After a particularly heavy night out recently, I decided to start taking a healthier approach to life. I joined a gym, gave up smoking and started stocking up on fruit and vegetables instead of ready-made meals. Within a month, my enthusiasm had waned and I already had reservations about the gym membership. Health and wellness director of Chiva-Som International, Bruce Hancock, says many people find themselves in similar situations. 'People often tell me they don't exercise because they're too busy,' he says. 'This is simply not true - we've got more time now than years ago. What it actually means is that they do not prioritise their time properly.' For the past four years, Hancock's role at Chiva-Som, in Hua Hin, Thailand, has involved showing people how to incorporate healthy living into their everyday life. He first joined the health and fitness industry 16 years ago, focusing on physical exercise. Eventually, he branched out into natural therapies, counselling, business and life coaching, and teaching performance psychology. 'When people come to our wellness spa, they are often looking for a change,' says Hancock. 'We look at their lifestyle, their needs, what has suited them in the past and that prevents them from being healthy.' Taking all these factors into account allows the Chiva-Som team to work on a regimen that the customer can maintain after they leave the resort. Hancock's expertise in changing people's lifestyles for the better has meant he's heard his fair share of excuses for why people fail to keep up a new health regime. 'People can give all kinds of reasons - from being lazy to being too busy - but the underlying problem is actually fear,' he says. Hancock says people with unhealthy lifestyles tend to have created large support groups of people with similar habits. When they embark on a new lifestyle, there's a possibility that they will not only leave their unsavoury routines behind, but also their friendships. This reluctance to leave their comfort zones could also be linked to a fear of failure. 'When a person's self-esteem is low and they don't feel good about themselves, it's not easy to get motivated and exercise or do anything else that will make them feel good about themselves,' he says. Hancock also cites dysfunctional relationships and unfulfilling jobs as a prevention to being healthy. 'When people are going home or going to unhappy situations every day, they can't easily switch to a feel-good mood,' he says. Unrealistic goals are another reason why enthusiasm fizzles out after a week or two. It's easy to lose interest when the end looks out of reach. But simply recognising the obstacles may not be enough to turn over a new leaf, says Hancock. Being healthy has to be a holistic process. 'To become a healthy person, you need to start from the inside first,' he says. 'When we understand who we are, we can see what needs attention. We often neglect inner selves and only look at the external problems. To be healthy, we need a combination of emotional, physical and body pampering. The first step is to decide whether you really want to be healthy and then make a commitment to yourself.' Then comes a period of questioning, where you have to ask yourself what is stopping you from reaching your goal. 'Asking yourself what you're scared of is very important,' says Hancock. 'It could be failure, what other people will think, or other people's expectations.'