“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
In a famous quote by Lao Tzu, Tzu hits on the progression of self-improvement or self-diminishment. To change your destiny, whether for good or for bad, you must hit every link in the chain starting with your thoughts. A broken link will result in a failed outcome, so you must commit to this progression if you want to set health-related goals.
Any self-motivated change first begins by internally recognizing the need to change. I am not going to assume you have discovered this on your own yet. What I will assume is that you have given at least some thought toward making goals that benefit your health. Think about your current ideas for a goal and ask yourself two questions, why do I need to change, and how do I plan on doing it? The ‘why’ is important because it is what will keep you motivated. If you lose track of the ‘why’, then the chances are soon your thoughts about improving your health will begin to fade, and they will no longer be transferred into action. The ‘how’ is just as important ask ‘why’. You need to create a plan of action for how you plan on achieving your goals. Rehearse your plan in your head. Visualize yourself going to the gym every morning, eating healthy, and losing weight. This truly is a mental game, and it all begins with thinking about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.
Once you have thought through your motivation, goals, and plan, talk about them. Tell your friends and family what you’re planning on doing, and keep them updated along the way. Create a blog to keep yourself accountable, or if you want to stay a bit more private, spend about 5 minutes each day writing down what you did that day to reach your goals. I can’t stress enough that you need to write everything down in a journal or on a vision board. Every day you should read over the goals you want to reach and your plan to get there. Place it on the fridge or somewhere you look at every day. Continuously talk and write about your health goal to keep it fresh in your mind and to keep forward momentum.
As you talk and write about your goals, execute your plan every day. You’ve been talking about it and writing about it, so now you just have to do it. Your plan is set, you are motivated, and your goal seems very attainable. Now you just need to transfer what is on paper to the real world. If you told your spouse you’re going to go to the gym 3 days a week, do it. If you wrote down a list of healthy meals to eat this week, then get into the kitchen and make them. Action is by far the easiest link in the chain to break, but if you prioritize your goals and keep talking about your goals, then everything should fall into place.
Your thoughts have now become words, and words have become actions. Now as long as you keep up your actions, good habits will begin to form. Waking up early to go to the gym will just become a part of your weekday after awhile, or soon you won’t even care about not eating dessert if that happens to be your goal. How long will it take for a habit to form? Studies have shown it will take anywhere from about 2 to 8 months. This is why so many goals fail in the first couple months! People will try to start healthy habits, and soon their actions will diminish, breaking the link between action and habit. To truly live a healthier life, you need to form good habits and carry them with you into future years. Just keep in mind that it will be difficult and time-consuming to form them, but if you keep talking about your goals and putting them into action, eventually you won’t have to think twice about your actions.
As good habits form, your character grows. Your mental and moral qualities will begin to reflect the hard work you put in to form your healthy habits. Have you ever heard someone talk about their weight loss journey or someone’s training to run their first marathon? Once they reach their goals they always have a large smile on their face and move on to their next challenge, no matter how difficult it may be. They not only did something great for their health, but they are mentally stronger and will never relinquish the good habits they have formed. The result is truly a lifestyle change.
Your destiny can be described as the events that will happen to you in the future. If you are born a prince, it is your destiny to be king because you know it will happen when you grow older. By changing your character, you can shape your own destiny by changing future outcomes. These changes from your goal could be strictly health related such as living longer but can extend much further than that. By taking ownership of your body and thinking about a goal that can benefit your health, so many doors and opportunities will open for you if you put your goal into words, create action, form habits, mold character, and shape destiny. Don’t break the chain.
Author: Scott Van Hoy – Click Here to view the author’s profile