The journey to living a healthy lifestyle and to our fullest potential is one full of obstacles, challenges and triumphs. We all want to live to our full potential, but for many of us health seems to get in the way. We want to be the hero - to stand victorious against the obstacles that stand in our way. Business, past experiences, health scares, financial troubles can make living to our potential seem impossible - in the midst of these unexpected times, are you living more like the hero or the victim in your own story?
Playing the victim never leads to success. In fact, it leads to a mediocre life where you are limited by your own mindset. We look at all of the obstacles and hard things we go through and use them as an excuse as to why we can’t progress and overcome. We’ll never out grow the unexpected or be exempt from the hard things in life - but its what we do in the midst of these times that determines if we play the hero or the victim in our story. It’s the people that have overcome the face of the craziest life circumstances that have the greatest impact and influence in the world. They could have played the victim, but they decided to fight through it all and play the hero.
Many of us have felt defeated in our health at some point in time. One main quality we have seen in people that have overcome every obstacle is they have an internal locus of control. "Locus of control works on a continuum from internal to external. Internally controlled people believe that everything that happens to them is a result of their own decisions and behaviors. They believe they have control over all aspects of their lives and their destiny. Externally controlled people believe that forces outside of their control, such as fate, God’s will, or important or powerful others, govern all aspects of their lives." (Levenson, 1974).
Both internal and external are important in health; the sweet spot is when we learn to balance the two. We must not swing to either extreme. If we live in the extreme of believing that we are the only ones that control our reality, that our success is due to our decisions and actions (internal locus of control) we will be prideful, thinking we are to thank for all our success and good circumstances.
The other extreme encompasses only thinking in an external locus of control; we play the victim because we think there is nothing we can do about our circumstances. We must walk in a balance between both of these where we realize that we have control over our choices and thus the direction of our health, while also understanding that there are external forces that play a role as well such as our God, genetics, our finances, and our family.
The only way to play the hero in your health story is to walk in a balance. People with an understanding of an internal locus of control tend to create lasting habits because they make changes in behavior that lead to lasting results - in the midst of unexpected circumstances instead of feeling powerless, know that you have the power to play the hero and make the healthy decisions only you can make for yourself.
Today, contemplate areas in your life/health where you are living in an extreme when it comes to internal vs. external locus of control. You have everything you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Take heart, you were created to be healthy!
1. Hayden, Joanna. Introduction to Health Behavior Theory (p. 181). Jones & Bartlett Learning. Kindle Edition.