How to Achieve Your Health Goals in 2018 and Beyond With “Stories”
The beginning of the year is the time when a lot of us make New Year’s resolutions. Do you know the top two resolutions for 2017? It was losing weight/healthier eating and life/self-improvements, Statistic Brain reveals.
The problem is 80% of the resolutions fail by February. Most of us can’t sustain the inspiration and motivation to change that fueled us to write the resolutions for the New Year in the first place. Why do we fail?
What We Need to Change Before Anything Else
The reason why a lot of resolutions fail is not because they’re not doable or you’re not capable to achieve them. It’s mostly because we often skip the most important step: changing your thoughts about yourself.
Before changing your body and your health, the first thing you need to do is to change your mind. We need to get in the right state of mind to make the weight, health, or any self-improvement goals happen in 2018.
To do this, we will look at how we see ourselves and the stories that we tell ourselves. Your life changes dramatically when you change your thoughts. We’ll talk about the ways to improve your mindset so you can achieve your goals this year.
The Stories That We Tell Ourselves
As I've discussed on many occasions, our person is divided into four parts: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. If you're going to make substantial changes in your life, you need to be able to look at each one of these and evaluate the stories that you have about each of these four levels.
We're going through all of these different levels to get an idea of this collective story that we keep telling ourselves, even if it's true or not true, even if it's misleading or unhelpful. We want to get to the bottom of it because a lot of times, the stories that we've come to internalize and accept come from external factors that secretly control our lives.
The problem is once we accept these stories as truth, they play out in our lives without us knowing it. We believe they're true, not understanding that these are much more malleable than we think they are.
A Holy Task
You have a story in four parts and changing this story—and your life—is a holy task. Gerald Epstein, a teacher of mine, often reminds me that the word health comes from the root word kailo, which means whole, health, and holy. This is a reminder for all of us that changing our lives and getting healthier are a process of becoming whole, restored, and healthy.
The reason it's a holy task is we start on the physical level and continue to go up through all the other levels of our being until we reach a level that is holy.
Let's start with the physical stories that we tell ourselves. What is the physical story that you tell yourself about your health? This may be unspoken. We don't necessarily have a conscious awareness of the physical stories that we tell ourselves.
Here's an example of a story that some of us may have about our physical health:
“I have trouble losing weight. Maybe slow metabolism runs in the family.”
“I have tried everything and nothing works. It must be because of my age.”
Oftentimes, these stories are just images that we have in our minds. These are images of frustration or images of us not being able to do things. Believe it or not, we can easily become victims of those stories when we are not aware of them.
How would you describe your emotional stories? We all have this script directed by our feelings and if we don’t become conscious of them, we will not be able to make lasting changes in our lives.
Here are some examples of emotional stories:
“My moods are uncontrollable. I need food because when I’m stressed or when I’m in a bad mood because there’s nothing more comforting for me than food.”
“I don't get the emotional support I need from those around me.”
These are all very common emotional stories that I also hear from my patients. Inside our minds, we see people not supporting us. We believe food is an instant stress remedy and we can’t control our moods and cravings. And these reflect in our reality.
What intellectual stories do we tell ourselves? What thoughts do we have about our mental ability when it comes to health? Here are a few examples:
“I am not smart enough to understand all the conflicting information about health out there.”
“Every time I try to be healthy, it seems to get more complicated. I can't seem to implement the strategies from health experts.
“All these health information sound too technical to me. I’ll just rely on my doctors for prescriptions in case something goes wrong with my health.”
Many of us believe we’re not capable of understanding and implementing best health practices. At the back of our minds, some of us believe there’s a cure for every illness there is and this gives us an excuse to delay healthy eating and exercise.
What spiritual stories do we tell ourselves? Here’s an example of one that I've heard from my patients even if it wasn’t actually verbalized it was inferred.
“I'm not worthy enough for God to intervene in my life. I am ashamed before God.”
And a few more spiritual story examples:
“God has better things to do than help me.”
“God can’t help me change my health and my life.”
All of these stories are unhelpful and untrue. And the reason I say they're untrue is because in every moment of every day, we CAN change these stories. We are capable of making changes and miracles by rewriting our story. We are so much more moldable than we think we are.
Before you go to bed, take a moment tonight to write down the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual stories that you tell yourself. You’ll be surprised to find how much these stories have influenced the events in your life. In my next blog, I will outline the steps on how to construct a new story for every part of your life so you can achieve your health goals for 2018 and in the future.
*This article was first published on drcarp.com.