In a previous post (Enabled You- A purpose-driven startup) I laid out the broad strokes of Enabled You (eY). In this post, I’d like to bring you up to speed with some of the thinking behind eY and why habit change is so important.
For us, the question is, how do we create a platform that would be useful enough where people would put the effort required to change their habits? This is much easier said, or typed, than done. So why focus on habit change as a form of empowerment?
Health effects of habit change
According to the WHO 71% of all deaths globally (41 million people) are from noncommunicable disease (NCD’s) and a major contributing factor to this is simply unhealthy lifestyle choices. Essentially habits are what’s contributing to killing a large percentage of people around the world. To me, this is insane. Most of us think of smoking but an even broader and more overlooked example is lifestyle choices. As Thomas Fuller said, “Health is not valued until sickness comes”.
Dr. Mark Hyman writes in his article titled Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease he states: “No one profits from lifestyle medicine, so it is not part of medical education or practice. It should be the foundation of our healthcare system. For example, the recent “EPIC” study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine studied 23000 people’s adherence to 4 simple behaviors (not smoking, exercising 3.5 hours a week, eating a healthy diet [fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and limited amounts of meat], and maintaining a healthy weight . In those adhering to these behaviors, 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes, and 36% of all cancers were prevented.”
Health is much more than just looking good in a bikini or running a 10k, it’s what gives you the energy to live a fulfilling life and pursue your dreams. Health is not the end game, it’s what fuels you to play the game. Personally, both Magnus and I can attest to our quality of life since choosing a lifestyle that avoids asthma and promotes health and well-being.
How to facilitate habit change
I think we all know a few things we are doing in our life that should change yet they remain habits within our daily life. Why is this? I don’t know all the reasons but one thing is true, change is difficult. And creating a platform that would enable change is as equally difficult.
One key component to change is community. As mentioned in the previous post, we borrowed the wraparound model from the field of social work and made it our own. One of the functions of the wraparound model is including people in your life to help give you guidance, support, and accountability. Who else to better cheer you on than your own family and friends? By including them on this journey you have real-life support for those difficult times. And because lifestyle change is difficult, you can bet that you’ll need those around you that you trust to be your biggest cheerleaders.
We want to normalize encouragement. I’m not talking about the “atta boys” you get from friends and family when you tell them you want to run a 5k or become a better parent. I’m talking about vulnerable, life-giving encouragement. What would that look like in your life? Personally, that has looked like my Dad coming to me, putting his “masculine non-emotional personality” to the side, looking into my eyes and saying “Son I am so proud of you”. This hasn’t happened much in my life but when it did it gave me the feeling like I could take on the world! It could also look like a friend sending you a voice memo saying “Jamie, I know what your trying to do seems impossible but let me say that I believe in you and think you have what it takes. Keep it up and don’t give up! This is the type of encouragement and support we want to foster within eY. Imagine a culture where this type of thing is normal. Where friends and family speak life into each other and support one another. Some of you may have this type of community around you, and if you do, do not take it for granted. But many of us don’t and we don’t like that.
So when it comes to this idea of empowerment you can see that it’s much more than offering a program or resources, it must be real, tangible and apart of everyday life. So how do we do this? What we decided the best way to approach this is through an app-based platform that, in and of itself, would simply be a place to facilitate or enable empowerment. This has to be more than just an app. What we are trying to do is create a movement of people who realize they can take control of their lives and achieve incredible things.
We believe that your biggest asset doesn’t come from some bank account your parent’s fund, or the Ivy League school you may pr may not graduated from. Your biggest asset is simply YOU. We want to empower that.
Remember, don’t mistake improbable for impossible. You are greater than previously imagined! Sometimes we just need a little support, guidance, and accountability to get that ball rolling.