A Simple System For A Healthy Lifestyle
Do you ever wonder how some people make eating well, exercising and other healthy actions look almost effortless? Where do they get the discipline? How much time and money do they invest? How do they even know what to do? And do they actually enjoy all that work? It’s easy to assume that healthy people are naturally motivated, athletic, immune to weight gain and strongly prefer plant-based foods.
The truth is much simpler than any of these assumptions. Most people with healthy lifestyles started out like the rest of us. They’ve just created systems to ensure they take healthy actions day in and day out. Over time they found things they could realistically do, fit them into their routines, and committed to doing them consistently. No debate. No drama. Kind of like brushing your teeth. Oh – but no one’s perfect, so they keep track and course correct as needed.
Honest Health Habits is all about taking a proven, systematic approach to building a healthy lifestyle with lasting results. To do so, I borrow from Stoicism, a “…tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life, rather than some esoteric field of academic inquiry.”
- Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic
Stoicism isn’t about repressing emotions. It’s about taking the right action. Here’s more:
“Stoicism is a set of timeless practical exercises – systems for reducing fear, thoughts for battling destructive thoughts, reminders of things we take for granted, tools for resisting temptation, pillars of strength for tough moments. This meant that Stoicism wasn’t something to be learned once or read once. It was meant to be studied and practiced.”
-Ryan Holiday, The Daily Stoic Journal
I love how the 3 disciplines of Stoicism can play into a healthy lifestyle. Check it out:
1. Mental Clarity - perceive things as they truly are. Healthy Actions: Recognize fear, resistance, self-sabotage and move beyond them.
2. Take Action in areas where we can have an impact. Healthy Actions: Identify your options (there are often more than we realize); dig deep to make real change and sustain it.
3. Use our Will to deal with things we can’t change and to make sound judgments. Healthy Actions: Accept our bodies and what “healthy” looks like to each of us (let go of comparison, perfectionism); prepare for and work around inevitable obstacles.
Stoicism supports realistic, consistent effort vs. intense, unsustainable spurts that often lead back to where we started. No deep study or knowledge is required but learning more about Stoicism can positively impact all areas of your life. Begin with adding a healthy action or curbing an unhealthy one today. Identify barriers and ways to move around them. Define what your healthy lifestyle looks like: more energy, mobility, improved physical exam results, feeling more at ease or whatever makes sense for you. Keep your vision of health in mind as you make daily decisions that impact it.
Next month we’ll dive into what a daily healthy practice looks like and how to fit it into your schedule. In the meantime, simplify vs. complicate and remember every health action counts.