Take Charge of Your Health and Happiness

Image and words by Shannan Ponton

Image and words by Shannan Ponton

How much of your happiness is dependent on getting something or somewhere? This is the question posed by celebrity fitness trainer Shannan Ponton from Australia’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ TV show.

Many people pin their hopes of happiness on some place or circumstance in the future, rather than being present and making the most of each day. 

Take, for example, someone in an unhappy relationship - ‘I’ll be happy when we get… engaged’, turns into ‘I’ll be happy when we get… married’ then, ‘I’ll be happy when we… move out of this small apartment’ and turns into, ‘It’ll be better when… we have kids’ to ‘fill our big house’, and ‘… when the kids finish school so we can travel’. 

Suddenly you have wished away 15, 20, 30, 40 years of your life because you were never happy in that moment. Life is not a dress rehearsal; you don’t get to do it again.

Waiting for happiness to come in the form of a partner, house, baby, car or job means you’re linking your definition of happiness to people, events and possessions that may never actually occur. 

A hypothesis, a dream. When you get that external ‘thing’, it may provide temporary relief and momentary happiness, but it doesn’t last because you’re reliant on the next ‘thing’ to fill you up again. 

The same is true for health, fitness and weight loss. Thinking you’ll finally be happy when you lose the weight and reach that dress size you dream of, implies you’ll only be happy when you reach a future destination. What about all those wonderful days until then? Just mope around and be a pain in the… But, if you embark on your weight-loss journey from the viewpoint of feeling good each and every day because you’re taking steps to take care of yourself, you can start experiencing happiness right now. With every step you take, every healthy meal you eat and every small goal you achieve along the way.

See the difference? ‘Taking care of myself makes me happy’, is very different to ‘I’ll be happy when I lose 40 kilograms’. ‘Going for a walk each day makes me happy’, is very different to ‘I’ll be happy when I’m fit’. 

A journey is not defined by reaching the destination; it’s the sum of your experiences and what you learn along the way that makes the journey.