It’s amazing how much motivation we can suddenly get when faced with a serious illness or death ourselves or of a loved one. We may have struggled for years to find the strength to make changes or face our fears and then suddenly we have it.
Why does it take just drastic events like these to get us to finally take action? Is it possible to summons these inspiring feelings without these events actually happening? I believe we can by vividly imagining ourselves facing a serious illness or death if we continue on the same course.
That course might be continuing to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, take mind-altering drugs, eat unhealthy foods, or refuse to exercise. You know what the likely outcome is but until you are forced into a change you choose to ignore it.
I’ve heard people who smoke, drink, and eat unhealthy foods say, “Enjoy life! That’s what I am going to do. Enjoy my life.” The next second they are coughing from the cigarettes, struggling to gather their thoughts because of the alcohol, and having difficulty getting comfortable in a chair because of their grossly overweight and unfit body. That’s enjoying life to its fullest? Perhaps it’s been so long that they forgot how wonderful life can be when you feel great!
When the surgeon comes into your hospital room and informs you that you need a quadruple heart bypass or that you need to have a softball-size cancerous tumor removed you suddenly have the motivation to make the changes that you know you should have made years ago. It’s true that these events are a permanent wake-up call for some people and they go on to make radical changes that give them good health.
But the surgeries and all the medications can be avoided by giving up tobacco and alcohol and adopting a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular exercise. I was reading a book the other day called “The China Study.” It looks at the Western (the USA in particular) diet and lifestyle and compares it to the Eastern (China & Taiwan specifically) diet and lifestyle. Through the various studies that were evaluated, it was determined that diet and lifestyle (smoking, drinking, and exercise) and NOT genetics were the determining factors in whether a person would get a serious illness during their lifetime. So if your parents or grandparents died early due to heart disease or cancer you can avoid the same fate.
So how do we create the inspiration needed to make changes that would greatly reduce the chances of succumbing to a serious illness like cancer or heart disease and in the process greatly enhance the quality of your life? You do it by putting yourself in the place of these circumstances mentally or physically. Here’s what I mean. You either vividly imagine being in a hospital and facing a serious illness or attending your own funeral or you actually go there in person. Here are some ideas on how to do it.
- Imagine a doctor telling you that you’ve got cancer and s/he’s going to have to remove a part of your body. Imagine telling your family and friends. Imagine the surgery, the recovery, and your life afterward.
- Imagine a doctor telling you that you’ve only got about six months to live. Imagine how your family and friends would react. Imagine how you would spend your final days.
- Imagine your own funeral. Outline your own funeral arrangements. Write your own funeral message to family and friends. And write your own obituary.
- Spend an afternoon at a hospital. Walk around and observe the faces of the patients and loved ones visiting them. Go to the cardiac and cancer wards, walk down the halls, and discreetly look into the rooms and imagine yourself being there.
- Spend an afternoon at a nursing home. This particular assignment will require courage and mental fortitude as these places can be quite sickening. Many of the patients are people who wanted to “enjoy their life” by smoking, drinking, and eating anything thing and any quantities that they felt like and now they are paying for it. They couldn’t afford a better facility because they wasted all their money, energy, and health on such foolish activities.
- Present a friendly face as you may get the opportunity to talk with some of the patients (inmates) and gain a few pearls of wisdom that could permanently change your life.
- Spend an afternoon at a cemetery or mausoleum. Walk around and look at the grave markers. Imagine your name on one of them (the biggest and most spectacular of course). Walk near any funerals in progress and discreetly and respectfully look at the casket and the faces of the people attending the service. Then imagine that the funeral service is your own.
This is not a mental or physical place that you want to stay in or visit more than a few times. Otherwise, you’ll risk drawing yourself to that outcome.
Your objective is to temporarily put yourself in the mental or physical place of these scenarios to the degree whereby you emotionally experience them. Your goal is to create a vivid mental picture of the outcome you do not want so that you can refer to it when you need a firm “kick in the butt.” 99 percent of the time you should be thinking about and living as though you have what you do want — A high-quality life overflowing with abundant health, joy, and love.