Taking Responsibility for Your Health: A Lesson on Ego
Taking responsibility for our health isn’t always easy. Often times our ego gets in the way and keeps us from making the necessary changes in our life.
How does our ego hold us back from improving our health? Let me explain it by telling you a quick story.
James is a 33 year old married man with two kids. When he was in college staying fit was easy – he had endless time to workout and lived without the stress that a job and a family can bring. He could eat anything he wanted back then and, because of his 2 hour workouts and high metabolism, he stayed fit.
Fast forward a decade and he is 30 pounds overweight. That of course didn’t happen overnight, but gaining 3 pounds a year adds up.
In the past few years he’s tried workouts from every fitness magazine on the market, but never could stay consistent so he lost muscle mass and his metabolism slowed down. James also tried all the latest fad diets and detoxes, but, as you could probably guess, nothing worked.
James blames his weight gain on his stressful job and the fact that he “Has no time”. He claims to know how to get in shape, but he hasn’t actually done it.
James has allowed his ego to prevent him from taking responsibility for his health. By thinking that he already knows how to get in shape but that outside circumstances are to blame, he is stuck. Until he puts his ego aside, he’ll never improve his health.
James is like many clients I’ve worked with in the past. They tried to do things on their own and saw limited success. Only after they put their ego aside, could they make changes and actually improve.
You don’t have to hire a trainer or coach to improve your health, but accepting that you may need a little help, a little support, a little more education, is a vital first step.
When talking about doing great work, Ryan Holiday mentions in his book Ego is the Enemy:
“If you want to be more than a flash in the pan, you must be prepared to focus on the long term. We will learn that though we think big, we must act and live small in order to accomplish what we seek. Because we will be action and education focused, and forgo validation and status, our ambition will not be grandiose but iterative – one foot in front of the other, learning and growing and putting in the time.”
This applies directly to our health as well.
If we want to make big changes to our health, changes that will last in the long term, we have to focus on taking action, getting educated, and doing the little things necessary on a daily basis. We have to learn to put our ego aside.
For someone like James this could mean doing the following:
- Signing up for a session with a trainer at his gym to learn more about effective workouts
- Scheduling a meeting with a Registered Dietitian to get more educated about his nutrition
- Asking his friend to be his workout buddy so he can stay more accountable each week
- Reading a few high-quality articles on reputable fitness and nutrition blogs
- Working with an online fitness coach so he can develop the knowledge needed to improve his health
Ryan Holiday later mentions in Ego is the Enemy, “You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.” This again applies directly to improving your health.
If James decides to take responsibility for his health, starting by making small changes and asking for help if needed, he’ll lose those 30 pounds, get back in shape, and set his life on another course completely.
If not? He’ll continue on his current path, continuing to gain a pound or two a year while his health declines. Those 30 pounds will turn into 40, 50, or even worse.
Taking Responsibility for YOU
YOU control your decisions.
YOU control your response to what happens to you.
YOU control your health.
Outside influences don’t have to dictate how you live your life because YOU are ultimately in control.
Get out of your own head for a second, think about where you are now, and ask yourself:
- How did you actually get here?
- What decisions could you have made that would have changed where you are at in your life now?
Looking ahead and putting your ego aside, think about what you can do now to change your situation. What is the next step you need to take to make a change?
To start taking responsibility for your health you don’t have to go through a dramatic transformation – start small and take action.