In the last article, I introduced some of the principles underlying Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which we are repurposing here to apply to your health. Please keep these principles in the background of your mind as we begin the journey through the 7 Habits that can help make 2014 the Best Year of Your Life.
The first habit is one that is particularly important (and commonly deficient) to the area of health. That is the habit of BEing Proactive. Being Proactive is one of the amazing gifts possessed by humans. When something happens to us, or we are in a particular situation, we always have a CHOICE in how we will respond.
When we are faced with a health challenge, we have a choice in what we will do about it. We can choose interventions that may temporarily make us feel better but ultimately hurt our overall health, or we can choose to take action that will get to the underlying problem and thus improve our long-term outcomes. We can choose to cover up the surface, or work on the source.
If you listen to the languaging most people use regarding their health you will notice that they are REACTIVE, as opposed to PROACTIVE. They say things such as, “I had to have that surgery…my kid made me sick…my back is out…my doctor won’t let me play golf anymore.” These are examples of reactive language.
PROACTIVE language sounds like this, “I have been having a health challenge and therefore I am looking for ways to live a healthier life…I have allowed my immunity slip and am sick, time for a change…what is underlying this pain I am experiencing and how can I address it?”
Reactive language focuses on what you have or don’t have that is separate from the person living the life. Proactive language focuses on the person with the problem and the choices they can make. Reactive people’s health essentially comes down to luck. Proactive people influence their own outcomes.
Covey says in his book, “Any time we think that the problem is ‘out there,’ that thought is the problem.”
Central to being proactive is focusing on what is called your Circle of Influence, NOT your Circle of Concern. Your COI is what you have control over and what choices you can consciously make in regards to it. COC contains many things that we have no involvement in and cannot do anything about.
In regards to health, people have MANY concerns – just eavesdrop in any coffee shop and you will hear people talking about them (as they eat donuts)! Unfortunately, many people are not even aware that they have a Circle of Influence and do nothing until they feel like they have to go into pure reactive mode. These people go from crisis to crisis, their overall health typically gets worse as they age, and they feel like they are victims of circumstance waiting for the next problem.
Proactive people don’t wait for crisis to take action. They understand that their choices and lifestyle (while not bulletproof) have a massive influence on their present and future health. Most of their time, energy, focus and money go to PROACTIVELY improving their health, not reacting to crisis. If and when a crisis arises, they are typically well equipped to handle it, and their level of health typically gets better with age.
People utilizing Neurospinal Optimization care in my office use it both for Proactive and Reactive reasons. Most enter the office in pure reaction; in order to undergo care must come to an agreement to at least look to correct the underlying problem. We simply DO NOT patch up surface problems – there are others who are real good at that.
Neurospinal Optimization is designed to be Proactive and many of the folks we have been working with for some time are walking examples of a proactive mindset and lifestyle.
So, for the next week notice where you are proactive and reactive in your health and life. Pay attention to the words you use when speaking about your health. Where can you start focusing more on your Circle of Influence and less on your Circle of Concern?
Next week we move onto Habit II and don’t forget that we are having a workshop on Tuesday, January 28 at my office to go even deeper to Make 2014 the Best Year of Your Life. Phone Adele at the office to reserve a seat. This workshop is open to both patients and non-patients so will fill fast.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.