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FOCUS: Falling in Love with Health

DISCIPLINES: Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

Fall in love with health.
—Dr. Ada Mezzich

THOUGHTS

My friend Susan is serious about losing 40 lbs. After many failed attempts, she designed a plan that includes both motivation and support. Friends signed on to donate $1/lb to the Latino Women’s Project when she’s lost 40 lbs. She asked these same friends for permission to e-mail them her progress, with no expectation that they reply.

So far Susan’s lost 15 lbs, learned a lot about herself and feels the energy of her friends’ support. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, however. At one rough point Susan’s friend Ada suggested she fall in love with health. That idea struck a chord with me. It feels like the total opposite of Mark Twain’s famous quote, The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.

I got in touch with Dr. Mezzich and asked her what she had in mind when she recommended Susan “fall in love with health.” Here’s what she said, “for me ‘falling in love’ means the experience of excitement, enthusiasm, and joy for someone or something that motivates me to do something that I ‘normally’ wouldn’t do.”

What would it mean to fall in love with health? I think it’s one of those important shifts in thinking and feeling that change everything. Falling in love with health does not ask, “How can I get and stay healthy?” It asks instead, “How can I love health so much that the actions that support health happen almost by themselves?”

EXAMPLE

My father’s good friend Lou Brown was spry and chipper into his late 80’s. I asked him one day if he had any secrets to staying so healthy. He told me this story. When he was in his 20’s, he had a serious back injury. Doctors wanted to do surgery. He balked. They told him the only way he could thrive without it would be to do a certain set of exercises that took about 20 minutes, every day for the rest of his life. He said, “I will.” And he did. He loved feeling healthy so much that he simply did the exercises. “The choice was so clear it was easy.”

PRACTICE

I’ve been finding these thoughts helpful on a daily basis. Last night I had a yearning for something sweet. “If I’m in love with health, which will it be: a piece of chocolate or an apple?” I asked myself. I chose the apple happily. And I added several minutes to my workout this morning by focusing on how much I like feeling healthy.

COACHING QUESTIONS

  1. What would it mean in your life to fall in love with health?

  2. What keeps you from it?

  3. How would it look and feel different from other attempts you’ve made to get healthier?

  4. What questions might you ask yourself to get this love affair going?

INVITATIONS

  • Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore more deeply this alternative to NY Resolutions. Call Tuesday, April 20 at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific) 1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583. No need to register…just call at that time!

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail sharon@hopellc.com. I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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