In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Steven Covey teaches that your professional life is a product of how you think more than any other factor. I would argue that the same is true for our health.
After working with many clients who were either striving for or had achieved natural health as well as those who had overcome major challenges, I realized the way they thought I played a foundational role in their journey. I wanted to share a few of their mindsets, which I believe contributed to the success of their process.
- Living with purpose
This mindset is first on my list for a reason. Purpose matters. People who have a compelling ‘why’ can make do with almost any ‘how.’ What would you say if someone asked you what your purpose was? If you did not have an answer that came to mind, I would recommend determining your why to be on the top of your to do list.
- Understanding health is essential
Health is the ultimate wealth. There is a saying that a person who has health has a hundred goals yet someone without health has only one. It becomes very difficult to focus on anything else when you have ongoing pain or frustration with your body.
- Believing the body can heal
Believing you can heal may be more powerful than your genes or your diet. Do you often wonder if you have a bad set of genes? Are powerless to change your diet? Have you felt hard done by when the foods you like best make you feel less than optimal? Henry Ford said ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right’. All the cells your body are replaced regularly, many every few months. Your mind is so powerful. Never use it to keep yourself trapped in frustrating symptoms.
Yoga is great, but I mean mentally flexible. Continuing on the path you are now on, yet expecting results completely different from the results you are currently seeing is not a valid premise. If your health is exactly the way you and your medical team want it to be, there is no necessity to shift gears. If it is not, being mentally flexible and receptive to change will be necessary for your recovery.
- Owning your behaviour
Who chooses what goes on your fork? Who decides whether or not you will be moving your body today? If you do not feel in charge of your decisions, it is time to reframe and reconnect with what is important to you. Think of it like developing a muscle. Choose one small thing you can control and master it. Start, for example, with a nourishing breakfast. Most food cravings start later in the day and are often influenced (both positively and negatively) by what you consume in the morning. Once you get past a month of having a regular, healthy breakfast, think about the next meal to take control of.
- A healthy community
Are your closest friends health conscious? If not, your health may be more of a challenge. It is said that we are the product of the five people we spend the most time with. Think about who is already in your circle that you would like to emulate, possibly even someone you envy or resent for having achieved their wellness goals. Sometimes those you resent show up in your life to be your best teacher. Mimic their habits or make a bold move and just ask them about how they make it work. People enjoy sharing their successes. Give them a chance to shine and give yourself an opportunity to grow and deepen a relationship. Surround yourself with those you want to emulate and those who want to emulate all the good in you.
- Having a health team
Do you have a health care team? If not, aligning with advocates for your health is the first step. How do you feel about them? Do you trust their advice and follow it closely or do you second guess them and do your own research online? If you do not feel your team is worthy of your trust, replace them with people who are.
- Knowing and understanding YOUR body
If your nutritionist tells you to eat more greens, it helps if you know he means spinach and kale, not green M&M’s. It is a balancing act. There is no need to get another degree, but it does to have a working knowledge of how your body works so you can communicate with your team more easily.
Before you stress about which food to be afraid of this week or how many milligrams of vitamin X you should take, think about your mindset. Once it is right, the details magically fall into place and your health journey begins on a solid path, with an end point in sight.