I hope you are having a good June!
At SparkPeople, we did a fun activity to write the Purpose, Passion, and Core Values for our company. We're just about finished. I will post this when we're finished.
Today I'd like to write about one of our values: "We Build Fit & Healthy Leaders"
I thought it would be fun to write about this because it will clarify why I talk about the benefits of leadership a fair amount. Note that in this value, the word "fit" means both "physically fit" and "mentally fit."
Behavior Change = Personal Leadership
First, it's obvious that SparkPeople is in the business of helping people make nutrition, fitness, and health-related behavior change, right? Our goal is not just to help people lose weight. Instead, we want to help people make behavior changes and build healthy habits that will lead to a permanent healthy lifestyle so you don't need to "go on a diet" again.
The fact is that any type of behavior change is a form of personal leadership. You need to actively be a leader for yourself to make these positive behavior changes. This is the easy way to show how personal leadership connects to weight loss and other health behavior change.
Personal Leadership = Much Broader than only Health Behavior Change
Second, a major benefit of considering personal leadership is that this topic is much broader than health behavior change. Here is a list of areas than can fall under leadership. I'm probably missing several and I'm also not saying you need to do all of these items.
* Daily planning
* Project management
* Character traits
* Personal finance
* Developing all types of new skills
* Coaching others
* Community service
* Public speaking
This list includes both personal leadership and public/group leadership.
Third, another reason to use the broader definition of leadership instead of narrower health behavior change is that we all life in a messy real life. By this I mean that we can't simply focus on healthy-related behavior change when real-life is happening, like:
* Stress from personal finances
* Stress from needing to learn a new skill at work or complete a deadline project
* Stress from a family or friend relationship
* Many others
The key is to understand what we call Crisscross Effects, which is how different areas of life impact each other. For example, improving your personal finances could lower the chances of emotional/stress eating. But, this works in reverse too since improving your health and fitness could give you more energy to tackle your personal finances.
Every area of life can have back and forth Crisscross Effects.
When you understand this, life becomes more like a game. You are more motivated to improve in one area of life because you know the odds increase that this will make it easier to improve in other areas of life. Ultimately this will help you reach many goals in life including ones you may have never thought possible.
Importantly, this means that working on other areas of life make it more likely that you will lose weight and keep it off in addition to reaching other health and fitness-related goals.
Begin With The End In Mind
My business partner Jordan likes to talk about one of Steven Covey's famous 7 habits which is "Begin with the end in mind." In this case, that means that losing weight and being healthy are only one part of "the end" to keep in mind. They are only one part of why you want to be healthy and fit. The full scope of keeping the end in mind includes many of the areas mentioned as examples of leadership... your relationship with family and friends, the fun you have in life, the contributions to your company, how you help other people. Basically whatever is most important to you in life.
I remember a SparkPeople member told me that she lost 50 pounds following our program, but she also said she learned goal-setting and ended up getting a promotion at work as a result of the combination of improved health and energy plus goal-setting and leadership.
I wrote this for our members, but I will also share it with our team too! I hope this makes it clear why I like to talk about both the best of health and fitness and the best of goal-setting and leadeship.
This integration is what changed my life starting in 1995 and now after getting rid of the brain tumor I had for probably about 15 years, I'm more energized than ever to spread the spark about this message!
This also strongly connects to the new project I'm working on to help motivate people to improve in all of these areas. If you missed that, here is the overview:
My highlight today was walking/hiking for a couple of hours at an old wooden car festival. We did have a local ice cream as a fun treat along the hike. We also saw baby sea lions. Let me know your highlight or your thoughts on this writing below!