Have you ever wondered why some people always seem to be motivated by their health while others (and maybe this is you!) always jump on and off the health or wellness bandwagon? One week you are on a juice detox, the next week you are eating chips for breakfast and the next week you decide to sweat it all out and do 30 hot yoga classes in a row.
I am fascinated with understanding human behaviour when it comes to health and wellness. When working with my clients I want to understand what drives them, what motivates them and what also holds them back from living their healthiest and happiest lives. I want to know what drives their healthy and unhealthy habits. I want to understand why some see success with committing to their health and the process of healthy living while others struggle with this their whole lives.
Working with hundreds of clients one-on-one but also in a group format, I have come to learn that not everyone will see success in terms of staying motivated and committed. Not everyone will unless of course, they learn this very simple yet profound secret of what motivates us all in our health. This single aspect of an individual's way of living defines how motivated they will be and as a result the positive outcomes that they will see in their health.
The mental secret to staying motivated within your health is to understand the difference of being engaged in the process or action of an activity versus being consumed by the result, goal or desire you have in mind.
Process Vs. Result
There are two types of people:
Person # 1
The first person is motivated by the process and the action. They engage in healthy activities from a place of presence. They decide to enjoy their new healthy habits with joy and ease. They have enough awareness to know when they aren't present and often stay motivated to fall in love with the process of being healthy. They become present when grocery shopping, they carve out time in their schedule to prepare healthy meals and practice mindful eating. When they exercise they are focusing on each movement or each breath instead of looking at the clock wondering how much longer they need to exercise for or when the class will be complete. They are keen to learn about their health and then their action from a place of presence.
The second person is motivated by the outcome or the result. They decide to get healthy because they want to lose weight, have more energy, or feel less bloated. They decide to exercise because they lack self-love and hate their body and want to be skinny and toned. They focus on the external results, often dismissing the internal process. They often aren't present in the process because they are so focused on the result, the outcome or their goal. They become demotivated quickly when they don't see results. They lack enjoyment, fulfilment and presence through the process.
Now, which scenario do you think stays motivated longer and as a result sees positive outcomes?
Of course, person number one. This is because lasting motivation and fulfilment come from falling in love with the process from a place of presence. Engage fully in the present moment and action from this place. It will make a big difference in how you feel and what you achieve in your lifetime, not only in your health but in your life! Your work, your relationships, everything!
This isn't to say you can't have goals. The majority of my clients come to me with health symptoms and of course goals in mind. I acknowledge them and address them in their protocols and customized plans, however, I coach by teaching them to fall in love with the process. Becoming joyfully consumed by each action and each choice from the present moment and I often work on mindfulness exercises if this is an unfamiliar territory for them.
Here are 7 tips that help me focus on action and the present moment rather than the result with my health:
1. Choose One New Vegetable Or Fruit Each Week
We often continuously choose the same foods each week. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to choose one new vegetable or fruit each week, this will force you to become present in your shopping experience. Notice the new flavours, textures or new ways of preparing this vegetable or fruit.
2. Focus On How You Feel
Check in each day after you eat a meal and observe how you feel. Did any of the foods make you feel bloated or create a mental fog? Do you lack energy when you eat particular foods? How did you feel after that yoga class? When we can observe and cultivate strong body awareness we can fall in love with the process.
3. Use Your Breath
Use your breath to guide you when your mind is wandering. I do this often throughout my day when I find my mind is wandering to my to-do list, my worries or my stresses. I always invite myself to come back to my breath, noticing the sound, the length, the rise and fall of the belly and each beautiful aspect of the breath.
4. Find Your Inner Child In The Kitchen
As a child we play, we create and we have fun. It is in our nature to be this way and often as we get older we lose this sense of playfulness. Play means presence. We can't engage in true play without presence. Get creative in the kitchen, have some fun, try new recipes, create your own, put your own flavour and spin on it and enjoy the experience.
5. Notice Your Whole Meal
How often do you chow down on your meal in one minute? Give yourself the time to be present with your meal. Focus on the present moment when eating. Notice the colours, the aroma, the tastes and savour each bite. Turn off all distractions, including technology and focus on the experience of mealtime.
6. Let Being Healthy Be Your Goal
Instead of having a goal to lose weight why not shift your goal to being the absolute best version of you which includes you in your healthiest state? Become present to the lifestyle you choose to live by committing to treating your body with the utmost respect. Fueling it, nourishing it from the inside with high vibrational nutritious foods so you can show up and be your healthiest. Make choices each day that reflect a healthy lifestyle, act as if you are already the healthiest version of you. You will be pleasantly surprised what you end up achieving this way!
7. Fall In Love With Your Journey
Staying motivated with your health isn't jumping on the next cleanse or detox. Your holistic health is a commitment that you make for your entire life. There is no start date and there is no end date. A holistic lifestyle is truly a way of living and when you can commit to this you begin living from that present state, focusing on each action, falling in love with the journey and the process of learning rather than a particular outcome, goal or desire.
The true secret to staying motivated with your health is the state of presence you are in and to mindfully focus on what you're doing rather than what you are trying to achieve.
In health and happiness always,
Stephanie Morrison is a certified holistic nutritionist, registered yoga and meditation instructor with a passion for guiding others along their healing path. She uses a combination food, supplementation, homeopathics and lifestyle recommendations to create balance in the body and address the root cause of her clients health symptoms. She works in private clinic setting specializing in hormonal, digestive and emotional health.