking, etc. they jump in without first trying to figure out the real, deeper reason for making the change. In order to stick with a plan to eat better and/or exercise more, or for improving any aspect of your life for the long-term, it is critical to think about – and write down – your own individual “why.”

On the surface you might say I want to lose weight “to feel better” or “fit into my jeans.” These are fine reasons and a good place to start, but probably won’t hold up when your motivation wanes and you are faced with true temptation. People very often want to lose weight for a wedding or reunion which is understandable, on those special days we want to look our best. The problem though is that once these special events are over and in the past, where do you go from there?

It can be more helpful for long-term success to create a concrete and specific Personal Wellness Vision Statement. When creating your statement you should be specific about what is important to you and what you want out of life. This is basically what you would see if you look into the future at your ideal future self. Think about the person you want to be, where you want to go, the things you want to do.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help guide you:
• What kind of person do I want to be?
• How do I want to see myself and how do I want others to see me?
• How do I want to spend my days?
• What do I want to do more often and/or better?
• What is something I miss doing from when I was thinner, healthier, and more active?
• When I envision myself in 10 years how is my health and ability to move and be active?

An example of a well thought out, specific Personal Wellness Vision Statement might be:
“I want to lose 20 pounds and reduce my cholesterol without having to go on medication. My Father had heart disease and diabetes and it was hard to watch him struggle with that. I want to spend time with my kids having fun and enjoying them. In 10 years I want to be someone who is healthy, at a comfortable weight, strong, active, disease-free, and not have to take multiple medications.”

Consider your wellness vision statement to help guide you in your weekly planning, daily choices and in those challenging moments. Write it down and keep it near by.  You might keep it in your wallet, posted on your fridge or near your computer at work – or in all of these places.

When temptation strikes, maybe in the form of eating out and either opting for a very rich, high-calorie menu option or a healthier one, go to that vision statement. Use it to remind yourself why every small choice in the right direction will help you become a healthier, more active, longer-living version of you.