You make the decision to become healthier.
One day you get a burst of motivation and head out to your local gym for a membership. You throw out all the soda in your fridge and swear you’ll never eat fast-food again.
Things look good, and changes seem to be underway.
Keep this up and you’ll look and feel better in no time!
But then, after the first day, week, or even after the first month, somehow your enthusiasm just seems to fizzle out. Life gets in the way and sticking with your healthy choices seems much more burdensome than it did.
Any changes you made during that initial impulse slowly slide back to their comfortable starting points, and the inspiring thoughts you had get pushed to the back of your mind once again.
Why does this happen to so many people?
It’s not just a lack of motivation.
It’s not laziness.
And healthy habits aren’t even really that unpleasant or hard to do.
The real reason is hidden behind all of these excuses, tucked in the darkest corners of your consciousness.
The real reason is fear.
Fear is the main factor that is standing in the way of your health, and preventing you from achieving your goals.
It may seem counterintuitive.
Why would anyone fear being healthier? Why wouldn’t you want to live up to your most vibrant potential?
Upon closer inspection it actually becomes quite understandable.
When you decide to make significant changes in your life, you are ultimately deciding to let go of the person you have been to become the person you want to be, and that can be really scary.
It took a long time to become the person you are today.
In order to become healthier, there are some characteristics you’re going to have to change about yourself. And those are characteristics that may have been part of your identity for as long as you can remember.
But if you want to become a healthier person, you’re going to have to close the door on the unhealthier version of yourself.
You’re going to have to work to actively change some of the exact characteristics that have helped shape who you are.
All transformations involve a mini-dying process. You have to let go of what was in order to move forward and welcome in the new.
Before you can start changing how you live, you have to give yourself the chance to grieve the loss of your old lifestyle and identity.
Let’s face it.
Change is really difficult.
For the most part, we humans have a fierce resistance to moving out of our comfort-zone.
But moving out of your comfort-zone is exactly what you’re going to have to do if you want to become healthier.
It may be painful, it may be scary, but it’s better to process that pain and move on, than to resist it and end up where you started.
So muster up your inner warrior and face the challenge head on.
Your life depends on it.
Here are some strategies that make lifestyle changes easier:
1) Let Yourself Feel
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re going to change your lifestyle you’re going to have to mourn the identity you’re letting go of.
If you find yourself feeling sad or frustrated when you can’t eat foods you used to love, or have to stick to an exercise schedule, observe and honor your feelings, but don’t let yourself get attached to them.
If you acknowledge your feelings as they come up, and label them (“anger,” “sadness,” “frustration,” “fear,” etc.) and notice where you feel them in your body, then they can no longer overwhelm you.
When you don’t attach your feelings to your identity, and instead see them for what they are and know that they are just feelings, then you have a much easier time moving on and getting to the important business of transformation.
Remember, feelings come and go and are never permanent. No matter how strongly you feel them in the moment, the moment will eventually pass.
2) Actively Visualize
To keep yourself motivated, do a few creative projects when you’re feeling the most enthusiastic.
Make a list of 3 changes you want to make to become a healthier version of you.
Brainstorm the challenges you can expect to face on your way to achieving these goals.
Then write down as many benefits as you can think of that each of these changes will give you.
When you have these down, look at each benefit, close your eyes, and try to feel it as if you were already experiencing it.
If you’re more of a visual person you can use images and make a picture-version of this exercise.
Whenever you’re feeling a lack of motivation, pull out this exercise and either review what you already did, or start fresh.
Whether you use words or images, the most important thing is that you feel what the benefits will feel like.
When you do they’ll be much more likely to happen.
3) Get Support
One of the biggest hurdles people face when they try to make positive changes in their lives is a lack of support from those around them.
If you can, try to get your family members on-board with the changes you want to make so you can make those changes together.
If your family is resistant, find support outside your home by making friends who want to head down the same healthy path.
If you find that you’re having a really hard time, go see a therapist and/or health-coach to help you with the process.
The more people you have on your team, the easier transformation will be.
What challenges have you faced in making healthier life choices? Share your experience in the comments section below!