One of my favorite things about being a health coach is that sometimes, I get to be included in the best part of someone’s day: the part when someone listens to them, truly hears them, and gets them pointed in the right direction again. I get to be kind of like one of those big maps that you see at shopping malls, where people can get their bearings and figure out where they are and where they need to go.
And as soon as we figure that part out, I want to know the answer to a popular question: why? If someone has taken time out of their day to tell me about this idea they have for something they want to do, it must be pretty important to them. It’s been on their mind for a while. So, why? Why do you think about this? Why not just stay like you are now? And, almost everyone has the same answer: they want to feel better.
I love that answer because feeling better is great, and it’s something we can all do right away. Feeling good is easy, and we all have the skills to feel better almost instantly.
I don’t mean the way eating ice cream makes you feel better. That’s pretend. I mean the kind of feeling you get when you’ve done something that makes you feel proud, or when you have been exercising for a few weeks and you notice you have more energy in the afternoons. Even when you make the choice to skip the second helping of mashed potatoes and have some more water instead. It might not feel awesome right at that moment, but you’re glad you did it.
That brings me to my next question: what makes you feel better?
This answer brings a smile to their faces: exercise! Then the stories start to come out. “A while back I was walking every morning with my friend, I felt so much better and I really had more energy.” Or, “my physical therapist gave me these stretches to do, and when I do them I feel better, but I stopped.”
Or my favorite, “I used to exercise all the time. I even taught exercise classes! I really liked it!” This is where I do an internal high five with myself, because having previous positive experiences with healthy habits makes it so much easier to get back into them, so I know these people are about to start feeling better really soon.
And then I have to ask: why on earth did you stop doing this magical thing that made you so happy?
Studies show that the most common reason why people fall out of exercise habits is a change of environment, such as a new job; an injury or illness, whether themselves or someone they care for; or a schedule change that compromises their time. I get it. There is a lot going on.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much exercise to make you feel better. In fact, it doesn’t take much of any healthy habit to make you feel better. As soon as you start, you feel better immediately. Instant success.
Because friends, we create how we feel. The thoughts and patterns that we allow in our lives create our environment. Spend time with negative thoughts of worry and anger, and your life will be negative and dark. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and cheer you on, and your life will be light and bright.
All we have is how we feel, and how we feel is where we live.
So, if you know that there is something really easy to do that leads to you feeling good, do it. Do it every day! Then, you get to feel good every day. And you get all the credit, too!
If exercise makes you feel better, do it. If eating healthy makes you feel better, do it. The power to feel better every day is within you, and you can start now.
Not many people know this, but I can predict the future. It’s true! I can look into the future, make a prediction about what will happen, and most of the time my prediction is accurate. I can’t predict lottery tickets or the weather, nothing like that. My gift has been honed over the years of listening, watching, and learning from people and how they live.
Most of the time I keep this skill a secret from others and only use it for my own purposes. But, today I am going to share it with you. Specifically, I am going to reveal which exercise programs are going to be your favorite in 2020, and possibly beyond.
There are so many options for exercise, and they all promise to be the magic solution to overcoming all of your obstacles, so it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. But, after we gaze into my crystal ball, it will all become clear. Are you ready?
Prediction: It will be challenging, but rewardingI can’t guarantee that the first workout of the year will be fun, or that you will find your favorite one right away. But, when you do find the one that sticks, it will be because you feel great when you’re there. Exercise programs with the most longevity are those that challenge you just enough so you are looking forward to the end, and then feel really proud when you get there. I predict that your favorite exercise program this year will be one that pushes you just enough to be fun.
Prediction: It will be convenient enoughIn a perfect world, getting to your favorite exercise program would require almost no effort on your part. Can you imagine how much exercise we would all be able to do if we didn’t have to actually drive somewhere to do it? My prediction is that the workout you love is convenient enough that you can get there three to four times a week, and that there may even be times when you go more than that!
Prediction: It will include friendsSome of the most popular exercise trends of the last decade have woven a sense of community and teamwork into the business of sweating and lifting heavy things. CrossFit, Orange Theory, obstacle course races, and even online communities through game-based workouts all connect people together for camaraderie, friendly competition, and support. I don’t need my crystal ball to know that you are going to love a workout where you feel like part of a community that cares about you (and is going to ask why you didn’t show up).
Prediction: It will not hurt youNot every exercise program is for every fitness level and body. If your workout consistently leaves you aching, injured, exhausted, my bet is you won’t stick with it. My crystal ball tells me that your favorite workout in 2020 will be one that makes you stronger.
Prediction: It will be worth itYou already know that establishing a new exercise routine takes discipline, time management, and an internal desire for the benefits. I can guarantee that there will be times that even your favorite workout feels like a chore. But, it will feel worth it. At the end of 2020, when I ask you what your favorite exercise program is, you will tell me that it’s the one that is always worth it, whether that means driving across town for Zumba after work or getting up before dawn to run with friends.
That’s it. You have it now: my prediction for you this year. To be fair, there are a couple of asterisks on this glimpse into your future. It will only come true if you seek it; it does not come to you automatically. And, I make no guarantee of when it will be realized. But, it is out there waiting for you to discover it, and now that you know what you’re looking for, I’ll bet you can find it pretty quick.
Happy New Year.
About This Blog
Each week, I write the "Healthy Heather Blog" in the Tallahassee Democrat. It is republished here in case you are not a subscriber (what???). Sometimes it is really good and other times it is just okay. Thanks for reading it regardless of your opinion!