Get clear on what you WANT for your health

Today we are following on from my previous post about how it is time for a reboot. I realised that in order to “get back on track” we need to have a good idea of what that means. So often we focus on what we DON’T want for our health. We waste time and energy complaining about things that we don’t like or we want to change, whether this is symptoms, disease or unhealthy habits. But how many times do we truly reflect on what we DO want for our health? If we want to make change, we have to first get clear on what we are aiming for and then take consistent action.

What we think about becomes our reality. This might seem like an abstract statement but really it is quite straightforward. We can never truly see the world as it is. Our sensory organs take in all of the information they can and transmit this to our brains. If we were to constantly process all of this data, we would be completely overwhelmed. Instead, we see everything through the filter of our mind. We program our minds to look out for certain things (for example when you have a new car and you keep seeing that model of car everywhere!).

Therefore, if we are constantly focusing on our problems, we will only perpetuate them.

But how can I stop focusing on what I don’t want?

I know that when you are struggling with your health, it is so hard not to focus on the symptoms you are experiencing. Trust me, I have been there! I dealt with insomnia and fatigue for several years and nothing made my blood boil more than being told not to worry about it so much. I couldn’t understand how not to focus on something that felt so all encompassing and affected every aspect of my life. But in truth, all of the time and energy spend trying to figure out what was wrong with me and how I could get better never helped.

What finally allowed me to heal was making some simple changes, focusing on things that brought me the energy that I wanted then being patient and allowing change to occur. I stopped the daily pity parties and tried my best to appreciate the good things in my life. By this I don’t mean that every day I wrote a list of all the things I am grateful for. This can work for some people but only if you truly feel the energy of gratitude and not only mechanically write things down. Rather I decided I wanted to feel energised and happy so whenever moments like that occurred I dived into them fully. Even if it was only 1% of the day and the other 99% I felt exhausted.

Another useful tool is visualisation. Our minds are such powerful tools when we harness them for good. If we let them do their own thing they can become destructive and spiral into negative thought patterns. But we do have the ability to step in and halt the monkey mind or what we call chitta vrtti in yoga. Once we are aware of this, we can use our higher mind, our intelligence to redirect our thoughts. Visualisation through images or storytelling can be a great way to train your mind to focus on a positive future rather than getting caught up in your current struggles and fears.

Positive psychology

Positive psychology teaches us to focus more on the good things that we have and want more of, rather than only on the bad. Rather than feeling helpless and like our health and our life are out of our control, we feel empowered and confident that we can make change. It encourages us to want to “level up” and aim higher than just getting by. When it comes to health, this can mean aiming for a sense of overall wellbeing rather than just eliminating symptoms aka thriving rather than surviving!

“Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings, and behavior, with a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses, building the good in life instead of repairing the bad, and taking the lives of average people up to “great” instead of focusing solely on moving those who are struggling up to “normal” (Peterson, 2008)

These days, feeling slightly off is so common that it is normalised. Experiencing minor symptoms such as low energy, digestive upsets, sleep disturbances or anxiety has become the new normal. To the point that if you want to feel great and in peak physical condition, people might think you are aiming too high. However, positive psychology encourages you to do just that. Set the bar high and know that it is possible for you to create this in your life. This is what I want for myself and for all of you. A body that functions the way that it should and a sense of overall health and wellbeing.

Activity to focus on the positive

Here is a simple task you can try to help you to turn your mindset towards what you want rather than what you don’t want. Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns with the following headings:

WHAT I DON’T WANT FOR MY HEALTHWHAT I WANT FOR MY HEALTH

In the left column, make a list of all of the things you want to change. For example:

  • I don’t want to feel tired
  • I don’t want to eat so many sweets
  • I don’t want to wake up during the night
  • I don’t want to feel so stressed
  • I don’t want to be overweight

Now, in the right column I want you to convert each of these statements to reflect the change you want to see. Such as:

  • I want to have abundant energy
  • I want to eat a nourishing diet
  • I want to sleep peacefully throughout the night
  • I want to feel calm and at ease
  • I want to maintain a healthy weight for my body

Get the idea? From here you can cross out the left column entirely or rip it out, tear it up, burn it.. whatever you need to do to symbolically let it go.

Place the right column somewhere you will see it daily and remind yourself of what you want for your health. Use this list to set goals to help you get to where you want to be and to check in with existing actions to see if they align with your desires. You can even create a collage or mood board of inspiring images to represent the items on the written list if you are a more visual person.

Summary

To summarise, in order to make improvement to your health it important to identify what you want to change but ALSO what you want to replace it with. Focus more on what is good and how you can bring more of this into your life than what is bad and you want less of. This way you will prime your brain to appreciate the positive and motivate yourself to act in a way that lifts you up and helps to to become the person you want to be!

If you need support in your health improvement journey, I offer nutrition and holistic health coaching consultations. You can also join my private facebook group where I will be announcing a personal wellness challenge starting in January. Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!

Over to you…

  • Comment: What do you want for YOUR health? Share your ideas in the comments below to hold yourself accountable
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5 thoughts on “Get clear on what you WANT for your health

  1. Reminds me of “The Secret” ~ if you focus on negative, you create negative and then the negative WILL happen. If you focus on positive, you create positive.
    For me, and specific to the subject of my own personal health, I started focusing on “I will remain cancer-free” instead of “I don’t want cancer to come back”. Five years now. I am cancer-free. 🙂

    1. Yes.. of course life circumstances are at times out of our hands. I always come back to the quote (and I am not sure who said this originally) “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.” And that is fantastic – I’m not sure congratulations is the right word but I am very happy for you!

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