“This is gonna suck.”  That lovely statement that predicates oh so many health goals.  How many times have you started something for your health with that one-liner?  Now, how many times have you started a program that way and stayed with it?

If you’re in a health program now that you started knowing you would hate it and have come to realize your self-fulfilling prophecy, please stop what you are doing.  I give you permission to stop torturing yourself with your newest wellness plan and start something new.  Even if you have been successful for weeks at maintaining your latest health regimen despite your utter dislike, stop it.  Stop it now and start something new.  The reason is this very simple truth: We only continue to do things in our life that bring us joy and happiness (this is of course if we are not currently suffering from mental health issues or addiction – then we do crazy, painful things despite all reason). 

Let me put it out there again for good measure: We only continue to do things in our life that bring us joy and happiness.  So why, when it comes to health, do we feel like we are on the right track when we start a program that makes us feel like it’s gonna suck – bad?  I don’t know either.

But what I do know is this: I listen to people tell their health stories every day, and I have heard hundreds.  My observation is that people who are healthy didn’t get there through some rigid plan fraught with sucky emotions.  They simply found healthy things to do that they liked doing.  Then, they allowed these things to become a priority in their lives.  It isn’t my education as a dietitian that keeps me healthy.  I am healthy because I found a creative outlet in cooking.  I knew I needed to build a plate that consisted of mostly fruits and vegetables, so I found ways to create tasty food that met basic healthy recommendations while also giving me an outlet to try new cooking methods, flavor combinations, and experiments. 

I was recently telling a colleague about the adventure that starting my own business has been.  He told me he was so glad I had found something I was so passionate about.  This struck me as significant, because I was quite passionate about my previous work as a consultant to corporations who needed help building a health and wellness plan.  As it turns out, I am passionate about A LOT of things; corporate health and wellness, paid maternity leave, politics, women’s leadership issues, school lunches; you name it, I am likely passionate about it one way or another (just ask my husband).  As I wondered about what the difference was between my previous work and this current work if passion isn’t the variable, I thought back to my conversation with said colleague.  I remember I told him, “I just love what I do, I really enjoy it.”  And then it hit me. There it was. That word “joy”. 

I thought of my evenings laughing with the ladies in my classes about their crazy health stories.  I thought about getting to share my blog and I felt happy.  So my hypothesis is this, passion gets ya’ started, but happiness keeps you going.

So if you want to be healthy, you need to find something healthy to do that makes you happy.  It’s no secret that I hate most forms of organized exercise. The idea of doing anything called boot camp or insanity or a work out video that includes things called wacky jacks makes me cringe.  On the other hand, a walk with my husband almost doesn’t feel like exercise. Taking my kids on a hike feels more like therapy than cardio.

Do activities that bring you joy and you will become healthy

Do what brings you joy and you will become healthy.

Perhaps, like me, you enjoy the creativity of cooking.  Maybe the achievement of running or boot camp gets your juices flowing.  Maybe the peace and mindfulness of yoga brings you a quiet joy that keeps you rooted.  [bctt tweet=”Whatever it is, do what makes you happy and you will become healthy. It’s the happiness and joy that reminds us we want to do it again and again. “]