“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776. We think of this as the birthday of our nation. But the story of our nation’s quest for freedom is a long, winding one. And, it’s not over.
Yes! I know that by the time you read this, Independence Day will have long passed. And I also know that this is a wellness column and not a history one. But history can teach us some pretty powerful lessons about human nature and how we might better pilot out human bodies. Let’s look back so we can move forward.
In the early morning hours of April 19th, 1775 the first shots of the American Revolution were fired, bringing to a head tensions that had been brewing for months. When the Founders gathered to adopt the Declaration, America had been at war for over a year. After the signing and delivering of the Declaration to King George III, the war raged on for 7 more years. Peace talks finally started in April of 1782, but took another 18 months to conclude.
Human history is a poignant reflection of human nature. Change happens through a combination of revolutionary moments and tiny incremental steps. Like our nation’s, our wellness path doesn’t start with the declaration of our intention to travel it. It doesn’t end with our establishing wellness practices or any of the stumbles we take along the way. In fact, not unlike America’s struggle for independence, this path doesn’t end.
If we build it well, it is a path we can enjoy travelling for the rest of our lives. And like the path our nation is still on, it starts with assessing and evaluating where we stand today. In so many cases it is the prejudices we hold, habits we accept as given, and lifestyle choices we fail to even notice we are making that hold us back.
And as Buckmisnter Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Once we have a clear picture of where we are, we can build those habits and practices that make up our new models.
So how do we discover where we are and stay committed to travelling the path we build?
If eating better is on your list, you must know what you are eating currently – so, a food log. If developing deeper connections with your village is on your priority list, you must look at how you currently connect. One of the most effective exercises I do with my clients is to make three lists.
- Words you use to describe yourself. (Without judgement or self-editing.)
- Words others use to describe you.
- Words you hope folks will say at your funeral.
Circle the words on the first two lists that make your heart sing. These can be the stepping stones in building your path. They are your current reality. And if there are words on the last list that don’t appear on the first two, you know where you want your path to lead. Knowing this can help keep you moving along your path even when it is hard.
“There’s nothing wrong in suffering, if you suffer for a purpose. Our revolution didn’t abolish danger or death. It simply made danger and death worthwhile.” -H. G. Wells
Once the vision of the new models are discovered, voicing them out loud to our village and accountability partners mirrors the signing of the Declaration we celebrate this month. It is not the first step, it is not the last step. So today and everyday, not just July 4th, let’s celebrate our nation, our neighborhoods and ourselves for being willing to look at where we truly are and embrace new behaviors and attitudes. Because if we are willing to do the work: we can get well, feel well and live well. ALL of us can. Happy, happy independence days.
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org