Personal health is priceless. Unfortunately most Americans do not see it that way until it is too late. Then all of a sudden it’s catch-up time. “I’ll lose weight, more sleep – absolutely, tomorrow morning I am starting my exercise program and I will not let work stress me out so much,” are some of the promises for prevention renewed with vigor.
How do you keep from becoming one of the millions who suffer from chronic disease as a result of living an unhealthy life? It’s not easy, and surprisingly requires a lot more taking than giving.
Step 1 – Take inventory. Discover what needs to change. Put these needs in priority. Start with the behaviors that are most important, that you have the most confidence in your ability to change, and that you are most ready to tackle.
Step 2 – Take measurements. Get a true sense of where you are today and where you need to be to show progress. Write down your goals and create some simple charts or graphs to give you a quick snapshot of progress as it happens.
Step 3 – Take out an advertisement. Not an ad in the local paper but one with the person you trust the most with your “new you” promise and ask them to support you on this journey. Ask for their brutal honesty.
Step 4 – Take Action. This is the most important step. You must act yourself into a new way of thinking, not think yourself into a new way of acting. Any pace will do and expect setbacks. When they arrive, do not despair. Like your GPS implores you to do when you go off course, “at the next available opportunity make a legal U-Turn.” No judgments, just sound, calm, logical advice.
Step 5 – Take responsibility. It is your body, your health, your life and no one else is responsible but you. Yes, sometimes the environment is toxic or distracting and works against you. Stay with it, stay focused, remember the long-term “why” for your mission and pack an umbrella.
The gift of health is yours alone to take and will fortunately be enjoyed as a precious gift to all those you care for the most.