I had a client, let’s call her Julie, who was having a difficult time waking up in the morning to go for a walk that she promised herself every night she was going to take. Unfortunately she would find herself wrestling with the alarm clock and the alarm clock would always win!
Day after day Julie just couldn’t get out of bed. She shared with me that her busy schedule as well as all of her responsibilities left her exhausted and the extra 30-45 minutes of sleep was too hard to give up and that she found a thousand reasons not to get out of bed. So I asked her to complete a simple assignment.
I asked her to describe on a note card that she could carry with her daily, as well as place on her alarm clock, what her life would be like if she were to decide each day to nurture her health and wellness by going on a short walk. I asked her to list what potential personal benefits she would experience 10 years or 20 years from today as well as how her family and others would be affected positively as well as negatively if she began nurturing her body by moving daily.
Julie stated after thinking for a moment, ‘Oh, I would feel so much better about myself! I would be healthier, I would lose weight, and I would fit into jeans that I haven’t been able to fit into for a while! My kids would see me in a better mood. I know that it would take away from my extra sleep but I would have more self-esteem, more energy and I probably would do better with food cravings.’ She went on for at least 5 minutes and she actually became excited as she listed these items.
Then I asked her to write these items down on her card and to read her health card at least 3 times during the day and especially in the morning when the alarm clock went off.
She looked at me a little funnily and asked, ‘That’s it?’ and I replied, ‘That’s it.’ I then asked her how confident she felt in reading her health card at least 3 times during the day and especially in the morning. She stated, ‘Oh, I am almost 100% confident that I can do that!’
So her assignment was not to get out of bed and go for a walk, rather it was something she felt confident she could accomplish, simply reading her card at least 3 times a day and at least one time in the morning.
After three weeks Julie contacted me and was excited to share that something amazing had happened!
She mentioned to me that for the first few days, she found herself hitting the alarm clock as usual in the morning and not looking at her card. But, she said the difference was she couldn’t go back to sleep without feeling a strong pull to get up and read her health card.
After the third day she began to read her card. After reading her health card she would lay in bed thinking about getting up and going for a walk because she really wanted to feel better, have more energy, lose weight, be healthier etc….
After a couple of weeks of reading her health card, she said, ‘I finally found myself really wanting to go for a walk. I was waking up thinking about how good I would feel to go for a walk.’ Then she said, ‘Sean, I did it, I actually woke up for an entire week and went for a walk. I felt fantastic! Often I don’t even have to read my card any more because I automatically think about how good I will feel, how others will benefit by me taking time to nurture my body every day! When I do wrestle with feeling like I want to stay in bed, I pull my trusty health card out and think about how much better I will feel!’
The most encouraging news about Julie is that she is an avid walker today, and by the way, she sometimes still has to pull her card out to remind herself!
How about you? This week I would like you to create your own health card! Think about your health and wellness goals. Describe on a note card that you can carry with you daily what your life would be like if you were to decide each day to nurture your health and wellness.
- What are the positive benefits as well as challenges I would experience by improving my personal
health and fitness? (i.e. Increasing my exercise)
- What are the consequences to others (Positive and negative) if I were to focus on improving my personal health and fitness?
- How would I feel about myself if I were to improve my personal health and fitness?
- How would others react to me (positive and negative) if I were to begin to improve my health and fitness?
I encourage you to write your answers down on a note card that you can carry with you daily.
Read it throughout this week and see how it helps you in your thinking about making healthy decisions.
I have found that when we focus on ‘why’ we want to change, the daily decisions of nurturing ourselves and those around us become much easier!
Like Julie, commit to yourself to follow this simple assignment this week and see what happens!
Remember to take the time to create your health card and read it regularly! Continue to focus on your fitness and health by nurturing your body, your mind and your soul - and remember to WIN THE DAY!
To your health!