Photocredit:Ricardo Gomez Angel

Taking the first step towards a new healthy lifestyle, or indeed any goal can often be the hardest.

Once you have taken that first step you will have momentum on your side, and the fear of the unknown is quickly replaced with learning that you can do something for the first time. This early success can also encourage and motivate you to keep going.

However, there comes a point after you have started out on your new journey where you haven't quite got the essential long-term established habits in place to sustain you in your new Intentional behaviour. Although you may have come a long way, the end is still way out of sight and it is easy to wonder if you will ever make it and reach your goal.

Seth Godin refers to this as 'the dip',  and devotes a chapter of his short book to say 'If It Is Worth Doing, There’s Probably a Dip'. We know investing in our health and wellbeing is worth 'doing', and we know it is easy to give up in the moment or in the dip.

This 'dip' is the point where we are most likely to ditch the healthy eating option on the menu, put the extra treats in the shopping trolley, have just 'one more' when we know we shouldn't or miss yet another gym session. It doesn't take long before we find we've quickly reverted back to our old 'default' or 'previously learned' behaviours. For some, this is the point where you might be most tempted to give up altogether. In fact, Seth Godin goes on to say, that most people do give up at this point.

Here at Intentional Health, this is the time we see the most benefit in 'scaffolding'

We think of scaffolding as additional external support. It provides support that is outside of yourself and is most helpful when inside you may feel like giving up. It can support you through 'the dip' and is required for just enough time to prevent you from stopping altogether with the intentionally healthy plans until you can do it on your own again.

Scaffolding outside of yourself can take many forms, including things like a checklist, an App, friends, and colleagues, church family or a wider community group, including our own 10 session Intentional Health programme.

There are just 3 parallels to be aware of when looking for 'scaffolding';

  1. Just like on a building site, if you wait until you need scaffolding to arrange it, it will most likely be too late!
  2. Scaffolding doesn't actually provide physical support, it enables access to otherwise not as easily accessible parts.
  3. Scaffolding becomes ugly if you rely on it for longer than you need! (Think about a building that has been finished for a while but the scaffolding hasn't been removed)

With September being the start of a new school year for many, it's a great time to set a new goal. Just make sure you are just as intentional about having your scaffolding in place for when you need help to get you through the dip.

Later this week we will be sending out information to church leaders to join us in our next round of Intentional Health training for community-focused churches taking place end of Oct/Nov 2017. If you'd like to know more when we open registration, please fill in your name and email address below and look out for an email later this week!