What if you could just have a “do over” with your health? What if you could just build it the right way this time? No fluff, no shortcuts. Would you want to?
Perhaps like my journey, your health could use (or need) a fresh start too. That’s what this series is all about!
Taking in the Big Picture
As it usually does, being in January got me thinking big picture again—looking back and looking ahead. I love the idea of a clean slate each year. This time I got to thinking about my health journey, and how it led to this crazy business we have. Reflecting on the major shifts that happened to me over the last almost 14 years now, made me want to sit down and try to capture some of the major lessons and shifts in my thinking that led to where I currently am today.
I grew up thinking about health the way I imagine most of us did—when I was young, I was invincible. I didn’t think much about my health unless I got a cold or something. Then around the ripe old age of 24 I started developing problems with my shoulder, and the annual cold I caught during the holiday started turning into the quarterly cold.
Looking back it’s not mysterious why my shoulder was falling apart or why I was getting sick so frequently, but at the time, it was not only starting to become concerning it was affecting my confidence and the way I thought about my future.
One of Life’s Most Precious Gifts
There are few things as fundamental to our ability to pursue happiness as our physical well-being. Put simply, if we don’t have your health, the rest of life is not much fun. Since we only get one body to live in, our knowledge of it and determination to care for it will ultimately determine a large measure of the quality of life we will or will not enjoy. In my mid 20s I started being forced to learn these lessons.
A Unique Observation Platform
Fast-forwarding a bit (I’ll come back to my story throughout this series), in my line of work, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people at very different ends of the health spectrum. I’ve met and talked with sickly people (young and old), exceptionally fit people (young and “old”); I’ve seen people lost in the hopelessness of illness and obesity, some bitter about life and some in love with life – and one thing I can tell you is that good health is precious. It’s personal, and no one on the planet is uninterested in having it.
No one enjoys disease and dysfunction, yet we are all vulnerable to these conditions if the situation is right. In that light, discussing the topic of health puts us all on more or less the same level… the human level. So maybe, in a quest to make the world a better place, coming to understand health a little better is a good place to start.
What Makes or Breaks Health?
So, where do we start the quest for important health knowledge? I suppose there are lots of places we could start, but I like a quote by the World Health Organization. I think it summarizes the modern quest for vitality quite well. It says: There are two obstacles to vibrant health and longevity: Ignorance and Complacency. These two things (particularly the first) were a big part of my story.
What may be most interesting about this quote is what they did not say. Curiously, they did not mention genetics, economic status or lack of access to medical care as obstacles to vibrant health and longevity. No, instead they mentioned the two things that we as individuals have the most control over: our knowledge and our attitude.
At least on this topic, ignorance is not bliss, and apathy leads us to an early demise. To be sure, there are other factors that affect our health besides these two, but it is our decision to educate ourselves and take personal responsibility that will ultimately build our health. What wonderful news!
Finding the Right Goals
This month (I’m writing this in January) is all about the chance to start off with a clean slate. Since we are embarking on a new year, maybe now is the time to step back, exhale and decide to focus on a few particular actions to tear down those obstacles.
Like I had to learn to do all those years ago, maybe better than a resolution to “eat right” or “exercise more”, it would be more productive to make it a point to simply always be learning something new about healthy living. It’s much easier to make healthy choices when you’ve discovered compelling knowledge about how the choices you make affect your health.
Listening to Your Heart
Maybe a better resolution than to “try harder” would be to savor those moments between asleep and awake when your heart dares speak up about what it is truly longing for. Perhaps in those honest moments, you can discover the motivators that stir you out of complacency.
Just like it’s much easier to talk yourself into eating well if you know why, it’s also helpful to remember to listen to your heart about why it matters to you to do that in the first place. That is as good a way to fight ignorance and complacency as I can think of.
Attacking Ignorance and Complacency Head On
Perhaps on your clean slate for the upcoming year, you draw a vertical line down the middle and write “Knowledge” on one side and “Motivators” on the other. Under knowledge you can write areas where you need to deepen your understanding. Under Motivators you can list the things that inspire you to keep going. These antitheses of ignorance and complacency can represent the framework for how you will improve your health in the next twelve months.
To help you fill both sides as full as possible throughout the year, this series will provide an opportunity to work on the Knowledge side by helping you zoom out and look at health from several different angles you may not have considered, and offer some historical context. For the Motivators side I’ll do my best to ask you thoughtful questions to help you get at what drives you. My hope is that through what’s ahead you will find a bit of bedrock from which to make informed, emotionally satisfying decisions.
You will know the bits of bedrock when you read them because they will resonate deeply with you. When you read them, they are the ideas or principles worthy of a place on your slate. They are the fundamental underpinnings of great health that the exceptionally healthy already know and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Here’s to a great year.
Please do let me know what information makes the biggest difference in your life. The more I know the better I can write.
If I can be a help to you, feel free to hit me up on Facebook or email me at Christian@true-hw.com. You can also check out my coaching services at http://www.true-hw.com/lifecoaching