Updated: Jul 12, 2021
We all want to look healthy.
For me, it was a requirement. I was a personal trainer who owned his own company and looking unhealthy was bad for business. Then in 2015, when I was asked to be a spokesperson for an international sports nutrition company, it became a non-negotiable. I would get to tell my story about how I used to be overweight and how my dad died from diabetic complications and that we all didn't have to be prisoners of our genetics! Before I was a trainer, my background was in marketing. I knew how to tidy up the taglines and market my image of health.
But the only problem is, I wasn't healthy. I just looked healthy.
What is the Goal?
The problem was I didn't step back to consider what "being healthy" meant. It didn't matter if my cholesterol was through the roof. Or that I was exercising an obscene (dare I say... "unhealthy?") amount, tearing ligaments in my ankle and herniating discs in my lower back. I just cared about how I looked. Was my body fat low? Check.
Focusing on the external always left me feeling inferior, because I didn't have clarity on what 'healthy" was.
Instead of health, let's look at a more objective goal for many people: success. Let's say you use wealth as your indicator of success ('Murica!). So if in your mind, having lots of money meant you were successful, would winning the lottery make you successful? Research has shown that over 70% of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within the next few years. When we seek instant gratification, whether it's in health, success, happiness, love, or anything else, we usually are so focused on the result, we don't appreciate the lessons to get there.
For people who want to get rid of fat so badly they turn to liposuction, studies show that the fat usually returns in one year, just in different spots on the body.
Let's dial it down a little further. Do you want to be healthy, or to learn how to be healthy? Be successful or learn how to be successful? That was the piece I was missing for so long. The process. See, that's where the magic is. When you take time to learn and develop the skills, discipline, and effort needed to be healthy ( or successful, or happy) you gain clarity and appreciation for the effort it took. Otherwise, we are no different than our kids in the store screaming for the toy they see on the shelf. Read that last sentence again.
When we are taught the value of money, and why we can't have that toy because it's expensive, as a child we have no concept of what that means. But once we get into the "grown-up" world we have no excuses for learning that everything has a cost.
Everything Has a Cost
Yes, everything. What was focusing on looking healthy costing me? My self-esteem. Peace. If you work 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and never turn your phone off, what is that costing you? Yes, learning how to be healthy costs me as well. It costs me staying up late. It costs me drinking alcohol. It costs the time I set aside to meditate every day. The real question is, are you willing to pay the cost? The best way to determine that is to see if the cost is congruent with your values. I valued my health more than drinking, so that was a no-brainer for me. If I don't wake up early and meditate my day doesn't feel as centered, so determined I value that more than staying up late to watch tv.
So instead of being the kid in the toy store, whenever you want to attain or achieve something, stop for a moment and think about what it would really cost to get there. And more importantly, is it even really what you want in the first place?
Isn't It Ironic? Dontcha Think?
The great irony was, back then my real goal wasn't to look healthy, deep down it was what I thought I could gain by looking good. If I looked good, I would get validated! Women would find me attractive! People would compliment me! Most of the time what we are chasing isn't the real goal. It's the feeling we think that goal will give us. And usually... it doesn't. All the more reason to find goals that are in line with your values, and enjoy the process. Because those things that you do every day don't fit into your life. They are your life.
About the Author:
Ramsey Bergeron has been a leader in the coaching and wellness industries for over 15 years and has over 2 decades of public speaking experience. To learn more about his coaching or speaking services, please click here.