Jesus’ disciple John preached the good news of God’s love in Christ well into his 90’s.  Even after  he was frail, weak, and could no longer preach, he loved participating in the community gatherings.  Because he was John, the last alive of Jesus’ original disciples, when he showed up everyone wanted to hear from him.

Over and over again at every gathering he attended, all he had to say was “Little children, love one another.”

One day, someone asked why he never said anything new or different.  He replied: “If you do it, it will be enough.”

What else matters?

Apart from love, what else really matters? Good health?  Money? Professional success?

Without love, all the rest is meaningless.

The first questions to ask when it comes to improving your health aren’t about your body–they are about your heart:

Who do you love?

What do you love?

Who and what do you live for?

And, perhaps even–who and what would you be willing to die for?

Many chronic health conditions could be improved and even reversed with  lifestyle changes. Yet, just knowing we should make changes doesn’t motive most of us to do so.

Live long enough to fulfill and enjoy your dreams - eat a vegetable!

Sustainable change is enhanced by linking desired changes to the people and dreams you live for and might even be willing to die for. For instance, what sounds more inspiring — “I’m going to choose broccoli instead of French fries so I can reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease” or “I’m going to choose broccoli instead of fries so I can see my nieces grow up, have kids and take them to Disneyland on their birthdays just like I did with their moms.”

Identifying who and what you love is a good place to begin when starting a new diet or fitness regimen.

What does it look like? Create a list or a collage of pictures that remind you of who and what you love.  Alongside, write down one change you want to make to improve your health.  Make it simple.  Make it achievable.  Make it something you know you can do. Small changes can make a big difference. On a recent trip I met an airport security official who’d lost 40 pounds just by eliminating all fluids except water!  A few suggestions:

Drink a glass of water or green tea instead of a soda or coffee.

Eat a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts instead of candy bar, chips or cookie.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Walk around your neighborhood for 15 minutes either before or after work.

Get to bed by 10 p.m.

Tell one  person you love–and whom you trust will be supportive, not critical–your plan.  Check-in with him/her at a specific time each week (i.e.  email on Friday afternoon with a report).  Commit to  four weeks and see what happens.

If and when you fall short, practice self-compassion. Nobody’s perfect.  Don’t marinate in your failure.  Contrary to popular thought, self-compassion is a better motivator for change than self-criticism.

Wise old John knew that love really is all we need! All things came into being through the love of God the Creator.  The harmony, happiness, and health of everyone and everything increases when we love one another, ourselves, and all of creation.

Practice loving yourself by making one small change for the next four weeks.  Treat your body with the kind of care you really need and deserve.

Please let me know if you do and how it goes.  I know that if you love yourself with the kind of love John was talking about, all things are possible.