Why do you want to be healthy? It seems like one of those no-brainer questions, doesn't it? Who doesn't want to be healthy, and isn't it obvious why?
"I don't want to get cancer or heart disease or diabetes," you say. "I don't want the suffering that comes with those diseases." OK, but let's go a little deeper. Apart from the suffering (which admittedly can be huge), what in your life matters to you so much that you want to stick around and be as well as you can for it?
With the time for New Year's resolutions around the corner, I invite you to explore this question for yourself by peeling back some of its layers. Start with your most superficial answer, and keep asking yourself "why?" until you feel you've gotten to some responses that come from what's deepest in you.
To help you get started, I have listed some possible answers to the question below. They start at our outermost layers and move progressively inward. (I have grouped them into categories, but there is some overlap.) There are no right or wrong answers here, and not all of what's below will resonate with you. The answers listed are meant to stimulate your thinking, to help you ponder the question and to help you discover your own personal why's. Let your mind wander as you read through these and take note of what stirs in you. If you like to journal, use one of these as a prompt and write about it. I have included "why?" after each reason to help you go deeper.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALTHY? (Physical)
I’d like to minimize my risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. (Why?)
I want to feel good in my own body. (Why?)
I’d like to lose weight and look better. (Why?)
I'd like to continue to be active as I grow older. (Why?)
I'd like to get off some of my medications and avoid adding more in the future. (Why?)
I’d like to be well enough to travel. (Why?)
I have unfinished work to do. (What is it and why does it matter to you?)
I’d like to avoid a retirement home and live on my own as long as I can. (Why?)
WHY DO YOU WANT TO STAY ON THE JOURNEY TOWARD BETTER HEALTH? (Mental/Emotional)
I'm not done discovering who I am and what makes me tick. (Why does this matter?)
I have an unhealthy relationship with food or drink, and I'd like to break free of that. (Why?)
I'm not done growing yet or becoming the woman/man I want to be. (Why does this matter?)
I still have so much I want to learn! (About what and why?)
WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALTHY? (Relational)
I have people in my life who really matter to me that I'd like to continue to be there for. (Who are they and why?)
I’d like to be able to get down on the floor to play with my grandkids and be part of their lives as they grow up. (Why?)
I’d like to be available to provide care for my family members and friends who need it. (Why?)
I’d like to enjoy my retirement years and spend them doing my favorite things with my family and friends. (What do you want to do and why?)
WHY DO YOU WANT TO STAY ON THE JOURNEY TOWARD BETTER HEALTH? (Spiritual)
I view my body as a gift, and I'd like to take care of it as an expression of gratitude.
I am still growing spiritually. I am not yet formed into the woman/man I want to be. Better self-care is part of my growth and an expression of my spiritual values.
I want my body and mind to be available to God all the days of my life. (Why?)
So why does your WHY matter? Because getting healthier at midlife--staying on that journey, day after day, month after month--is hard. Plain and simple. And I think the clearer we are on why it matters to us and the more our hearts and minds are invested in and engaged with the process, the better our chances are of being successful.
So keep thinking about your WHY for continuing on your journey toward better health. Peel back its layers. Let it evolve over time. When you get to some things that really stir your heart, write them down. Carry them with you in your purse or wallet. And let your personal and powerful WHY be like yeast that leavens the dough of your life and helps transform you into that healthier person you long to be.
I'd love to have you join me on the journey toward greater health by subscribing to my newsletter below!