The strength of small changes. Motivational story

By: Riley Pearce
Director of Social Media

The day was December 30, 2018. Amelie and Jonathon had just spent the week with Christmas just coming home from Jon's parents.

When Jonathon went to unpack his suitcase in the bedroom, he hit himself in the mirror. What was once a reflection of an active, young, and emerging technology company business associate was now a tired, gray-looking BD director.

Jonny's ambition was something he was always proud of. He grew up without siblings and therefore received the full attention of his parents. They, too, were hard workers and instilled in him, from a young age, an attitude of "if you want, work for it".

As his career progressed, his health was less prominent on the priority list. Jon played tennis 2-3 times a week and even played on the men's basketball team during his free evenings. As he demanded more work, he saw fewer seats and more inside airplanes, hotel rooms and offices.

By the time Jon unpacked, Amelie had gone to see the kitchen they had in the fridge and cupboards. She and Jon should get some groceries before the shops close on New Year's Day. When he reached the fridge, he found that he and Jon had a couple of half-finished cups of coffee, some butter and cream.

It was at that moment that Amelie realized that this was what her life had become. As Jon pursued his career goals, Amelie was also busy pursuing a PhD in biochemistry. Long nights in the lab and meeting counselors and working as a student teacher at a couple of undergraduate and graduate seminars meant that Amelie and Jons' favorite couple activity – cooking – had taken a back seat. They rushed in the mornings to get ready, put their coffee in the travel mug and were off. At the end of the day, they would both be so tired they would just order and let them cook the next day.

Amelie was active in her younger years as well. He played football and was an avid runner, running a half-marathon and at least half a dozen 10kgs. Unfortunately, she suffered a better knee injury and was never able to recover completely. He was incredibly intelligent and was able to complete a Masters project for other students in his program a year before. As the injury removed him from active hobbies, Amelie paid attention to her studies and quickly spent all her time.

As their lives progressed and the two of them made great strides in many aspects of their lives, the couple had forgotten one of the most important things: their health.

Jon was now 35 pounds heavier than he was when he first started his job, and Amelie had crawled 20 pounds on his body.

Amelie closed the fridge and took the tea to the bedroom. When he arrived, he found Jon sitting on the bed with his head up. Without saying so, the two of them understood what the other thought – "What happened?"

Given the day before New Year's Eve and the entire world pondering over the past year and setting goals for 2019 to make it the best ever, Jon and Amelie decided to set goals that bring their health back into focus.

The evening was spent discussing what would be best for their schedules, how Jon would manage to get on the road with training and good meals; how Amelie could cope with her meals and find a way to become active again while respecting her knee injury.

They both had one appointment with a dietitian, just to get professional tips for making healthy choices when you are time-limited. Jon then hired a personal trainer to guide him through training during his stay in the city and email support to hotels during check-in and modified training.

Because of Amelie's injuries, she first had to see her physiotherapist. He had heard that swimming was a great low-impact sport for the joints, so he found free swimming times at the university swimming pool and worked 30-30 minutes of swimming on his schedule. He met his physiotherapist as many times as his student insurance coverage covered, and brought exercises and advice into his daily life when the meetings ended.

A year later, Jon and Amelie returned to Jon's parents after spending the week with Christmas.

But this year, Jon and Amelie got home something different.

As Jon walked through the mirror in his bedroom, he saw someone who had been training 3-4 times a week, including the weeks he was at work. Not every workout was the "best workout", but he kept to the schedule and kept up his efforts consistently.

As she looked at Amelie's fridge, she found a few more withered greens, a remaining casserole, some dark chocolate, and a few more colorful ingredients. This view of the fridge now reminded him of the times when Jon was home between business trips and they could try new recipes together. He was reminded of these extraordinarily long days of home-cooked food at school and home.

Amelie's knee, though not perfect, caused her less pain and enjoyed her new swimming routine. He had even persuaded a colleague to join him to make some of these earlier swimming courses more social, like his running group.

Amelie and Jon are now looking to 2020 with new goals. Jon hopes he can start playing tennis or basketball again. Amelie wants to go to the gym a few times a week with her personal trainer to promote the exercises given to her by the physiotherapist. Although the two had not lost weight throughout the year, Amelie was under 10 pounds and Jon was under 18 pounds! Both had finished weighing themselves because they loved the way they saw and felt. They had energy again, and in fact, it was easier for them to manage the demands of their careers.

For the two of them, they only had to sit down and choose one thing that prevented them from going to health. Amelie had an old knee injury she needed to recover, and Jon needed help figuring out how to stay active with her more demanding work schedule.

This story may be fictional, but the limitations, the solutions, and the results are all very real. You may be sitting there reading this and pondering how your life has changed over the years and wondering what you could do next year to achieve your goals.

Setting goals in different aspects of your life will give you direction for the next year. As a society, goal setting sets a purpose for us and it is important for the human experience. Your health and longevity should definitely be one of the aspects for which you are setting a goal or goals.

Instead of writing another article on motivational science and goal setting, this story was meant to serve as a guideline and an example of how easy it is to achieve 1 easy goal. In both cases, help and guidance were crucial to their success. This removed the equation and allowed the two characters to continue their busy lives, but now they had some structure to achieve their goals. Whether your health and longevity goals include dieting, weight loss, muscle building, improving balance, improving energy, injuries, etc., someone outside is trained to take you where you want to go faster. if you could do it alone.

2019 was okay, but now we're entering a new decade. A new time of opportunity and a great opportunity to reach your goals. Happy New Year!

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