Thursday, July 23, 2009

Keep on Walking

I have to be honest. Sometimes I feel like saying, "screw this--it's too much work!" Sometimes, I want to just not read the labels. Sometimes, I want to live carefree and eat that croissant or that piece of chocolate cake and NOT THINK ABOUT IT. I want to walk through a public space and NOT notice that a third of the people are overweight. I want to throw away that plastic bottle instead of holding onto it until I find a recycling bin. Sometimes I just want to be NORMAL.

But then I remember that people actually do pay attention to me. I have changed some peoples' lives, even if it was a small change or a few people. They look to me as an example--a guide to what is healthy and good for them and the world. And this thought makes me stand up straight and vow to keep going. I really have to keep walking the talk if I want to change the world. It's not just what I say. Anyone who knows kids knows this.

But then I wonder how my clients deal with this thought. I know they find the transition hard sometimes--when they make changes, they see that it will take some effort to be healthy and it's not temporary. They have to decide whether the effort is worth it and it's my job to convince them that it is. Of course, the challenge in this is that it's hard to look into the future and be sure of a good quality of life when there's so many things that can happen between now and that future. And it's really hard to link that future healthy person to the present one who really wants to eat that Big Mac.

I never really thought about how much of my work is the art of persuasion. Of course, half the work is done already by the time my clients come to me. Something or someone already convinced them that they need to change--that becoming more healthy is something they have committed to. My clients are actually the easy audience. It's my family and friends who are the challenge. They aren't with me because they want to learn how to be healthy, and they certainly don't want me to treat them as clients. So, this is where my walking the talk comes in. Silent persuasion. And though they may not admit it to me or to themselves, I do believe it works. I secretly smile and pat myself on the back when I see these little changes or hear something that echoes what I've been preaching all these years. That alone keeps me going.

"What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. " Barbara Kingsolver

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