Your Mindset: The Foundation of Better Health
Did you know you can reduce your risk of premature death from chronic disease by up to 80%? Eating nutritious foods, being physically active, and avoiding smoking have the biggest impact. Additional factors include quality sleep, managing stress, having meaningful relationships and avoiding excess alcohol.
Unfortunately, many of us misunderstand the impact we have on our health. Seems like everyone should quit debating and align to clear up the confusion, right? Why are people allowed to needlessly suffer from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other major health issues? Why is it so hard to learn how to improve our health, take action and enjoy the results?
Well, there are many reputable sources sharing the truth about health, in terms of the impact you can have and actions you can take to pull it off. True Health Initiative is a fantastic source and I love their mission statement:
“We are a global coalition of world-renowned experts, fighting fake facts and combating false doubts to create a world free of preventable diseases, using the time-honored, evidence-based, fundamentals of lifestyle and medicine.”
Harvard School of Public Health and the American Heart Association are a couple of other great sources with fact-based actionable information. All of these sources agree on the value of a plant-based, whole food diet, daily physical activity and the other core components that can reduce early death risk by up to 80%. Blue Zones focuses on many of the complimentary areas, like meaningful relationships and moving naturally throughout the day.
Great, but knowing healthy things we can do isn’t the same as figuring out how to actually start and stick with them. That requires change and ongoing, consistent effort. And this is where your mindset comes in. It really can make or break your quest for better health.
Mindset is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. It starts with committing to what we need to do (eat well and move more vs. taking shortcuts or doing nothing). It continues with having an open attitude about change. You don’t need to love getting up early to exercise but if you think it’s a horrible way to start the day, it will be. (You might even be able to ruin the entire morning!) On the other hand, this early ‘win’ can make you feel great and ready to tackle the day. And no one’s saying you have to work out first thing. Just fit it in when it’s best for you.
Your mindset may matter most as you experiment with new things. Some stuff won’t work. Last week I thought I might finally enjoy squash. Nope. When something doesn’t work, double down on what is working and be curious enough to try other new things as you can. Your mindset pushes you through setbacks. If you went for the fries instead of the side salad with your meal, just have a salad later or a big one the next day. No reason to write off the rest of the day, week or month when you have a setback.
Finally, your mindset impacts how you treat yourself. This starts with your worthiness and extends into your daily self-talk. Push yourself in a way that works for you. I once did a 5K and heard a man behind me saying, “You can do this, Tiger” over and over. I pictured him helping his kid along in the race. Then he passed me. Solo. He was Tiger!! I loved it! I now give myself the Tiger Talk (mostly in my head). Perfect balance of firm encouragement with humor to lighten the mood. It works. Try it!
Do an additional healthy thing today. Eat an apple. Take a walk. Or skip something not-so-healthy. Open yourself up to experiment, practice, and learn what works. Add more stuff as you can. Then, stick with it. I’ll see you out there, Tiger!