So many people tell me they wish they had my motivation, dedication, strength, or determination. My wife says she thinks it’s my military training that allows me to set goals for myself and single-mindedly accomplish them. However, I don’t think that is the reason why (although my military training has definitely helped me in the goal-achieving department). What it comes down to was realigning my priorities.
I used to place a large priority on sating my appetite and cravings. Whatever I craved, I had to have. If I wanted pizza, I’d order a large one. If I wanted bread sticks, I’d order two or three bags of them. If I wanted chocolate, I’d get a big bag of Dove chocolate and eat them. Regardless of the craving, I satisfied it in big ways, because that was my priority.
Health and fitness weren’t even on my radar. Ultimately, when my health started to fade and my fitness became so laughable that I had to hold my breath to tie my own shoes, I realized something had to happen. I took that long, hard look into my soul and had a conversation with myself that helped me re-align my priorities. I had primed the pump, so to speak, to get healthy. All I had to do was find the way. Weeks later, through the help of my cousin, I found Whole30 and Paleo.
I had to make my health my top priority. I didn’t add fitness to my priority list until an entire year after I started (almost to the day). But once I made my health my top priority, a strange thing happened: it became easier to let go of the things that were ruining and impacting my health in negative ways. Foods that to me before were comforting were now troubling. I changed the paradigm of what good food was to me, and also the paradigm of what food was for. I changed it from entertainment and comfort to fuel.
If there’s any single hack I used on my brain, it was this: changing my priorities and changing the paradigm of what food is for. Those two are the foundation upon which everything else sits: motivation, determination, discipline, perseverance: all of them mean nothing until you’ve made health your top priority. It becomes easy to resist temptation and to stay on the diet or lifestyle when it is your top priority.
But it has to be real, and not just lip service. Once you truly commit, the rest will fall into place easily.