You’re on the path to a healthier lifestyle. You’re making those baby steps: new gym membership, drinking more water, and eating a breakfast that came from your own kitchen. You’re feeling more confident about this new you! It’s only a matter of time before you get “healthy.”
The question is, what does that look like? How will you know when you’ve “made it”? How do we reach our goal when we can’t say for sure where we are going?
Embrace Your Ideal
The late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, advised readers to “Begin with the end in mind.” To sum up, we have to know where we’re going before we start the journey to get there. Saying I want to “feel better”, “lose weight”, or “get active” sound like great ideas, but we can’t really follow them effectively. It’s like telling someone in New York: “Want to get to Los Angeles from here? Go that way.”
A more effective method of getting where you want to go in your health journey: write about what that future you is like. When I started my 100-lb weight loss journey in 2011, I wrote in my journal about what my life looked like on the other side of that trek. I told myself that I wore size 30 jeans and medium shirts—both items that I hadn’t worn since I was 14. I wrote about how I lifted weights three days per week and pursued other activities on off days. Things like hiking, biking, and jogging excited this 280 lb me, so I told myself that I’d be doing these things again by the time I reached this health milestone.
I credit that journal entry and others like it with fueling my transformation over the 32 months it took to lose the weight. These clear, definite “end in mind” statements kept me going when I felt like quitting on my health goals. By the time I reached that 100 lb milestone, I’d already planned for other goals to pursue: running my 2nd 5k, completing a Spartan Race, and becoming a personal trainer. Sure enough, I hit all of those marks, too.
Over the next 3 days, set aside one hour to sit and write about your “end in mind” self. You’re on this health journey to create that future you, right? Well, tell yourself about what future you is like. Shape up those vague goals to “get healthy” or “lose weight.” Write about those lifestyle opportunities that future you pursues. I want you to get so fired up about this eventual you that you can’t see straight. Visualize that person every chance you get. Commit to meeting that new you, come hell or high water. With perseverence and a clear vision, you’ll be looking at that new you in the mirror soon enough.