Because when speaking specifically about our health, we have to get specific about what health means to each of us individually before we know what direction to go. Dreaming is how we figure out our own “health” definition.
After nearly 8 years in the fitness industry, there’s one roadblock to health success I see most people sharing: they are too attached and controlled by who they have been that they stop dreaming about who they could be and what life they could live.
Dreaming about possibilities, hoping for something different, and then learning to have faith enough in ourselves is how change occurs. It’s easier said than done, so hang with me while we dive into why it’s important and how to start.
Here’s why dreaming is important and why we all need a crash-course in it these days:
Ask yourself when was the last time you:
- Felt proud of the decisions you were making for your health?
- Have been able to go about your days without feeling like you’re “not doing enough” for your health?
- Gave your all in your workouts because you knew without a shadow of a doubt that your body was strong, capable, and worthy of investing your time and energy in and what you were doing in those workouts was going to get you where you wanted to go?
- Enjoyed the food you put into your body knowing in some way it was helping add value to your life and health?
- Were able to stick to your healthy habits without changing directions to follow the next diet, try the next 6 week challenge, or fear the scale every day out of fear what you were doing wasn’t the right path for you?
If you didn’t answer each of these questions while becoming more and more empowered, excited, and motivated to find health at a heart and holistic level… you probably have had some things stop you from dreaming about living a full, healthy, flourishing life with the health status and habits to thrive in it.
Since dreaming ushers in hope, if you’re not dreaming and planning for the future, the motivation to pursue your health goals with purpose, discipline, and diligence also won’t exist along the way.
Where there is no hope that things can actually change, motivation will not exist.
Maybe you’ve been trying to achieve a certain goal for a long time and you have never seen success… So now you find yourself with that itch to make a change but you’re afraid to try, because what’s the point if it’s never worked before?
Or maybe it’s that you went through some really hard seasons that brought out some habits you aren’t proud of and now you don’t trust yourself to make true changes in your life.
Maybe you were an athlete or were successful at your health goals in the past but then life happened. Now you’re stuck in a pattern of comparison – feeling like you’ll never be able to live up to who you used to be.
Or maybe you have a habit of comparing yourself to that super disciplined person in your friend circle who seems to always have it together. And, since you think you have never been able to be that disciplined, you can’t possibly succeed. Your past and a lack of confidence is sabotaging your future goals before you ever start.
Can I just speak some truth into your life for a second?
The “better” you are looking for is possible. I promise.
“But how?” you ask.
I got you, friend.
Step 1: Mentally go back to being 9 years old. What did you love to do? Do you do those things anymore? If not, why? What stopped you?
If the answer is “no,” go do those things. Life has a way of training the whimsy away. We are told the things we enjoy just because we enjoy them aren’t a good way to spend our time. But I’m here to tell you: doing things you love that add value to your life and that make you feel alive is the spark that starts the dreaming and hoping process. Without joy, dreams fade away. Make a point to do something you enjoy every single day.
*Bonus wisdom nugget: Sometimes the things that made us stop doing the things we loved at a young age are the things that hold us back from success in areas like health later in life. Getting to the bottom of what caused the hold-up at 9 years old, when examined a little closer, may hold the reason you’re struggling with things like motivation, consistency, or hope/faith in the process now. Dig deep. Get honest. Consult a counselor if needed or get with a friend who can help you think through it all.
Step 2: Picture where you want to be 10 years from now. What physical condition are you in? What would you want your family members or those closest to you to say about you? How would a day in your life look like? What habits would you have?
If you have a hard time picturing where you want to be in 10 years, this is where I would spend a lot of time. I want you to be able to lay out and imagine an entire hour-by-hour schedule of what a day in your dream life would look like. This allows us to get a deep understanding of where we want to go. That is so much broader and more holistic than a number on the scale or a race time we want to achieve. Put the person you aspire to be on paper. This is where our dreams and our health strategy start taking place.
Step 3: Identify the things that limit your progress and capitalize on the things that you’re already strong in.
But let me break that down a little further…
Step 3A: Spend a few minutes and write out all of the factors you feel limit your health success. Literally, anything you feel is in your way – write it down. Now hold that thought and set these aside as you do the next step.
Things that may come to mind: limited time, money, resources, support, past experiences/ trauma, anxiety around food, lack of motivation, lack of discipline, general dislike of vegetables/ weight training/water/etc., lack of a support and accountability system.
Step 3B: Identify your strengths in other areas of life. (This one is always more difficult than 3A, but it’s the secret sauce of health success, I promise. Give it all you got.)
Things that come to mind: maybe you’re logical, optimistic, disciplined, a fast learner, a good communicator, have a great support system, empathetic, imaginative, creative, honest.
Step 3C: Now… take those strengths and brainstorm ways to use them differently.
Example: Let’s say you’re creative. A way you can take this strength and use it differently than you normally do in a way that can support your dream of having movement and exercise be a part of your every day life is by finding creative ways to move.
For instance, maybe you miss a workout one day because you struggle to be consistent around the holidays as a result of family coming to town and they keep you busy (maybe this is one of the “limitations” you listed). But you decide you can get your heart rate up by vacuuming the stairs and cleaning that closet you stuff things into last minute before company gets there (don’t worry… we all do it). That’s unconventional movement that counts and a creative solution to be proud of.
Here’s how you start dreaming and taking action towards your health success again:
Do things you enjoy that fill your soul up. Laugh, try new things, go on an adventure, read a book, or whatever else it is you love.
Get those creative juices flowing and allow yourself to find joy in life again. Then, picture where it is you want to go.
Dream big, dig deep and dare to dream all the possibilities you barely dared picture before.
Acknowledge the things in your way but don’t dwell there.
Find a few things you like about yourself that you’re good at. If you struggle with this, ask your best friend what your best qualities are. Then take these traits and brainstorm different ways you can use these qualities to start taking small, 5 minute action-steps towards those dreams.
Plan those actions, protect them, and don’t let life get in the way!
Now, before we close out, I want to emphasize something:
Health success can mean so many different things to each individual person. This can make pursuing health and even finding the right health professionals extremely confusing and often exhausting.
My encouragement to you today though is to not stop dreaming and redefining health with every new day that comes.
If dreaming and hoping for something deeper and different is difficult, start with these steps: revive that kid in you and the things that brought joy, excitement, and hope into life. Use that joy and hope to start dreaming for the future again. Identify the things limiting your ability to get there all while giving your power and energy to the strengths you already have to achieve them.
You see, you already have what you need to reach those wonderful, incredible goals. The question is just what exactly is the dream you’re reaching for long term? All the other things are just details.
If things are still intimidating at this point or you want some extra guidance, this is where Holistic Health Coaches like myself love to come in and help you make your dreams a reality. Sometimes finding the right Health professional and grabbing a few friends to walk the journey with you are the only things in someone’s way of seeing their dreams come true. If you wonder if that’s you, I highly encourage you to look into coaching or a support system of some sort.
After all, watching dreams coming to life is way more fun when there’s a whole group of people you can party with when you get where you want to go!