For fun I googled “Healthy Lifestyle” and in under a second it found 1.4 billion results.
One point four billion.
The top result was Web MD, offering a summary of advice that won’t surprise you. All good recommendations, including laughter and yoga, but nothing earth shattering.
Buried at the tail end of the article is what I find to be the author’s key takeaway:
“(1) Your list of healthy lifestyle behaviors may be different from mine. (2) The most important thing to remember is that you can make a difference in your health and well-being. (3) Take charge of your life, and be mindful of small behavior changes that can make your lifestyle a healthier one.”
(1) How you define a healthy lifestyle and how you achieve it will likely not be the same as those around you. Even those in your immediate household, and that’s okay. While looking to others for ideas a support is helpful, you’ll want to have your own plan and strategies that work for you.
(2) Research shows lifestyle factors greatly improve our health. We have control!
(3) It’s like compound interest…small steps lead to big results.
But we must each answer the essential question: What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you and why do you want it?
Do you want to travel when you’re 80? Have energy for more than what you’re doing now? Fit comfortably in your pants? Hike with your sweetie? Be free of medications? Let someone carry your groceries because you want to, not because you have to?
You know how it is. Thinking you should do something because it’s good for you isn’t terribly motivating. I found that out myself – again! – just recently.
I want to offer two options to decide what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you, and why it’s important:
- Health may be one of your top values, which makes the motivation more obvious. Still, define your motivation, then plan your course. Or…
- Health may serve a different value, like adventure. Health allows you to live out the other values that are most important to you.
A healthy lifestyle is so much more than freedom from disease. I wrote a book in 2005 called Achieving Physical Wealth: 8 simple steps to breaking the rules of staying fit, where I said:
“Physical wealth is about your whole life: your energy, confidence, vitality, endurance, strength, health, self-esteem… the way you live your life, how you feel day to day, and how you feel about yourself, and how that impacts every area of your life. Physical wealth is living the life you are meant to have every single day.”
Now that’s a healthy lifestyle!