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By Bruce Burke

Last Updated: 5/5/24

Knowing what you want to accomplish (Healthy and Happy) and how you intend to do it (Blueprint for Success) are important first steps when addressing habit change, but how does the rubber hit the road? Maybe you have experience with creating fitness/nutrition goals for yourself. If you’re like most of us, you may also have experience coming up short in achieving those goals. Why is that? Why is it that we allow life to get in the way? Why do we allow other “priorities” to derail us?

Oftentimes, the answer lies in our perspective…what we consider “normal.” For many of us, normal means working ourselves excessively and chronically overcommitting. In the end, we often feel trapped and unhappy, but continue the same behaviors because this is the only perspective or paradigm we know. What if there was a “new normal” or a new way of thinking that could keep us on our road to success? Let’s consider a few important concepts that will help you create a “new normal.”

We must care for ourselves before we can care for others.

We’ve all heard the saying “put your oxygen mask on first.” How true it is! Yet many of us don’t make personal health a priority in our lives…everything and everybody else comes first. Caring for ourselves first is about maintaining balance, setting a good example, and thriving. Prioritizing our health now, before morbidity or serious health challenges force us to do so, is far from selfish. Ironically, if we put everyone else first and neglect our own health, we may ultimately end up burdening them with the responsibility of caring for us.

We always have choices.

We make hundreds of choices every day. Some good, some not so good. Making less than ideal choices comes with the territory of being human. However, if we are to avoid making the same choice in the future, we best acknowledge that, in fact, we made a choice. People often create roadblocks (i.e. time, special events, environment) and place blame for their inability to improve their health. The truth is that a significant health scare would make all of those roadblocks disappear. What seemed nearly impossible before would not only become possible, but become a priority. And what really changed? Nothing more than our perspective about what truly matters.

Create a new paradigm.

Long-term success with living a healthy and happy life means creating a new, more effective “normal.” To do this, we must develop a principle-centered paradigm. Just like principles such as integrity cannot be conditional or circumstantial, neither should our commitment to putting ourselves first and acknowledging the fact that we always have choices. When we develop and practice this paradigm shift, the “in the moment” decisions we make all day long will be consistent with what is truly important to us…being healthy and happy. This accumulation of making the right “in the moment” decisions will, over time, become our new “normal” and lead to lasting success.

For this week and moving forward, use these suggestions as a tool to help you break through the roadblocks that have kept you from achieving your goals!