As we kick off a new year and a new decade, many of our patients have set goals for better health outcomes–things like a lower body weight, more energy, a better mood, or better sleep.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the road to changing outcomes always requires changing habits. After all, the behaviour that got you to your current health won’t get you to a different place.
In the case of our health, we often know what the new habits are. They’re things like:
- Eating better
- Turning the TV off at night
- Getting more exercise
- Spending less time on social media
- Quitting smoking
- Drinking more water
But although we know what the habits are, changing them can be a difficult thing to do. In some cases, it can feel impossible.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, suggests that at the deepest level, change is about your identity; that is, until you see yourself as the kind of person who thinks and behaves differently, you’ll struggle to make sustainable change.
- Decide the type of person you want to be.
- Prove it to yourself with small wins.
“What would the healthy you do?” is the entry point to this process. It’s a touchstone–a way to discover, and then remind yourself, what a healthier you looks like. It’s an identity question. For example:
- When you’re choosing what to have for lunch you can ask the question, What would the healthy me do?
- When you’re wondering if you should work late instead of taking that walk, ask yourself, What would the healthy me do?
- When you sit down in front of the TV at night with a snack, ask yourself, What would the healthy me do?
The question works best in moments when we have a choice to make–I was going to go to the gym, but maybe I’ll…
Those moments, as it turns out, happen many times in a day, and they offer you a chance to envision your best self, the one you’re striving to be, and ask yourself, “What would that person do?”
PS: Have you seen our latest chalkboard? You can add your own word for the upcoming year, too–just drop by the clinic!