Why haven’t you started this earlier? What do you want? How long have you wanted to make the changes?

I had one of those conversations that shed some light and brutal truths about why some people don’t initially succeed with care or health regime be it diet or working out but extends to pain management, wellness and actively achieving all our goals.

A good friend and colleague highlighted some important considerations when striving to change or achieve changes in health, fitness and wellness. A lady and her son consulted my colleague looking to lose weight and improve their overall fitness. The lady mentioned she has wanted to make the changes to her health for over 6 years now. She was asked what was the situation or the reasons that held her back from making the changes 6 years ago, or even in that time leading up to now. Time poor, children and relationship and financial difficulties, all of which are very common obstacles for people to begin and even continue working towards health, fitness and wellness goals.

The next consideration was something that is obvious but I had not fully considered, yet detrimental to the outcome and likely success of each individuals efforts towards achieving their personal goals. Having considered the obstacles to making the changes at and during this time over the last 6 years, have those obstacles changed?

If those same obstacles have not changed then should we expect success if there remains no time for commitment and the stresses of child rearing, relationships and finances continue to persist. If the same obstacles that prevented an earlier initiation and concerted effort towards health, fitness and wellness goals still exist then we are are setting up a situation that doesn’t have all the right conditions for success, we could go as far as to suggest that it is setup to fail.

When consulting in health, fitness and wellness cases, this is a common scenario. To setup for success when talking about long term achievement of health, fitness and wellness goals, changes in and around our lives need to be made. Need is a strong word and most often met with resistance in Australian culture, but I’m using it here because it is so significant in terms of making long term lifestyle changes.

If the situation that holds an individual back from achieving their goals doesn’t change how can we expect change to occur. This holds true also when the situation remains consistent and there is minor effort put in with the expectation to have major change.

It is harsh but people inherently know the reasons behind why their health, fitness and wellness is not where they wished it to be, yet when consulting most hope for an easy fix yet realise they have been sabotaging their efforts for an exhaustive period of time.

Those cases I do see succeed are those who get the bigger picture and work real hard towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Athletes bounce back from injuries because they already have a healthy situation surrounding their lifestyle and they have time built into their life-style for self-preservation.

Other situations usually surround an event, life-changing, take heart-attack for example. Some get to within an inch of losing everything before they make that significant change. Its at this stage a realisation is made that significant change is required to preserve life. I read a quote recently “make time for your health because you may be forced to make time for illness”.

In order to achieve success and make health, fitness and wellness changes, an effort needs to be made, be it creating time for fitness, getting adjusted more regularly (wondering why it doesn’t happen in 10 mins), changing how you feed the body and reduce that which poisons it. If you want significant change you need to make a significant effort towards those goals which will correlate with a significant change in your situation.

Dr. Adam Epskamp