As a society today, we are so focused on creating financial wealth that we often forget about our personal health. Often our minds are working on making the next deal, or thinking about that upcoming meeting or the next big business opportunity. This results on an undue amount of stress and also, less attention to our overall fitness and wellness.
What if we could have both health and wealth?
We’ve put together a top 10 list of sorts from studies and information gathered from those who have been successful and how they are able to maintain both.
1. How You Think Is Everything.
Always be positive. Think success, not failure. If, for example, you run into a day so hectic that your exercise plans are derailed, don’t focus on the failure of that day. Focus on how to make the next day better.
Take charge of your thoughts instead of feeling overwhelmed. Restrategize. For exercise, develop a shorter, more convenient workout that you can use on unusually busy days. Don’t ever think “All or nothing.” Twenty minutes of activity is far better than none.
2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams And Goals.
Shut your door, turn off the phones, close down the email, and keep it that way for about 30 minutes. It may be the most important 30 minutes of your life. Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
List your exact health goals (weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, exercise level, etc). Print out several copies and tape them to several oft-frequented places, like your computer monitor, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, and full-length mirror.
3. Take Action.
Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started now. Determine the five most important action steps for reaching your goals. Then take one step at a time.
If, for example, Step # 1 is making sure you eat a bowl of hot cereal with fresh fruit every morning, get Step #1 in motion before tackling Step #2. Throw the calorie-dense dry cereals and energy bars currently sitting in your pantry into the trash, or take them to a local food bank.
Then stock up on bags of easy-to-microwave whole-grain hot cereal. When traveling, take a bag and a bowl with you. It’s much easier to stick to your weight-loss goals when you start each day with a breakfast that sticks to your ribs, keeping you fueled and satisfied till noon.
4. Never Stop Learning.
Read as much as you can about health. Take a tour every month through the aisles in your grocery store to see if any new healthful and interesting products have appeared on the shelves.
At farmers’ markets, pick out new fruits and vegetables. Ask the vendors for tips on how to prepare them.
If your exercise program is in a rut, try out new classes, join another gym, or hire a personal trainer.
5. Be Persistent And Work Hard.
Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up. There will be pitfalls, but just as you wouldn’t throw out your career because of a bad day, you don’t want to throw out healthy living when the going gets tough. Setbacks are part of the road to success.
If a well-intentioned colleague celebrates your birthday by baking double-chocolate brownies and bringing them to the office, well, there’s a big difference between eating one, while smiling graciously to the crowd, and eating three and four with your eyes on any leftovers you can smuggle home.
Relapses and setbacks do not equal failure. They only mean you’re human. Get back in the saddle, and praise yourself for all your success so far.
6. Learn To Analyze Details.
Get all the facts. Take time, for instance, to read labels when grocery shopping. Take your time when ordering at restaurants. Don’t let servers or friends rush you. Just two minutes of questions can do wonders for your arteries and your waistline.
Also, don’t believe everything you hear about health, especially if it comes from the media. In a recent analysis of health information on 122 local television news stations, researchers found that the average airtime for health stories was a mere 33 seconds. Moreover, “egregious errors were identified that could harm viewers who relied on the information,” reported lead investigator James M. Pribble, MD, and colleagues at the University of Michigan.
7. Focus Your Time And Money.
As with your professional goals, try not to let other people or events distract you from your health goals. Old habits die hard. It takes time and money to learn new habits. Think about it this way: You invested in the education of your children, and maybe even your grandchildren. For your own midlife and beyond, it’s important to invest in your own education as well.
The fact is, in our fast-food, remote-control culture, it’s only those who arm themselves with an education who have a fighting chance. We live in a world where living healthy is not the norm. No investment is more important – or yields better dividends – than an investment that teaches us how to prevent disease, live well, and love what we’re doing so much that fast food and other unhealthy foods no longer have their pull.
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Innovate. Be Different.
Following the herd is a sure way to not only mediocrity in professional life but also ill health in your private life. Because of typical U.S. eating and drinking habits, the average American has a more than 50% chance of dying of heart disease, two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese, childhood obesity and diabetes are nationwide epidemics, and the lifetime odds of developing high blood pressure are 90%.
Is this the path you want to follow? In a deranged society, it is the sensible person who often gets mocked as “deranged.” (It’s happened to all of us – the snickers, the whispers around the table, “Oh, there she goes again, ordering grilled veggies.”) That’s okay. You know you’re on the right track. You look it. And you can feel it. What else matters? Be different. Be healthy!
9. Deal With And Communicate With People Differently.
No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others. Be willing to join and/or set up support systems to help both you and others. Enlist the help of others, including exercise trainers, cooks, doctors, nutritionists, and enjoy the camaraderie that follows.
10. Be Honest And Dependable. Take Responsibility.
Otherwise, steps “1” through “9” numbers won’t work.
Your health is YOUR responsibility. Take the initiative. Don’t wait for some magic bullet or pill to come along. Remember, the big secret in weight loss and health is:
There is no secret. Just proper diet, lots of exercise, and a healthy, positive attitude.
But there is no better return on your investment.
As the poet Virgil wrote: “The greatest wealth is health.”