Of the health series of making life work, this post is one of the most interesting and challenging. You see, without this post none of the ideas in the other posts in the health series can, or will, work. You might be asking why we didn’t start with this one? I thought I would start you out nice and comfortably.
What is this post about? Values and decisions. If we use the analogy of cars, food and exercise are the physical cars. Values and decisions are the drivers. The car will go nowhere without the actions of the driver.
Let’s start with values. Values are the driver’s sense of direction. They tell us where we are to go in life — what is important. How we spend time, money and energy will be totally dependent on our values. Cognitively knowing that exercise and eating healthy food is academic. Knowing it is entirely insufficient to get us to take any action at all.
Think of it this way, you logically understand that it is necessary to drive to the shops, but your top value is the pub. At the point of decision, you will just find yourself at the pub. You may even be wondering how you got there. Because the moment you start thinking about it you will be saying to yourself “But I was going to the shops”.
Unconsciously your values will always direct your feet, hands and eyes to search for, and find, what it believes to be most valuable to you. The next, and the only real question, to be asked at this point is “how do I change this set of values so I don’t end up driving to the pub for the rest of my life?” The honest answer is, you don’t!
In all my years of training, I have never come across a methodology where an individual can change values by themselves. (Currently I am developing such a system, I will keep you informed).
Are you saying values can’t change and that we are doomed to turn up at the pub every time we want to go shopping? No. NLP has some very efficient techniques for the restructuring of personal values that are quick and very effective. The issue here is you have to see a qualified practitioner.
Next, there is the subject of decisions. Sticking with the car analogy, we have our direction, and fuel in the tank ready to go. The decision is the process of turning the key to start the engine and drive off.
Decisions are, once again, an unconscious process. It is part of the process that is called strategies. This process is the switch that tells us when to do, when to start, when to continue and even when to stop. Strategies look like a computer logic diagram. Start here, if this is present then do that, if not then do this. Is it possible that your strategies for making life and health work could do with a little fine tuning.
I once had a client who had a 23 step decision strategy. Any of the 23 steps had the possibility of stopping the entire process. Needless to say he made very few decisions in his life. Once again this is an unconscious process and requires a little external hypnotic/NLP assistance to be modified. No amount of conscious willpower, guts, or determination will win over the unconscious world of values and decisions.
Next time you see a person that is overweight, or making unusual health and life decisions, have some compassion. There is an excellent chance that they totally know what the right things to do are. I have met many obese individuals that have spectacular knowledge of what it takes to be a perfect weight and just don’t have the values or decisions to be able to make it happen. These people are not to be pitied; they are to be informed that with a little external assistance life can be very different. By the way, that person could be you.