Recently I have read Body For Life by Bill Phillips. It’s a nutrition and wellness book that was written in 1999. For this time period, this book was very advanced in terms of the concepts it discusses and strategies the author presented. It really views nutrition as a lifestyle change and something much bigger than just food, which is something I try to instill in my clients everyday.
One part of this book really resonated with me, so I wanted to share it with all of you.
In order to really make a change we must first decide to begin.There must be some sort of motivation that gets us started. This could intrinsic, or could come from an external factor - a friend, family member, spouse, or a doctor telling you that you need to make a change.
Once we have decided to make a change the next question this book asks the reader is “What are the five most important, specific accomplishments that you need to make for you to be pleased with the progress of your body and your life?”
I recommend as you read this blog to also actively answer this question for yourself.
If you could easily identify the five things you need to accomplish, this is a good sign. This means you are looking ahead into the future, and you have what Phillips calls “future vision”.
If you struggled to write down five things, but could identify two or three, you are on the right track, but there is some improvement that could be made.
If you found this very difficult and couldn’t come up with even one or two things to focus on, you are not alone, but this is something that you would want to focus on changing. We can’t just want to change, we need to establish a plan to actually make a change.
In other words, we need to be focusing on our “future vision”.
In this book Phillips identifies three types of vision. Historical, present, and future. Changing your vision will change the way you approach everything in life.
A person who is dominated by historical visions believes everything good that is going to happen already has. This is the person you hear reminiscing about high school, or “the good old days”. They talk a lot about how they used to be a great athlete, or that they used to be in shape. For these people it’s easier to remember the past then try to figure out how to change the present. For many of these people, positive change for others is difficult, as it disrupts their world and gives them a feeling that they may be left behind if others are making positive changes, and in truth, they are probably right.
A person who is dominated by present vision is on the right track, but often times needs some help and guidance on how to think bigger and look past present life.
A person who is dominated by future vision are the people you see that are consistently growing, learning and changing for the better. They use their past to mold their future. They learn new skills and aren’t afraid to modify plans based on new experiences and new values.
When you learn to focus on the future you don’t need to force yourself to create goals, your mind is already doing that naturally for you, and every time you reach a goal or hit a milestone it’s not the end of something, it’s the beginning of something new, something bigger. You learn to understand that life is ongoing and is a journey that is full of growth, development and adventure.
If you had difficulty answering the first question and you find that you tend to view things from a present or historical view, try answering this questions instead:
“What changes in your body and life do you wish you could create within the next 2-3 months?”
Try to be open and honest with yourself and try not to think about what others think you should say. The things that come to you quickly and create an emotional reaction…write those down!
The things you wrote down are called dreams. They are things you want, but not things you have made into actionable items…yet.
Now, rank the things you wrote down. Take the top 5 items and turn them into actionable things. Create powerful, specific statements around these things. For example:
If you wrote “lose 10 lbs of fat” as one of your dreams, try writing it down as…
“Within 12 weeks I will lose 10 lbs of fat.”
By doing this you just transformed your dream into a goal. You stated what you want, and you gave a timeline in which you want it. Understanding the difference between a dream and goal is very important here. Dreams are things you wish for, goals are specific things you have decided you need to accomplish in a clearly defined time frame. Goals always come from dreams, they work hand in hand. So when you create goals and accomplish them, we are in turn allowing our dreams to get bigger and more ambitious.
Create your list of goals. Actually write them down. Look at them often. Share them with as many people as you can. Find people to hold you accountable. Think bigger, look past the present, stop focusing on what used to be. Look into the future and actually set a plan to get there. Believe in your goals, believe that your future vision can become reality. By doing this you will get where you want, need and deserve to go.