One Thing Holding Your Back From Making Healthy Decisions

Summary

In this episode, Jonathan discusses the importance of investing in your health and the reasons why many people struggle to prioritize their health. He introduces the concept of three layers of change - outcomes, processes, and identity - and emphasizes the significance of changing one's identity to achieve lasting change. Jonathan shares examples and personal experiences to illustrate the power of identity in shaping our actions and decisions. He encourages listeners to reflect on their beliefs about themselves and make a conscious decision to identify as a healthy person. By doing so, they can align their actions with their desired outcomes and create lasting change in their health.

Takeaways

  • Health is the greatest asset we have, but it often falls through the cracks due to busy schedules and competing responsibilities.
  • To achieve lasting change in health, it is important to focus on changing one's identity and beliefs about oneself.
  • Identifying as a healthy person and aligning actions with this identity can lead to consistent and long-term investment in health.
  • Reflecting on limiting beliefs and negative self-talk about health can help in challenging and changing them.

 

Transcript

All right. Thanks for joining the show today. I'm excited you're here. I'm going to talk about something today that I love to talk about. And it's something that has drastically changed my life and something I continue to work on a consistent basis to try and get better at. And I hope this show today encourages you and provides you with a lot of value. On the last episode of the Intentional Man podcast, I chatted with Trent Scott about the importance of investing in your health. He's been a chiropractor for over 25 years, and he offered some valuable insight on ways to take care of our bodies to prevent injury, to deal with pain, and he also stressed the importance of making health a priority in your life and how health is ultimately the greatest asset that you have.

If you haven't had a chance to listen to that episode yet, I encourage you to check it out after you listen to this one. But my conversation with Trent got me thinking about health and just some of the reasons we don't invest enough energy, time, or resources into our health. With our busy schedules and the seemingly never-ending list of responsibilities that we have, health is one of the first things that seems to fall through the cracks if we're not intentional about it.

Because it's typically not the most pressing issue on a daily basis, it's just easy to forget about it, or it's easy to not make it a high priority. But I think we would all agree that it's one of the most important parts of our lives, right? And if it is one of the most important pieces of our lives, then what is it that typically keeps us from investing in our health? What is it that holds us back from reaching our goals, from losing the weight, or from consistently going to the gym, or from eating healthy?

And one of the best teachings that I've heard on this actually comes from the book "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. It's a great book, I would highly recommend it. But he explains that there are three levels of change that need to occur, and we're typically pretty good at identifying two of the levels of change, but the third and most important layer usually goes untouched, and that leaves us falling back into the same bad habits over and over again. The first layer of change that he identifies is outcomes, and this is pretty obvious, so this is a specific outcome that you want, like losing 50 pounds or running a marathon, these are outcomes, this is usually where we start when we set our goals. Then the next layer of change would be the process.

We typically understand this as well. In order to lose those 50 pounds, you need to change the way that you eat, you need to consistently get more exercise, you need to change up your routine at the gym. These are usually the habits that are in place in order to accomplish that outcome that we want. Most of the time, though, this is where we stop. But there is a third layer of change that I believe is the most important if you want to start investing in your health, and that's changing your identity. And this is the deepest layer, and it's concerned with changing your beliefs, your worldview, your self-image, the way that you view yourself. And if outcomes are what you get and the processes are what you do, then identity is what you believe. And if you're not investing in your health on a consistent basis, there's a decent chance that it comes down to some of the beliefs that you have about yourself.

So instead of focusing on what you want to change, it's necessary to focus on who you need to become in order to make that change. And this was a game-changer for me and something I continuously work on to reach my goals in all different areas of life. But James Clear in the book, he gives us an example that illustrates this point. So he gives this illustration. He says imagine two people are offered a cigarette and the first person says no, thanks, I'm trying not to smoke. And that sounds like a pretty good response, but the language of that statement actually sounds like they're still considering themselves a smoker, but just one who is trying to quit.

So consider the second response. The second person when offered a cigarette says, no, thanks, I am not a smoker. It's a small difference in phrasing, but a huge change in mindset. The first person has not changed the belief about themselves to be a non-smoker. They still consider themselves a smoker, but just one who is trying not to smoke. Whereas the second person no longer identifies as someone who smokes. So if you want to start consistently investing in your health, you need to start considering yourself a healthy person. Without changing this fundamental belief about yourself, your actions are not going to follow over the long period of time.

And if your belief about yourself is that you're lazy or that you're out of shape or that just working out is not for you, then likely your actions are going to line up with those thoughts. If you've always told yourself that you're not a morning person, it's going to be difficult to get up in the morning to go to the gym. If you believe that you're a person who just loves junk food, then your actions are going to line up with those beliefs. Willpower may work for a certain amount of time when you're trying to make some changes, but our actions typically fall back to what we believe about ourselves. So if you want to change your outcomes around health, start with changing your identity to be that of a healthy person. So if it's your goal to lose 50 pounds, ask yourself the question, who would I need to become in order to lose 50 pounds? If your goal is to start eating healthier, you could ask yourself a question like, who do I need to become in order to eat healthier?

Do you see the difference there? When we want to lose weight, our first impulse is to go find the next diet or program or plan that's going to help us lose weight. And that's one good element of change. You do need a good plan. But if in your mind, you still believe that you're not a healthy person or that you're not the kind of person that makes healthy decisions, eventually your actions are going to line up with your identity. And I've told this story on this podcast before, but a lady once lost 100 pounds by asking herself the question, what would a healthy person do in this situation?

She just asked herself that question over and over again, day after day. And the power of that is because she was starting to identify as a healthy person. She started to take actions that are consistent with what healthy people typically do. So if you're not consistently making good decisions with your health, or if you're consistently frustrated with quitting diets or exercise programs that you start, take some time to reflect on what your beliefs about yourself are when it comes to this area. If you've tried diets in the past and not stuck with them, maybe you have an unconscious belief about yourself that you're not somebody who can stick to a diet. You might have a deep-rooted belief in yourself that this whole health thing isn't for you, that you just may not be made to be a healthy person. Or maybe the belief comes from your family, maybe your family has never been healthy and so you've also taken on that identity.

These are things that you must deal with in order to have long-lasting change. And I wrestled for years with this. I would get highly motivated and I'd hit the gym hard for a few months, and then I'd go on a vacation or something and it would just kick me right out of the routine, or maybe I'd be going strong and then get sick and I would never recover, I'd never get back to the gym, or maybe it was an injury and I'd never bounce back, like I'm sure some of you can relate to that when you get knocked out of the routine and you don't go back. But it wasn't until I changed my identity that I found consistency over the long term.

Like now I very much consider myself to be a healthy person, and what do healthy people do? They exercise. What do healthy people do? They are conscious of the food that they put in their bodies. And this doesn't mean that I never make mistakes, I do all the time, or that my actions always line up with this identity, but when they don't, when my actions don't line up with this, it actually feels as if I'm going against who I am. So if I don't go to the gym in the morning, it feels like I'm not living in alignment with who I am or the person that I want to be. And this can work the other way around. Like if you don't consider yourself to be a healthy person, it may feel actually a little awkward to make healthy decisions because that's not in alignment with your fundamental beliefs about yourself. So my challenge to you today is to take some time to dig deep into what your beliefs are about yourself when it comes to your health.

Take time to identify some of the lies that you've been believing about yourself, take time to identify some of your limiting beliefs in this area, take some time to identify some of that negative self-talk that you've had when it comes to your health. And when you've identified some of these negative thoughts that you have in this area, then decide the type of person that you want to be going forward. Choose today to be a healthy person. Choose today to say that you're going to be somebody who invests in your health going forward. Get a big vision for your life of what it's going to look like when you're at your best in this area. And I know this is some hard work. It takes time. It takes thought. But it's worth it. And it's the best way to ensure that you actually have lasting change.

And if this is something that you'd like some help with, please schedule a call with me. I'd love to talk to you or find another coach or another person or just somebody that you can process some of this with. Sometimes these beliefs run really deep and you need somebody to help kind of change your thought patterns and everything in this.

So I believe in you. I believe that you are a healthy person, even just by listening to this podcast, you're somebody who takes their personal growth and development seriously. And right there, that's evidence that you care about your health. So anyway, please reach out if you have any thoughts or questions on today's episode. I'd love to connect with you and now go live a life of significance by living intentionally. And I'll see you next time.

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