I was recently in a car with a sweet man named Slava, who was driving me to a hotel during a work trip. Slava was in his 70’s and we started chatting almost instantly about health and fitness and food--food is usually a tie that binds us all, right? He showed me pictures of himself from his youth, when he was in his 20’s and was quite an athlete. He spoke of the healthy foods he enjoyed and how he still works out every day. He said his bag was in the trunk and he had already been to the gym that day. Then he said something that I won’t forget. He said, “Listen, young lady! I work out so that I can die healthy!” I sat there for a half of a second and realized the brilliance of his statement. I told him that he was a very smart man and that I was going to write about him on my blog. He liked that….and spelled his name out loud so that I would get it correct :-)
I loved Slava’s statement for several reasons. I appreciated his honesty and his straightforwardness, and I found such wisdom in his words. Slava had found his “why.” Finding our “why” is one of the most important first steps when we are setting out on a new health and wellness journey....or any journey, for that matter. We have to dig deep and ask ourselves why we are going to attempt to change our lifestyle and habits, because doing so is not easy. We form habits, and then we stay with those habits because they become safe and familiar. Climbing out of a well is much harder than falling into one. Unless we identify what is driving us to a place of desired change, we will quickly get distracted when the journey becomes difficult—and it will become difficult. Slava realized that he didn’t want to follow the path that many people do as they age. He didn’t want disease, demise, and death. He wanted health, vitality, and life….and then, as he said, “When it’s time, I don’t want to die sick; I just want to die!”
When a client comes to me for help in reaching her goal, I ask her why she has chosen to reach out at this particular time. What has brought her to the point where she wants to hire a professional? I usually do a lot of listening, and a bit of question-asking in an effort to uncover what is at the heart of her desire to change. Everyone has different goals and different reasons for wanting to attain them….and really, no one is right or wrong; our reasons are personal and meaningful to each of us. That being said, I particularly loved Slava’s “why” because there was such joy in it. He spoke of his adult children, of his wife, and of his grandchildren. He loves spending time with family, he loves being active. He loves enjoying good food and great music, laughing with friends, and going on adventures. All of this in his late seventies…..and he takes care of his one body so that he can do all of these things in good health! That’s a pretty amazing “why,” if you ask me. I, too, want the blessing of good health. Personally, I'm starting life anew as a 44 year old and I like it! I do feel better than I did in my 20's and my prayer is that my body grows younger as the years go by. My "why" is also wrapped up in my 7 year old son…I want to see him grow up and have a family of his own one day. I want to hold his children; my grandchildren….and I want many, many, many more years of hearing his laughter and seeing his smile.
So….what’s your why?