One of my favorite things about being a health coach is that sometimes, I get to be included in the best part of someone’s day: the part when someone listens to them, truly hears them, and gets them pointed in the right direction again. I get to be kind of like one of those big maps that you see at shopping malls, where people can get their bearings and figure out where they are and where they need to go.
And as soon as we figure that part out, I want to know the answer to a popular question: why? If someone has taken time out of their day to tell me about this idea they have for something they want to do, it must be pretty important to them. It’s been on their mind for a while. So, why? Why do you think about this? Why not just stay like you are now? And, almost everyone has the same answer: they want to feel better.
I love that answer because feeling better is great, and it’s something we can all do right away. Feeling good is easy, and we all have the skills to feel better almost instantly.
I don’t mean the way eating ice cream makes you feel better. That’s pretend. I mean the kind of feeling you get when you’ve done something that makes you feel proud, or when you have been exercising for a few weeks and you notice you have more energy in the afternoons. Even when you make the choice to skip the second helping of mashed potatoes and have some more water instead. It might not feel awesome right at that moment, but you’re glad you did it.
That brings me to my next question: what makes you feel better?
This answer brings a smile to their faces: exercise! Then the stories start to come out. “A while back I was walking every morning with my friend, I felt so much better and I really had more energy.” Or, “my physical therapist gave me these stretches to do, and when I do them I feel better, but I stopped.”
Or my favorite, “I used to exercise all the time. I even taught exercise classes! I really liked it!” This is where I do an internal high five with myself, because having previous positive experiences with healthy habits makes it so much easier to get back into them, so I know these people are about to start feeling better really soon.
And then I have to ask: why on earth did you stop doing this magical thing that made you so happy?
Studies show that the most common reason why people fall out of exercise habits is a change of environment, such as a new job; an injury or illness, whether themselves or someone they care for; or a schedule change that compromises their time. I get it. There is a lot going on.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much exercise to make you feel better. In fact, it doesn’t take much of any healthy habit to make you feel better. As soon as you start, you feel better immediately. Instant success.
Because friends, we create how we feel. The thoughts and patterns that we allow in our lives create our environment. Spend time with negative thoughts of worry and anger, and your life will be negative and dark. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and cheer you on, and your life will be light and bright.
All we have is how we feel, and how we feel is where we live.
So, if you know that there is something really easy to do that leads to you feeling good, do it. Do it every day! Then, you get to feel good every day. And you get all the credit, too!
If exercise makes you feel better, do it. If eating healthy makes you feel better, do it. The power to feel better every day is within you, and you can start now.
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About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!