The Way, the How, the Interest
Making Healthy Changes
By Dr. Chris Hanson
There are three challenges when changing our habits:
- The Way
- The How
- The Interest
Someone who wishes to exercise may have never exercised before in their life; they simply don’t know the way to exercise. This person needs to increase their knowledge of enjoyable ways they might exercise. For instance, dancing is a fun, social, creative, and artistic activity with the bonus of being very athletic.
Someone else may have exercised previously but does not currently. They know a way to exercise but do not know how to fit it into their current lifestyle. Their challenge is to find the time and place for exercise. With the growing market for dancing in the United States, it's becoming easier and easier to find group classes or practice parties that fit your schedule, or to just rent floor time for individual practice.
Finally, there are many people who know the way and the how, but their interest isn’t high enough. There are two ways to increase the interest: the carrot and the stick. Most people are great with the stick—as humans, we are pros at beating ourselves up and feeling guilty for not exercising or cheating on our diets. Unfortunately, the shame and guilt we feel only lead to more unhealthy habits (not to mention having very negative feelings about ourselves, the exact opposite of creating a new, healthier habit).
So what’s the solution? Use a carrot! Take time to write down how life will improve when you take action.
- How much more energy will you have? What will you do with that energy?
- How much happier will you be?
- How proud of yourself will you be?
The compelling future you create by answering these questions will drive you forward. The way and the how are simple when the interest is well established. And if you're reading a magazine dedicated to dancing, it seems like you're already most of the way there. Take the plunge.