“Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels”. At one point or another, you may have heard someone say something like this. The message behind this is that the fleeting pleasures of an unhealthy lifestyle are not as enjoyable as the rewards of being healthy. I would argue that regardless of how you feel about health, both sides of the equation require a sacrifice to be made. It’s nearly impossible to live an entirely unhealthy lifestyle and be completely healthy. Another interesting way to look at this is that the behaviors of an unhealthy lifestyle are easy, for instance, eating junk food and binge watching movies. However, living as an unhealthy person can be hard, for instance, getting winded easily, feeling aches and pains, taking medications and spending money on hospital bills. On the other hand, the behaviors of a healthy person can be challenging, for instance, eating mostly plant-based foods, exercising most days of the week, managing stress and being mindful. And yet, living life as a healthy person is easy as a healthy person can reap the many benefits and rewards of a healthy lifestyle. To a healthy person, seeing the sights in the grand canyon feels almost effortless, playing with grandkids on the floor requires no second thoughts, and sleeping without a C-PAP machine is an every night occurrence. Once these benefits are experienced first-hand, the decision to continue healthy behaviors becomes easier to make. There are many reasons to choose to become healthier. However, once you start your journey, you may start to notice unanticipated rewards from your lifestyle choices.
Unanticipated Reward 1:
Several weeks ago I was speaking to a guest, Frank Campanella, about his continued progress of living healthy at home. You may recall me talking about Frank in a previous blog I wrote called, “New Measures for Success”. Frank, once again is a source of inspiration for this blog as he was telling me about some of his “unanticipated rewards” of being healthy. Most recently, Frank was sharing with me that he stumbled across a pair of shoes that he had acquired a year ago but was never able to wear because they didn’t fit. Here he is now, several months into his journey and these shoes now fit him. Frank described this to me as an unanticipated reward because this was something he had not planned on, yet, felt incredibly motivated by. Fitting into a new pair of shoes is something that’s not typically the focus of a healthy lifestyle journey, yet it was a positive reinforcement for Frank.
Unanticipated Reward 2:
Another recent unanticipated reward for Frank was that he found himself getting sleepy at an earlier time. There was a time, not too long ago, when Frank would be up until hours past midnight – waking up the next day tired and lethargic. As a result of his increased physical activity using the Nu-Step machine he purchased, and his healthier choice of nutrition, he has a hard time staying up late. Frank finds himself falling asleep closer to 10:00pm. Sometimes earlier. The unanticipated reward here is that, due to falling asleep sooner, he wakes up earlier and with greater energy. A stronger zest for life in the morning and increased productivity. This was, again, not something that was an initial motivator for Frank, and yet, has become a powerful source of motivation.
Putting it all Together:
Frank is a great example of how the long-term results of living a healthy lifestyle are much more gratifying than an unhealthy indulgent behavior may feel in that moment. And as our Director of Education, Bob Wright, would say, “Write it down”. Journal that moment as it is important to remember where you came from if times get tough along the way. Let that unanticipated reward continue to fuel you through your entire healthy lifestyle journey.