Chest Press“You can catch disease and illness, but you can’t catch health”  were words I heard a speaker say and because of my profession they had a big impact on my perspective.  They are so true.  I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had to fight and have determined effort in order to achieve a greater level of health.  What’s bad for us is often easy, but what is good we have to choose to do on purpose.

I’m going to say right up front that getting in shape, correcting posture, becoming stronger and reducing pain in your joints is not going to be a smooth process.  I have found that facing this reality enables us to prepare and plan our strategies for handling the challenges we will face.  I don’t think this is being pessimistic.  It’s facing reality.  There is a difference between knowing that a goal is going to be difficult to achieve and having a pessimistic attitude that it can’t be attained or that everything will go wrong.  I’m talking about preparation and not pessimism.  We all get up in the morning with a plan about what needs to be accomplished that day, yet we all know things may not go smoothly and we will have to adjust to changing circumstances.  I know it’s not possible to plan for everything that will stand in our way, but knowing the road to better, more pain free health won’t be easy helps to give us perspective when the unexpected comes.  I always tell my clients that there is more than one way to get up the mountain.

The mind is our most powerful tool as we climb the mountain to a pain free stronger body and we will have to battle our way to the top.  All paths up are steep and rocky, but all can be traversed.  It is interesting how the mind and body work together.  I have found in myself and my clients that as one is strengthened it also strengthens the other, but both need to be worked.  You cannot focus on only one and neglect the other.  It is a team effort.

The very first step anyone needs to take is the step of responsibility.  We cannot give that responsibility to anyone else.  I tell people all the time that I am one piece in their health puzzle.  My role may be bigger for some people, but it is never the whole answer.  I am a consultant for them.  They hire me to guide them and provide my expertise to develop appropriate programs for their needs, but I cannot do it for them.  The responsibility is theirs.

After responsibility comes determination and the ability to endure.  The way I see determination is that it is pure raw grit to keep going.  The spine may be the backbone for the physical body, but determination is the backbone for the will.  Mental and physical endurance is a quality that develops as a result of determination.

Next we have flexibility.  As much as flexibility for the physical body is important, it is as important for the mind.  We are going to have to find alternate ways to stay on track.  Obstacles usually cause us to have to think out-of-the-box and find another way to achieve our goals.

Another component of success is gratitude.  I think it is important to understand that our goals are never achieved in a vacuum.  We always need some kind of help or support from someone else.  Some people or situations will act as barriers, but there will also be people or situations that will support us.  Focusing on the support we get rather than the problems helps to propel us forward instead of becoming emotionally trapped by the obstacle.

My clients have been through injuries, surgeries, chronic illness and emotional challenges.  It has never been easy for any of them, but their sense of responsibility, determination, flexibility and gratitude is what helps to keep them going.  I think these four qualities, and the levels to which they develop, work together and have a major impact on the success a person achieves.