This is a response I wrote to a comment from a post in June on the Effects of Lifestyle. As comments from older posts are not as accessible, I thought I’d re-post it here. It was essentially a question on how to motivate oneself to make change in one’s life:

Your question is significant and, of course, hard to answer. I can only discuss what motivates me and how I approach this subject, understanding that there are many roads to travel.

My first step is to come to the conclusion that I am not as healthy as I’d like to be. If you believe that you are healthy and feel great and can’t benefit from changing your habits, then it is hard to make the change.

Secondly, you need to be confident that what you have learned about healthy living and eating, etc. can make the improvements you are seeking.

You see, it’s not about sacrifices. We are not looking to deprive ourselves. We are looking to nourish ourselves. The difference is huge. One needs a shift in perspective. People think, oh, the ice cream tastes good, it makes me feel good, etc. and not having it feels like deprivation. A different perspective would suggest, what is the long-term (or even short-term, not immediate) effect of what I am doing? Knowledge would tell us that the ice cream which is filled with refined sugar, chemicals, empty calories, etc. is restricting our circulation in the stomach and intestines, draining out our adrenals, creating a mucus lining in out gut that prevents assimilation of vitamins and nutrients necessary for our well-being, etc. When I think of it that way, I don’t feel deprived. I feel empowered.

Understanding the tremendous difference between pleasure and happiness is crucial. Yeah, ice cream tastes good to many, but it also leads to suffering/illness/imbalance in the future. Is it worth it?

These are the kinds of questions to ask oneself to help motivate change. But, yes, you are right. Change isn’t easy. It’s really difficult. And the best way to do it is to make small changes daily and commit to the process for one’s own sake.

I hope this helps. Maybe it’s too vague? Let me know. I’d love to continue the discussion.