Health & Happiness
Pillars of Attainment
This note is for individuals, organizations, and communities in search of a simple guide to achieve optimal health and develop great habits for life. It is not only vital to know what to do to achieve optimal health, but one must also establish the the necessary default habits to apply each day to yield a virile life. This essay provides some tools and habits to add to your internal models.
It is clear that people are seeking ways to improve upon their health by the countless new diet drugs and late night infomercials that promise weight loss and increased performance. This note is not espousing palliatives, rather, tactics people can implement to stave off disease, fix existing maladies, and lead a fulfilled life.
Putting in the time to examine ones own life is what separates man from beast. Self examination allows one to accurately assess if their life and health are what they would like them to be. One puts in the time, the investment, and the discipline in the present in order to reap the rewards in the future. Following the right principles and establishing an effective default routine will lead to a long and healthy life.
Delayed gratification, self discipline, and ascetic practices are the internal forces associated with the habits that are conducive to a life filled with health and happiness for a healthy minds dwells in a healthy body. This is similar to the principles of spending less in the present to save for retirement or fasting from food to extend longevity and reduce disease. Self discipline does not need to be an unpleasant practice, rather self discipline is freeing because you are cognizant of what needs to be adjusted. This allows one to implement the habits and restrictions ala via negativa that are synergistic with ones proclivity.
Throughout my career in health and fitness I was continually astonished by the SHEER amount of knowledge people had pertaining to what constitutes a healthy way of life. Most people knew that they needed to reduce stress, eat “clean”, and exercise on a regular basis. However, I was even more astonished by the percentage of people who did not implement the things they knew would be good for them. Prescriptive application rates were and still are terribly low, this is something not exclusive to health and fitness, it is woefully pervasive in medicine as well.
The reality of modernity is that there is a multitude of information available for people, but the information is often vague, contradictory, biased and difficult to follow for most people. For example someone is told to sleep eight hours a night and at the same time is told they need to work overtime so they advance in their careers. These inconsistencies have led to the current age of excess consumption and poor health. People dont know where to turn for advice that is practical and effective for a healthy way of life. Confusion, which leads to lack of adherence is causing our society to be less productive, less happy and less healthy.
It is possible tobuck the inefficiencies of information and adherence so that one can become happier and healthier. One can do so by constructing a lifestyle that promotes vitality through disciplined habits and constant feedback. It is not a quick fix or magical pill, it is a compilation of strategies and tactics constructed from years of practical application in religions around the globe and rigorous research.
Habits, self-discipline, and willpower are the pillars that lead to success. You can be among the brightest in the world or possess a vast amount of wealth, but if you lack the essential traits mentioned above you will inhibit your ability to live a truly happy and healthy life. Here is why, we are all an accumulation of the habits and routines we go through each second, minute, hour, and day. The details matter of those habits are important. These habits add up to who you and who you will become.
Choose the right habits and routines and you’ll be successful, choose the wrong habits and you may never reach your full potential in regards to health, wealth, and wisdom. Health and happiness are predicated on habits that ensure you are able to make the right decisions all the time, not just when things are going well.
“We are what we repeatedly do, Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
Planning for obstacles will make them much easier to overcome. Now you might say I don’t have time to prepare meals before work or on the weekends. My question to you is what is truly important? Is it the time spent with entertainment or is it the hour mapping out your meals and workouts for the week so that you know you will have the time and energy to accomplish them? Again, its choices, the choice is yours to take control of your life, health, education, and finances.
The business adage of failing to plan is planning to fail holds true in your daily life as well. If you fail to make informed choices and implement the right habits you will wake up one day 30 pounds heavier and depressed- asking what happened and how did I get here? You didn’t implement anything to avoid it. The latter point is very important, the way our society is constructed forces people to take action to ensure they can maintain balance and health. No one is going to do it for you.
Character is described, as what you do when no one is watching- habit is much the same. When things become habitual you do them automatically often times not even realizing it. Things such as hitting the snooze button in the morning versus promptly rising out of bed are habits. Once you take control of each moment of your day you will be happy and not have to live in a constant state of reaction. Take the scenario of a long stressful day at work, upon punching out you have no idea what to eat for dinner. The easy thing to do is grab something quick and easy from your favorite fast food chain, this is a reactionary not progressive. If you were in control of your mind and actions you would have made food earlier in the week to have for dinner or had the ideal meal prepared for you to cook when you get home. Making the decision to have the healthier or wiser choice needs to be made in a clear state of mind either first thing in the morning on the week before.
Adjusting habits and routines may seem daunting but there are a few ways to ease the process. First start compiling a list of things your may consider vices or things you would like to improve. Next start keeping a log of when you do those things and what may trigger or cue it. Journaling daily habits, food, and exercise can be a great tool to optimize certain aspects of your routine. For example every time I feel tired I reach for a glass of wine. Once you are able to identify what triggers certain bad habits we can replace it with something better. Now when you get tired you drink chamomile tea and get to bed a bit earlier to feel well rested tomorrow. This is referred to as a habit loop- a trigger-a routine- and a reward. To further illustrate this point lets map it out: trigger tired, routine wine, reward-calming sensation. New habit loop trigger tired, routine tea, reward calming sensation and longer rest.
Deliberate consistency will lead to success. If something that you are doing isn’t working, take the necessary time to research how to do it better and seek the assistance of some one who is already doing that particular thing at a high level. For instance if your goal is to build your own investment portfolio want and your initial investment fails don’t give up; rather seek at a fiduciary to help you make better decisions and invest wisely. You will be presented with challenges throughout your life but they are insignificant because you have the grit to push through and even learn from mistakes and failures. Determined mindset and confidence would ensure your success in any pursuit.
If you are having trouble sticking to the new routines and habits or getting started in the first place you can pair or sandwich them with things you already enjoy doing or need to do. Examples of this include leisurely entertainment while engaging in exercise. Others such as making your meals for the week while listening to your favorite music are another. For example lifting weights while listening to a new book through your headphones or food prepping healthy meal choices while listening to your favorite James Brown soundtrack. Doing these things together make instituting a new habit easier and more familiar. You crave familiarity and have a hard time embracing change initially. With your personal life such as in business change is needed to grow and become better.
Making things into group or social activities helps them stick as well. You are more likely to learn Chinese if you engage in studying each day with a group of friends or your spouse. The other great aspect of this way of adoption is a built in accountability factor. If someone else knows your goals you will be more compelled to sticking to them, the group will also be there to motivate, help, and hold you accountable if you feel like giving up or slowing down.
Once you are able to identify the routines you would like to improve or develop the implementation needs to start. The best thing to do is act, waiting for the right time or financial situating will only impede the habit formation. Once you decide you want to jog every morning you need to map out how you will start the next morning. This may include putting out your shoes by the door and compiling a playlist of music that will propel you through the activity. Whatever it is you’d like to do you need to start now. Devise the plan, think of the possible challenges, and establish ways to overcome them now so that when they do arise you are ready.
Establishing and following these habits may not be easy for everyone. Time spent through the last ten years dedicated to coaching and teaching people and organizations to choose correctly every time whether that is a meal or a business transaction is what drives this field. If you are prepared, disciplined and stay consistent these things will impact your life in a profoundly positive way. We are not here to teach you how to work better we are here to teach you how to LIVE the best way possible. You now have the opportunity to write the blueprint to your ideal life in all areas such as health, wealth and wisdom. Following basic principles that you outline for yourself in a state of calm and clear headiness will be your guide to virtue.
Ideally people will choose the most rational option every time, unfortunately the majority do not. By reading this note you are already among the few ready to make a change or are looking to improve upon what you are currently doing. No matter your age, gender, financial situation, or current level of health you can adopt these habits and methods to apply to your daily life.