Your Health Goals Have to be “Your Health Goals”
Today's Will Power Moment - 15
with Dr. James Meschino
In the book “No Name in the Street”, James Baldwin writes, “People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have ALLOWED themselves to become. And they pay for it, very simply, by the lives they lead”. This is very much true for the level of health we experience and the rate at which we age. There are some exceptions, of course. But, if you truly want to be vibrant and healthy for as long as possible, you have to set some health goals for yourself, along with a personalized strategy to achieve them.
What is really important is that the health goals and strategies are chosen by you – not by others. Why? The clearer you are about what you value, what action you expect of yourself – not what other people value, or expect of you – the more likely you are to stick to the habit. What I am saying is that you have to beware of Red Herring Goals – these are goals we set because they reflect other people’s values, not our own.
Examples: We declare:
“I’m going to start cooking meals at home” because your friends told you that all restaurant food is unhealthy (not true, by the way). But you don’t really like cooking and the chances of you sticking to cooking most of your meals at home is actually slim to none.
“I’m going to quit smoking”, but you’re not really ready to do it. Just cutting down slowly might be more suited to what you can accept.
“I’m going to quit drinking”, but you’re really not ready to abstain in every moment and situation. In which case, you are better to set a limit to the number of drinks you have on a weekly basis, and track it.
“I’m switching from coffee to green tea”, but to you, green tea tastes like sewer water. You just won’t stick to it.
“I’m going gluten-free” because it’s a popular thing to do today. But you haven’t had a blood test to evaluate the presence of Celiac disease and you don’t have any abdominal symptoms to suggest gluten intolerance. However, your friends or family convinced you that it’s something you just have to do. Becoming gluten-free isn’t easy and can make you feel like being on a health kick is just too difficult, in which case, you’ll give up and go back to eating all kinds of disease-promoting foods that go way beyond gluten consumption.
Or you say “I’m giving up all carbs” swearing off bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for the rest of your life. It’s not necessary to do that, and trying to do it is almost impossible.
“I’m going to start meditating”. Meditation isn’t for everybody. There are other ways to reduce stress and find inner peace. You have to use methods that best suit who you are. For many people meditation is a huge blessing that leads to better physical and mental health. But it’s not for everyone. You have to know who you are. You might say, I’m going to try this to see if it works for me. If it does, then great. If not, then no sense in doing it just because others find it to be so magical and edifying.
With Red Herring Goals we fool ourselves about our actual intentions. We declare we are going to do something, but deep down we know it’s just not really who we are, or that we’re not really ready to make such a big commitment, especially when a smaller commitment would be more realistic, believable and attainable.
My best recommendation for you is to click on to the Daily Wellness Checklist which you will find on the main dashboard of eth Meschino Wellness Platform and create your own nutrition and lifestyle strategy that you plan to adhere to. That means creating a list of wellness intentions that are consistent with who you are and what you are willing to do – not what other people want you to do.
Start with that and you can always add new wellness strategies as your journey unfolds.
They key is to access the Daily Wellness Checklist each day and check off the items you accomplished as a means to monitor your progress and keep yourself accountable to the things you promised yourself you would do.
That’s how it gets done.
It’s actually a fun and liberating exercise.
Good luck with your wellness goals.
Dr. James Meschino
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.