By Carol Phillips
Analyze yourself! The better you know yourself, the better you can take care of yourself. One of the first things I advise my health coaching clients to do is begin spending time analyzing every aspect of their lives. You can easily do this type of self-analysis, too. Truly learning about yourself includes analyzing the following:
- Your likes and dislikes
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- What motivates you and what turns you off
- Who supports you when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices versus who sabotages your efforts
- What strategies have worked for you versus what you view as roadblocks
- Anything else that helps you determine what motivates you and what doesn’t
After spending several days or weeks completing this exercise, various behaviors that either help or sabotage your efforts toward health will be revealed, creating a great starting point for change. Also, make a list of your strengths and motivators you can draw on when facing new challenges.
Over time, the more you recognize what works for you and what doesn’t, the better you can advocate for yourself and slowly make better decisions in all areas of health. Making healthy decisions is not just a matter of willpower; many factors are involved. The better you know yourself, the easier it is to make healthy choices.
The ancient Greek saying “Know thyself” has been analyzed extensively regarding its original, intended meaning. I like to think it ties in perfectly with the importance of knowing yourself well enough to aid you in making habitual healthy decisions.
Do what works for YOU, which can be completely different from what works for others. For example, some people like to count calories, and counting calories helps motivate them to avoid overeating. However, you may find counting calories daily to be too tedious. Some people enjoy exercising alone, but you may prefer to exercise with other people and socialize at the same time. On the other hand, possibly you enjoy both, depending on your mood. Thinking “outside the box” and not feeling pressured to do what works for other people (while ignoring what is best for you) can help you make great forward strides.
After assigning this task to one of my new clients last year, the feedback she gave me was remarkable. She shared with me that this was the first time she had ever stopped to consider what she enjoyed doing and her own strengths and weaknesses. She said, “Up until the time you asked me to begin analyzing myself, I was so focused on the wants and needs of other people in my life, I hadn’t realized I was constantly putting myself last. I didn’t even know myself nearly as much as I knew the other people in my life and what they needed. The assignment was life changing for me and helped me see why I haven’t been prioritizing my health.”
Identify your roadblocks to health. If you find yourself running into the same walls over and over again, stop and analyze why you keep repeating those actions. Take a step back and figure out what is keeping you from making even the simplest choices that lead to good health. Find ways to get around those walls or break them down altogether.
Spend time finding the true root cause of why you’re not taking care of yourself in most (if not all) areas of your health. You will then create a new path that will make a huge difference in your life.
Carol Phillips is a national health and wellness expert, the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health, and the radio host of Ask Coach Carol. She helps companies significantly reduce costs and increase productivity through a new approach to wellness. Based in Manchester, N.H., she can be reached through her website at www.HealthDesignNH.com.