The psychology of change
Before determining the in’s and outs of healthy nutrition one crucial area that must be talked about is the psychology of change. Understanding why we want to make change and forming relationships between the new habits and our current highest life values is an important step.
I have produced this article to look at the value of health and to try to put across why I believe that health truly is your greatest wealth.
Who is responsible for your health?
Many people come to me because they want to change the way they look, feel and think. They might be suffering with digestive issues, energy problems, skin and hair issues, hormonal fluctuations and so on. Unfortunately though from birth we have been conditioned to think that it is our doctor that is in charge of our health and too often we think that taking a drug or a supplement can solve all healthcare challenges. The creation of a ‘pill for an ill’ generation has seen us let go of our own control over our health.
There is only one person responsible for your health and that is YOU. Whilst I’m waking up in the morning I’m thinking about how I can make the world a healthier place, I don’t wake up in the morning thinking how I can make you a healthier person. Only you have the power to do this.
So here lies the question, what are YOU going to do about it?
Linking your highest values with health
Once we start to understand that we are in control of our health not your Doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, parents, siblings etc we start to approach healthcare in a different manor.
Many people can make changes, but basing change on will power alone will never work. We have to want to make change and we have to understand why we are making change if we want long-term health results. One of the most important ways to do this is to understand the value of the changes that you are making, the value of your nutrition, lifestyle and how that impacts your health and subsequently how that is going to impact your highest values in life.
What do I mean by highest values? Here is an exercise I got from one of my mentors Dave Hompes and initially came from Dr De Martini. Have a look at these questions and write down your top 3 answers for each question. Establish then what the most common answers are. This will give you an idea of your highest values.
- How do you fill your space? (what do you see around you, what do you fill your home with)
- How do you spend your time?
- How do you spend your energy?
- How do you spend your money?
- Where are you most organised?
- Where are you most reliable?
- What dominates your thoughts?
- What do you visualise most?
- What do you most often talk to yourself about?
- What do you most often talk to others about?
- What inspires you?
- What goals stand out in your life and have stood the test of time?
- What do you love to learn or read about most?
Now you have an idea of your highest values. If you continue on the path of health decline how might your health impact on these values?
Back in 2007 my health was really struggling, I would wake up with no energy, needing to sleep in the day, was getting short tempered, gaining body fat, losing muscle, sex drive was going down hill, digestion did not feel right and I just could not put my finger on it.
At the time I had been living in London with my now wife Fay for a couple of years. One of my highest values has always been my relationship with Fay and I could see how my erratic moods and behavior was putting strain on it. The more my health declined the less able I was to be the supportive partner that I wanted to be. My health was making not just me miserable but Fay as well. Also finding that I could not support the clients that I had been working with effectively. How could a sick Personal Trainer/Nutritionist teach his clients how to be healthy and grow his business?
The realisation for me that my health was having a negative impact on my relationship, work life and ability to study, which were all my highest values, was enough to put health as one of my highest values. Making me highly motivated to make change.
Placing health as an equally high value I set about getting the right support around me to help overcome the two digestive infections I had been suffering from. I spent money on lab tests that I previously would have thought too expensive (these discovered the root cause of all my symptoms), stopped drinking alcohol to help me recover, ate the right foods and paid for the supplements I needed. I managed to recover fully in 4 months.
Other Common Examples
You’re a mother of two and you pride yourself on being the best mother to your two children (Your highest value). Yet for one week per month you suffer from severe PMS and turn into a different person, screaming, shouting at your children, irritable and suffering from pains and headaches. You are basically not yourself.
Can you achieve your highest value if you cannot be yourself? Therefore getting healthy means being able to be the best mum possible.
This is just one example of many… Others include a businessman wanting to build a successful international business suffering with severe fatigue and foggy thinking.
A grandparent that wants to look after their grand children but they have chronic pain, fatigue and can barely walk up the stairs.
Hopefully now you can see the relationship between health, your highest values and how your health impacts on your highest values.
Spending your resources on what is important
Knowing what you now know can you see how prioritising your health and using resources available to you like time and money can help you invest in your health and improve the most important things in your life.
Change based solely on will power will never last. Habit forming change has to come from a deeper emotional level. It has to be something that we really want to do and know why we want to do it.
As a final exercise write down 25 reasons why making positive nutrition and lifestyle changes will impact on your life.
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