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Knowing your VIP

When VIP are in line with each other we tend to have more peace and happiness in our life, our decisions seem easier, choices have more clarity, and we tend to be more successful with our endeavors. In contrast, when these things are misaligned we tend to have more stress, anxiety, indecisiveness, and tend to be more critical of ourselves. If we

When it comes to our health and fitness goals many of us struggle with a constant sense of internal conflict, called ambivalence. We want to eat better, exercise more, and we know these things are good for us. At the same time we want to distinguish ourselves by putting in extra hours at work in hopes of a raise, enjoy pizza and beer while watching the game on the weekend, or be available to chauffeur around our kids to various activities. We beat ourselves up for falling short on all the things we want, or think we should be able to accomplish.


A few months back as I was transitioning into my role as a business owner things were incredibly stressful and I found myself routinely getting frustrated with my family, other people I'd interact with and the whole pandemic situation we are all dealing with. I couldn’t figure out how to balance the desire to spend time on building and marketing my business with the needs of my children and wife. I have a vision for the future I want for our family and my work is the vehicle that will get us there. So I didn’t know how to stop working. As I talked some of this through during a therapy session it clicked for me. I was so focused on creating a future ideal family life that I was missing out on my family right here and now. Was sacrificing 1, 2, or maybe 5 years of my kids childhood and my relationship with my wife now worth it? While my goals haven’t changed, and the vision for our future hasn’t changed I’ve come to understand that a slower and more balanced path forward is likely a better fit. This realization required me to sit down and think through my values, who I identify as, and my priorities.

Oftentimes this internal conflict is simply due to a lack of acknowledgement of our Values, Identity, and Priorities (VIP). This is one of the earliest things we cover with our nutrition coaching clients to ensure that we are on the same page with what they care about, and what they really want to do.

Values: These are the things that you really care about. Work/career, family, faith, climate change, good craft beer, etc. These are the things you are excited about.

Identity: This is who you are, how you view yourself. This is the description you would likely post on your Instagram profile or a dating website profile. Family man, Spouse, father/mother, runner, gamer, etc. This is your perception of who you are to the world.

Priorities: These are the things that you actually invest in. A good way to look at priorities is how much time, money, or other resources do you pour into various things in your daily life. A journal can be very interesting when it comes to this. Simply recording everything you do from the time you wake up to when you go to bed for 2-3 days can be eye opening. There are many time tracking apps that help you to more conveniently do this as well. Reviewing your monthly financial expenditures can be equally fruitful.


When VIP are in line with each other we tend to have more peace and happiness in our life, our decisions seem easier, choices have more clarity, and we tend to be more successful with our endeavours. In contrast, when these things are misaligned we tend to have more stress, anxiety, indecisiveness, and tend to be more critical of ourselves. If we value our health and fitness, but identify as the life of the party, and prioritize work, poker night, and social media/games we are setting ourselves up for frustration and failure. Here are some simple ways to help get your VIP in order.

Write a list of what “that person” (the person you described with your values and identity list) does? Review your priorities based on where you spend your time, money, and other resources. Where does the list of your ideal person and current self lineup? Where do they differ? Pick the easiest thing that is different on the two lists and attack that. Once that item lines up on both lists move on to the next.


It’s usually helpful to review your values and identity list once or twice each month. These things can often evolve or change, so we want to make sure we keep those and our priorities in sync.


Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CFSC, Pn2


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