Have you ever wondered why you aren’t able to stick with a particular fitness routine or a workout plan or even a writing habit for longer than a week? Did you put it down to lack of willpower or perhaps the feeling that you just weren’t cut out for this?

Even though I have been studying habit building for well over 5 years, it was only in the middle of 2022 that the penny dropped when it came to understanding why we stick with some habits and changes while we just can’t do it for others.

To understand what I mean, I want to paint a scenario for you – something that most of you would be familiar with, especially if you’re over the age of 25. In October of 2015, I went in for my annual round of blood tests. Soon after the results came out, I visited the doctor with the reports. He looked it over, glanced at me and said, ‘It appears that you are borderline pre-diabetic. You also have a history of gestational diabetes. It’s about time you started taking care of your health. You are also carrying quite a bit of extra weight around your mid-section. These are all biomarkers for cardiovascular stress. Cut out processed foods, added sugars and start working out regularly. Even just walking will do.’

The entire consultation took less than 10 minutes. I was then dismissed. Naturally, when the sceptre of illness is waved in front of your eyes, you are scared enough to do something about it. And I did. I started walking daily, cut out deep fried and processed foods and even stopped added sugar in my tea. Hey, the doctor said it! I had to do it.

Guess how long I stuck with all of it – maybe about two weeks.

After that, it was a slide back into laziness, a fundamental lack of motivation to stick with exercise and giving in to cravings for sugary treats and deep-fried goodness. Anyway, my next check up wasn’t for another year. So I figured I’d have enough time to fix things a couple of months before that.

I don’t have to tell you how this turned out. Things were not good by the end of that period. My results weren’t great the next time around and the doctor (a different one) repeated more or less the same suggestions I’d heard a year earlier. But, by this time, I had reached a point of resignation and started rationalizing it with statements like:

“Some people are just overweight and that’s probably me too.”
“My paternal aunt was diabetic; so I guess it runs in the genes. I’ll probably get it too. Will just figure it out and manage it over time.”
“All that walking hasn’t helped me one bit. I didn’t lose weight, did I?”

This was 2016 and I was sure nothing would change.

But since September of 2022, not only have I managed to stick to a regular exercise routine, but I have changed my nutrition, regulated my sleep cycles and managed my stress pretty effectively and consistently.

So, what changed? I did.

You see, the only thing that actually worked for me and continues to work is an internal and intrinsic desire to be healthy. Before September of 2022, every time I saw someone working out or eating healthy or taking care of themselves, all it did was inspire me to move a little and eat better for a few days, but it never lasted.

But once I took ownership of my health and desired the change deep from within, that was all I needed to make the change stick for a longer time. This deep-seated curiosity and drive to learn more about my health led me down a path that involved nutrition science and fitness science. With time on my side, I dove joyfully into learning everything I could about metabolism, health, longevity and movement. The best part? The journey has just begun.

It doesn’t matter how many motivational speeches you listen to, how many doctors you visit and how many fitness videos you watch. The change will not happen unless you have a powerful reason to make it happen.

For everyone who is yet to get into a consistent eating/movement/sleep routine, this is important. My transformation was slow and steady and had to come from a space where I was ready to take charge of my health.

In other words, I found my Main Why.

That ‘why’ is extremely important

For me, personally, I’d like to:

* Age comfortably without health issues
* Be as independent as possible
*Get stronger and build muscle/healthy bones
* Play my favourite game/s well into my 70s and 80s
* Keep my health markers within range – Family history of diabetes and cancer, so those are definitely things I’d like to avoid
*Limit medications as much as possible

You know that old saying? ‘God Helps Those Who Help Themselves’?
Well, as it turns out, the change has to start with you. That’s the truth.

Find your why and you will find your way.