Keep those wagons rollin with an honest self appraisal
Nearly 3 months into the New Year and hopefully those January intentions to be healthier are still in action. If the veg section of the supermarket and the gym are starting to lose their appeal and you’re slowly being seduced by the old self sabotaging narrative, it’s maybe time for an honest self appraisal to help you stay on the wagon!
A fundamentally important characteristic of adopting and maintaining healthy habits is the ability to be completely honest with ourselves. This allows us to emerge from behind self-constructed limiting excuses that hold us back and sabotage our efforts to sustain healthy behaviour. For many it’s much easier to blame life’s circumstances for getting in the way of better health, than admit to a lack of resolve, will power or self-discipline.
As a healthcare practitioner, I regularly encounter the self-limiting and convincing narrative people tell themselves, and others, about why they don’t invest time in healthy practices such as regular exercise and food preparation. When we outsource blame to circumstances that we actually have full control over, we create a justification for remaining unhealthy and unhappy. An honest self appraisal will shine a light on self-imposed barriers, and also help us acknowledge our true state of readiness for change.
Clearing the way for lasting change
Exposing the root causes of health limiting habits gives us a genuine start point for change. It’s absolutely fine to feel unmotivated or ambivalent because they are normal characteristics of being human. The beauty of both ambivalence and lack of motivation is that they can change from moment to moment and be overcome once accepted. However, when we put smoke screens in the way of our real limiting factors, positive change can become unnecessarily complicated. As a primary healthcare practitioner, the use of empathy is hugely important when empowering patients, but its overuse can also nurture ambivalence, a lack of motivation and subsequently poor health. Therefore, honesty is not only the responsibility of the people who seek help from us, it is also our responsibility as practitioners to honestly and tactfully challenge limiting beliefs and behaviours when they arise.
Whether it’s losing weight, getting fit, managing back pain or recovering from injury, when self-limiting excuses are out of the way, we can then get on with identifying real reasons for change, and cultivate the sense of purpose and motivation needed to start the journey to a healthier and happier existence. Our deepest reasons for change can be compelling enough to make healthy habits an unquestionable part of who we are. They can also keep us anchored down during life’s inevitable turbulence and investing in ourselves during the most lacklustre of times. Keep up the good habits and you’ll soon forget how you used to be!