Taking responsibility for your health

The First Step in Reclaiming your Health and Living your Best Life

Dr. Kimberley O'BrienHealth Leave a Comment

Do you ever feel like you are not living life to it’s fullest potential or that you are accepting “good enough” when it comes to your health? Do you dream about feeling fit and healthy, but feel your waistband tightening as you watch the numbers on the scale climb? Perhaps you feel as though you are lacking control in your life and feel powerless in making a positive change.

Many people feel resigned when it comes to creating the life that they dream of living and the health they desire. Often they are not getting the results that they would like because they are missing a very important step along the way. Step one in reaching a state of health and happiness is to own the role that you have played in creating your current circumstances. It means acknowledging that your actions have shaped the life that you are currently living and the health that you are currently experiencing (whether good, or bad). While this can be a difficult realization at first, it can also be hugely empowering! If you can accept that you are responsible for your current circumstances, then you will also realize that you have tremendous control in shifting your path and moving yourself closer to your ideal life and health.

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Many of us have been conditioned to look outside of ourselves when something in our life is not going well. We make excuses, blame our circumstances or point the finger at others and often fail to turn the magnifying glass back upon ourselves.  When we realize how our actions and decisions have led us to where we are now, there can be a variety of emotions that surface. We might at first feel guilty, regretful or shameful.

Reclaiming your Health and Living your Best Life

There is a critical differentiation that needs to be made between blaming yourself and taking responsibility for past actions.

Responding to a situation by blaming and shaming yourself might look like this:

–       I feel terrible about myself and think I’ve really messed things up for good this time. I have been binging on sugar for most of my life, and now I have been diagnosed with diabetes. How could I have been so stupid! I have ruined my health and it’s entirely my fault. I wish I had done things differently while I had the chance.

Taking responsibility is much different response, and would look like this:

–       My diagnosis with diabetes has led me to reflect on how I have been living my life up until now. I realize that I haven’t been treating my body with enough care, or providing myself with the balanced nutrition that I deserve. I thought that I was doing well enough to get by and I believe that I took my health for granted. Looking back now, I see many things that I could have done differently. I feel empowered because I realize that changing my current actions will have a large impact on my future health. I am now aware that my health is in my own hands, and that I am capable of influencing my future wellness by taking a proactive approach today.

Blame results in resignation, guilt and self-reproach whereas taking responsibility yields empowerment and positive action. In order to shift our emotions and create a more positive and empowered response, we need to be kind and empathetic to ourselves. We also must realize that we choose our actions based upon our highest values and priorities, and that these shift throughout our life. Decisions that we made in the past may have served values that are no longer as important to us. The consequences of those decisions may now be directly opposing our current values and priorities.

It is important to regularly tune in and assess our satisfaction and happiness with our own life. We need to consciously tune-in and evaluate ourselves on a regular basis so that we can catch when we are headed off course. It is easier to make minor adjustments along the way and modify our actions early on than to end off grossly off-course further down the line.

I encourage you to take a moment and reflect upon your life as it is right now. Consider the following aspects and rate how happy you are in each area on a scale of 1-10.

  • Health
  • Fitness
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • Love life/Relationship with significant other
  • Career
  • Financial
  • Leisure/Fun

Now I want you to critically assess each of the areas, and identify what you are doing to contribute to your current level of satisfaction in each aspect of your life. For example – If you ranked your health as 4/10, you might reflect and realize that you are not exercising, don’t have a method to deal with stress and are eating too many sweets. If you ranked your relationship as 9/10, you might reflect that you have made the relationship strong through devoting time for your significant other, being a great listener and telling your partner that you love them every day.

Select one area that you would like to focus on throughout the next week, and make an active effort to change the behaviors that you have identified to be contributing to your dissatisfaction in that area of your life. If you selected your health, perhaps you might decide to go for a 30-minute walk every evening, to start packing a healthy lunch to work or to clean up your diet and identify your food sensitivities by committing to at least the first 11 days of the Elimination Diet Meal Plan.

You will be amazed by the insights gained and the dramatic improvements made in your life and health, all through this mindful and empowered approach. A series of small steps will lead you to own your health, and live a life you love!

About the Author

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien


Dr. Kimberley O'Brien is a Naturopathic Doctor in  Nelson, BC with expertise in the treatment of digestive disorders, fatigue and hormone imbalances.  She is the founder of Healthy Life Redesign and creator of the Elimination Diet Meal Plan and the Real Food Recharge online programs.  Her mission is to help you own your health and live a life you love!

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