Are You Visualizing Wrong?

If you want to change your diet and lifestyle to achieve better health in the future, here’s an important thing to do:

Visualize your healthy future in as much detail as possible.

For most people, the “healthy future” is a vague thing. They’ll

  • have more energy

  • be happier

  • travel more

  • not take meds

  • wear nice clothes

But if you ask them to “see the movie” of having more energy or being happier, they generally draw a blank.

Why is a vague healthy future a problem?

What’s the problem with a non-detailed picture of your healthy future? Simply this: your desire for that future is in direct conflict with your current “bad” habits.

The junk foods you enjoy. The snooze bar you hit instead of getting moving. The Instagram feed you scroll addictively instead of meditating.

And these current habits aren’t in the least bit vague or theoretical. They’re actual. They’re in the present tense.

And when we try to “resist” their temptations, we’re picturing them in exquisite detail (to the point that our imaginations can create biochemical cascades of expectation when we encounter triggers to indulge).

Specificalize Your Future

No, that’s not a word. But it’s kind of fun to say, in a sort of percussive whisper, with a prolonged slide on the “ize.”

But I digress.

The trick here is to make your positive future - the one you’re “giving up” the junk food and lazy mornings and Instagram parties for - as vivid and mouthwatering as those clear and present temptations.

When I start talking with a new WellStart client, I ask a bunch of questions that probably make me sound like a complete numbskull. They all boil down to variations on this:

“And why is that important to you?”

And Why is That Important to You?

I’ll ask about the client’s goals, and they’ll tell me that they want to lose 55 pounds and stop needing to take their type 2 diabetes meds.

So I’ll say, “And why is that important to you?”

Here they get a bit puzzled, because, well, it’s freaking obvious isn’t it?

And they tell me so, with their tone of voice:

“Well, so I’ll be healthier and live longer and feel better in my body.”

OK, fine. But we’re still in Las Vague-ass. (See what I did there?)

So I persist: “And why is that important to you? What will you be able to do and feel and experience - specifically - that will be impossible if you don’t succeed in making these diet and lifestyle changes?”

And now we start getting to specifics. To the first-person perspective movie of a healthy future.

“I’ll be able to get up off the floor when playing with my grandkids, without needing help.”

“I’ll be able to travel in Central America without having to always stock high-glucose snacks, and without always needing to worry about getting prescriptions filled in strange cities where I know no one. I can see my lean, athletic self and my spouse climbing the pyramid at Tikal and taking a selfie at the top.”

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept

Think of a “healthy future” goal. Answer the question, “Why is that important to me?”

Then specificalize the heck out of that future. See the movie.

What will you be able to do and feel and experience - specifically - that will be impossible if you don’t succeed in making these diet and lifestyle changes?

Armed with a vivid and specific future, see if it’s easier to resist vivid and specific current temptations.

Does making lifestyle changes so you can lose weight and reverse or avoid chronic disease sound like something you’d like to do? If so, then consider joining the next WellStart On-Ramp to Health program: Click here for details and to save your spot.