The Healthy Hero’s Journey

The Healthy Hero’s Journey is the foundation of the new healthy lifestyle philosophy I’m developing. It’s built around the concept that we are both the authors and the heroes of our own stories, which means we have the power to rewrite our own stories in a healthy way.

The Journey

There’s a classic pattern seen in the typical journey a hero takes in most novels and movies. I’ve adapted it a bit for my own exploration of the “get-healthy” experience. If you’ve ever tried to improve your health, I’ll bet you’ll recognize at least the description of these steps.

Call to Adventure

Some might consider this the wake-up call instead, but I prefer this title. In stories this is where the hero’s “crisis” or challenge is revealed – where Eliot Ness in The Untouchables is called upon to take down Al Capone. In real life, it’s that moment when you realize that something needs to change.

If you’re like me, you may have even had multiple moments like this. Some of mine have included:

  • Stepping on the scale only to be horrified by the number I see.
  • Trying on a favorite article of clothing to find it no longer fits.
  • Walking the stairs and realizing it’s not as easy as it should be.
  • Craving sweets so badly that I gorge  myself on cookies, brownies, or whatever other treats I can get my hands on.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that, in those moments, I certainly did not look on those moments as “calls to adventure.” But that’s exactly what they were.

After all, the hero’s story can only begin if there’s a “problem” to solve. It’s just that movie heroes fight mob bosses while we fight the taunting smell of freshly baked cookies.

Discovery of Resources

The next logical step on the journey is where you (the hero) takes inventory of the resources and tools at your disposal. After all, there are very few people who can take on monumental challenges without help. For Cinderella, this was:

  • Her fairy godmother
  • Some friendly mice
  • A pumpkin.

For me, this has been:

  • MyFitnessPal
  • Fitbit
  • Pinterest

For you, the right tools might be entirely different.

For you, the right tools might be entirely different. No matter what, it’s important to surround yourself with as many resources (tools, information, like-minded friends, etc) as possible so you can truly find what works for you.

Trial & Error

Now this is the challenging part, right? It’d be nice if we could all just snap our fingers and be healthier. But since we’re the hero of our story, we’re obligated to go through a few “battles” before we succeed.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The reality is that sometimes we learn best by finding what doesn’t work for us. This gives us the opportunity to:

  • Move on to a new tactic
  • Try the same concept in a different way, or
  • Revisit a method that didn’t work under previous circumstances but might now

It took me a long time to realize how important Trial & Error was. Now that I do, it’s become my favorite step in The Healthy Hero’s Journey. Using this viewpoint to look back on my prior experiences with no regrets has given me my first sense of peace with my struggle to create a healthy lifestyle.

Reaching the Reward

Now this is the step everyone is waiting for! It’s the achievement of a real lifestyle change. Not just weight loss (if that’s what you’re working toward) but the building of sustainable healthy habits.

Depending on where you are now, this step may seem unattainable but remember – in every good story the hero wins. Your story is no different!

So start thinking now how you’ll celebrate but do yourself a favor and avoid the types of celebrations that got you started through these steps to begin with. 😉


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