When Health Isn’t What You Want

As my past writings readily reveal, the majority of my background is in the realm of health and fitness. When I saw clients privately, I took great pride in the many examples among them that achieved remarkable levels of observable health, performance, and general fitness. But I must admit that didn’t describe everyone I coached. Truth be told, not even a majority. As with every coach in that field, most clients have a very different outcome. We all just hope we have a few successful ones we can trot out as examples of what’s possible when someone trains with us.

What’s common among the modest percentage of clients that are successful is that they are people who show up already primed for success. ‘Primed for success’ means that they have a positive outlook on life, a lack of entrenched beliefs about the process, and a reasonably clear vision of what’s possible to achieve. If that sounds familiar, it’s because those are the same attributes responsible for success in any endeavor. And while we’re being honest, clients that are primed for success makes a coach’s job pretty damn easy.

I wasn’t willing to chalk up the underachievers among my clientèle as people who “lacked motivation” or who were otherwise “uncoachable”.

As a coach, if you’re happy with only seeing results in the minority that is already primed for it, you can still do very well in that business. I was not. I wasn’t willing to chalk up the underachievers among my clientèle as people who “lacked motivation” or who were otherwise “uncoachable”. Those are the popular explanations in coaching circles, but accepting a majority as a failure rate was never good enough for me.

It became pretty clear that reaching those people in a way that would produce a breakthrough for them in their quality of life would require something that wasn’t typically understood as a health and/or fitness protocol. I wanted to discover what was keeping this majority from realizing their potential for health, not to mention a high quality of life. I knew it was available to everyone, and I needed to know what was behind the self-imposed obstacles because what was observable wasn’t providing any answers that I could use to help those people.

It’s common to look to circumstances as the source of unhappiness or discomfort of any kind (something to blame), when in reality we all quietly create our own experience of life by our thoughts.

What I ultimately discovered just by looking outside of health protocols was that those who failed to achieve their stated goal were actually there for another reason entirely: they didn’t come seeking a more vital body (or even a better looking one), they came seeking a better experience of their life. Health was just an area of their life that had slipped a little and the belief was that fixing health would fix the root psychological issue. It’s common to look to circumstances as the source of unhappiness or discomfort of any kind (something to blame), when in reality we all quietly create our own experience of life by our thoughts.

As I wrote in a recent post titled “Being Uncoachable“, the unsuccessful clients would either stop showing up early in their process, or they would remain in the program but sabotage their results in any number of other ways; ways that made it clear the sabotaging tactics were not about health at all, but about something completely different.

As it turns out, health and (especially) fitness are relatively limited realms in that, for most people, they address only that which appears as the most obvious symptoms of unhappiness, not the cause. In other words, I discovered that no matter how hard someone presses toward the goal of health and/or fitness (however you define them), there are qualities to a person’s life that won’t be addressed by those efforts and knowledge. And, perhaps most interestingly, I have observed that people who focus on the bigger picture called Quality Of Life achieve measurable health results in the process. Even if you knew that, and admitted that you were less then enthralled with your life currently but chose to adopt health protocols only anyway, your chances for producing significant gains in measurable health would be drastically diminished. You would be unmotivated and unfocused on the goal.

Satisfaction with your life is the result of your understanding of how life works. That’s right, it’s all in your head.

People who are happy going in are the ones most likely to succeed. Regardless of how obvious that sounds, that’s not what happens in practice.

This crosses over into the issue of motivation. We are all motivated by results; but only the results that we actually came in for… consciously or unconsciously. If ultimate satisfaction with your life is the goal, you will only be satisfied and motivated by actual satisfaction with your life, not some surrogate goal like health or fitness. Ultimate satisfaction with your life is not the result of circumstances (of which your present state of health is one). Satisfaction with your life is the result of your understanding of how life works. That’s right, it’s all in your head. More accurately, in the way you use your head. It is completely fixable by anyone at any time, but not by way of physical health. That’s a surrogate goal.

You see this phenomenon in matters of weight loss constantly. It is found in the stories of people who have drastically modified their lifestyle for the purposes of weight loss, and produced some dramatic results. Those results often disappear as soon as the the praise and admiration for the feat begin to fade. It’s pretty clear that weight loss was not really the goal in the first place (it rarely is). The goal in the first place was likely something variation on the ‘need for recognition’, or a ‘lack of purpose’. I’m just guessing at those and it could have been any number of things, but what it wasn’t was weight loss or health. They were obviously fine with their body composition in their current mind-state or else they would have never gotten that way to begin with. The weight loss and other health factors will conform to the mind-state, and it’s there you should look for any authentic change. Such is the case with all matters of health.

Any awareness of ill-health should simply be a clue as to the person’s current satisfaction with their life. Correcting that will immediately and effortlessly put them on their way to a healthier lifestyle. It’s not as simplistic as targeting visual symptoms, but it’s just the way life works.

Bottom line: seek present fulfillment in your life before you seek a healthy body. It’s available to you right now where you stand. If you need a little nudge in the right direction, it’s available to you from any number of sources online.

No matter how valuable health is, it won’t create happiness and it won’t correct your misunderstandings about life. Even if your efforts lead you to some observable results, the praise and adoration you receive from others for that accomplishment will feel very gratifying at first, and you’ll think you’ve found the secret to a better life—but it is temporary and vacant. It can’t and won’t be sustained.

So how does QOL differ from health as a goal? If you approach health as an unhappy person, perhaps hoping that health will resolve the discontent, the nature, and probably the degree, of the overall satisfaction you derive from that work will be limited. When QOL is the goal, happiness and health are addressed simultaneously as part and parcel to the bigger goal, and will mutually support each other, enhancing the progress of each and leveraging the work of one for the advancement of both. And the degree of fulfillment of both is exponential. What a deal! If neither of those things were true, I’d be happy to continue teaching what I know about health and be satisfied with strictly physical results even if, in the end, I’ve left the majority of my clients unfulfilled and empty-handed in what they were really searching for.

Bottom line: seek present fulfillment in your life before you seek a healthy body. It’s available to you right now where you stand. If you need a little nudge in the right direction, it’s available to you from any number of sources online. One little tip I can provide: if you’re not happy with your life, the reason is always the presence of fear and regret. It is futile to look anywhere else for the solution. This is never about a circumstance or event that isn’t a part of your current experience. But without that, your efforts at being healthy will produce far less than they are capable of, and you probably won’t find what you’re looking for no matter what the results. Being happy in your head—not in your circumstances—is always the most important QOL work you can do.

So, when is health not what you want? When you have yet to create a healthy mind; one that thinks in terms of possibilities and discovery. And what exactly are the protocols for Quality Of Life? A little bit of that is revealed in every post on this site. Happy reading.

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