I tell people to change their diet and exercise, to take certain supplements and meds, and I know you won’t be shocked to hear this: they don’t always listen.
Most people have the best intentions, but aren’t always the best at connecting with WHY they want to change, or understanding what’s standing in their way. Often people don’t change because they have NEP Syndrome. That means “Not Enough Pain.” Other times it is because they aren’t clear about what they really want or why.
It’s critical to have a vision in order to do the right thing for yourself. The more specific and inspiring your vision, or dream is, the more you will want to commit to it and stick with your commitment. In order to be effective, your vision needs to be clear, doable, and in bite-size pieces that matter to you.
Here is an example of my “health dream.”
I make choices about what matters to me. I feel great – awake and alert and vibrant so I can do the work I am meant to do in the world and be fully present for the people in my life and have fun! I get stronger as I get older. I can do what I want, whether it’s climb a mountain, play basketball with my son, or just feel full of energy. My trainer makes my life so easy – teaching me what to do with my own body weight. I do my training routine 3 times a week for 30 minutes and it’s so effective. I keep track of my goals, practices and routines in my iPhone, which is always with me no matter where I go. I love focusing on my health and well-being; it gives me so much in return.
Notice the following elements in what I wrote for my own dream:
1. I’m focused on what I want, not what I don’t want. The mind affects the body. What we focus on matters and my energy and optimism increase when I focus on what I want. This in turn gets me closer to it.
2. It’s written it in the present tense. This makes me feel like it’s real.
3. It’s not cliché, its specific to me so when I read it I feel moved. That’s what’s necessary to have it connect me with my heart and make me want to fight for it even when I’m tempted to be.
4. It’s broad enough to feel like an invitation and specific enough to anchor me to reality. The specifics make it so I can see if I am on track or not.
5. I make it bite sized, not overwhelming, but something that fits into my life. It’s a stretch, but do-able, so I believe in it.
You might notice that this dream covers my health specifically but it actually connects to a lot of other areas, as well, because all our areas of life are connected! I actually create dreams for all the different areas of my life and update them regularly because my dreams keep me inspired and focused. My dream for my home includes how I organize and design my kitchen and stock it with foods that make me thrive. My dream for “time” includes how I plan my schedule to allow for “space to be” so I can be a human being, not just a human doing. Without a dream, I’d have nothing to align my thinking, planning and actions. My ultimate goal: live well now, savor the moment, live a long life achieving my dreams, and most importantly – have my choices and actions align with my DREAMS!
Most of us dreamed well as kids but gave it up along the way. I want to invite you back to dreaming like a kid, letting yourself imagine what you really want, despite all the voices in your head, which might be saying it’s too hard to get there. Maybe it’s not as hard as you think. The key is to take the first step of articulating exactly what you truly want to have happen for you.
Mark Hyman, MD is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, The 10-Day Detox Cookbook, The Blood Sugar Solution, The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook, UltraMetabolism, The UltraMind Solution, and The Ultrasimple Diet, and coauthor of The Daniel Plan.