The Most Important Health Question You’ll Ever Ask
Too often people try to get healthy and then stop. Their great intentions to get in shape, eat better or develop a positive mindset are wonderful. But when it gets a little boring or inconvenient or there’s a slight obstacle to overcome, most people give up.
In fact, gyms across the country depend on this every year. Every January gym memberships go up as people set their New Year Resolution to get in shape. According to data published by Zen Planner, a provider of software solutions to gyms, on average gym memberships increase by 18% in January. But by February 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail and gym memberships drop in a predictable pattern. And it’s not just resolutions to workout that fail. It’s the same for all those folks who vow to eat healthy, lose weight or really to simply improve their life.
The reason why people fail at reaching their health goals—or really any goal in life—is because they approach it with the wrong mindset and they typically state their goals in ways that doom them to failure. If the goal is set very specifically, such as saying, “I’m going to work out at the gym five days a week” or “I’m going to lose 10 pounds,” you’re actually sabotaging your own chances of success.
The problem is that once that goal is achieved, such as losing the 10 pounds, most people don’t have anything else motivating them and they simply put the weight back on. Or when it becomes a little inconvenient, or a little difficult to reach the goal, like it always does, then people may take a day off, and a day off can turn into two days off and two days turn into a week, and then two months later they find themselves right back where they started. They feel guilty. They feel that they didn’t achieve what they wanted to and then heir self-critical, internal voice pops up and can heap on blame on top of self-doubt. People can experience guilt and shame and end up feeling worse about themselves.
The problem is that the way people approach setting and achieving their goals makes it harder than it has to be. Most people fail because they’re focusing on the wrong thing. They’re singularly intent on achieving a narrow goal instead of being singularly intent on creating a process that will allow them to achieve their goals whether it’s exercising, eating healthier, meditating or being diligent about taking their dietary supplements.
The most important process is the process of learning. If your goal is simply to learn how to be healthy, and to learn what works for you and your life, then you’re on the right path. With this mindset, if you workout at the gym for a while and find out that it’s not a great fit, you simply chalk it up to learning, and can decide it’s time to try something different. With this mindset you avoid being self-critical, which is a sure way to fail. And you can ask yourself the questions, “What can I do now? What else can I do instead of working out at the gym?”
With this approach you’re not locked into a fixed way of thinking that if you stop working out at the gym, then there’s something wrong with you and there’s nothing else to do. Or if you go off your healthy eating that you’re doomed. You instead simply commit yourself to the process of learning how to eat healthier. Not only does that take all the pressure off, but it can make achieving all your goals more fun too. And if you’re taking a regimen of dietary supplements and sometimes having a difficult time remembering to take them, ask yourself, “What can I do to make it easier to take my supplements?”
Developing the health mindset is about learning the right questions to ask. Our minds are asking questions questions all day. What’s for breakfast? Is the traffic light green? And thousands more. It’s how we navigate our lives. But most of the time people aren’t asking questions consciously.
The questions we ask are the crucially important. Tony Robbins, most famous personal development coach in the world, teaches that our minds will always search for answers to questions we ask. If you’re asking yourself, “Why can’t I ever stick with my diet? Why do I always stop exercising?” Your mind is going to tell you a whole host of reasons and most of them frankly are just made up. Because the reality is, you know that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to, and I know you can too.
So try this instead. Every morning when you wake up, ask yourself this simple question, “How can I move my health forward today?” And just don’t ask it, you have to answer it. Don’t get out of bed until you answer that question. The answer can be simple and straightforward such as, “I’m going to take all my dietary supplements,” or “I’m going to eat a salad today,” or “I’m going to go for a brisk walk during lunch,” or “What can I do for exercise instead of going into the gym?” But you have to answer the question. When you do, you’ll find it much easier to reach your goals, and whole heckuva lot more fun too.
Health, or any goal you want to achieve, is the result of the cumulative actions you take every day. So ask yourself this one single question every morning. I do and you’ll find that like me, getting healthy has never been easier.
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