Tag Archives: improving fitness

How to Achieve Better Health and Financial Well-Being

“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.” Augusten Burroughs

When you decide to live an intentional life, like most big changes typically the difficult part can be getting started. As I mentioned in my previous post, How to Get Your Life Moving in All Areas, I recommend you begin with fitness in the physical pillar. Progress toward goals in this area can be made quickly. Moreover, it is difficult to focus on mental and spiritual fitness when you are concerned about your health or financial matters.

How to Achieve Better Health and Financial Well-Being

The physical pillar of fitness comprises three realms:

  1. Health – Sleep | Diet | Exercise
  2. Finances – Cash Flow | Debt | Investments
  3. Play – Recreation | Hobbies | Entertainment

First, you need to assess where you currently are with respect to each realm. Some questions are:

  1. How much sleep do you get?
  2. What is the quality of your rest?
  3. How is your health?
  4. When was the last time you had a complete physical?
  5. What is your exercise program?
  6. What do you eat on a regular basis?
  7. How much income do you receive from salary, interest and investments, pensions, etc?
  8. What are your expenses?
  9. What preparations have you made for the future: emergencies, buying a house or car, retirement, etc?
  10. What activities do you engage in to relax?

These questions are designed to get you started. As you delve into this pillar you will think of others. You may need to consult with professionals, such as your doctor or financial planner. Chronic or debilitating conditions will complicate your plan to live intentionally, but need not derail it. Next gather sufficient information from reliable sources on such issues as sleep, diet, exercise, personal finances, and hobbies, so that you are comfortable making decisions about your life direction in each realm. Some of the resources I use are:

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Now, start setting goals. Three to five is generally the most you can work on at one time.  For example, you may be trying to get by on four hours of sleep a night but numerous studies show that seven is the minimum amount most adults require. If you want to lose weight, have more energy during the day, be able to work with greater focus, and have more patience with your spouse and children, being properly rested is crucial. So an excellent goal is to get seven hours of sleep a night.

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The essential tool for achieving goals in the physical pillar is self-discipline. Sleep disorders aside, getting the rest you need is a matter of being disciplined about the environment in which you sleep, the preparations you make before bedtime, the time you go to bed, and the time you wake up. It takes 21 days to ingrain a new habit but you should notice a change after as little as a week, perhaps less.

The state of your health, physical condition, finances, and play is essentially a factual matter, The path to improvement is well defined. Because you can control what you say and do it is within your power to improve your physical fitness. You are on the way to building your first solid pillar.

Start right now: Set your first goal toward better fitness in the physical pillar. If you have questions leave them below or email me and we will work together.

Question – How do you build self-discipline?

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Get Rid of Your Worries About the Future Once and For All

“When you will say in your heart, ‘these nations are more numerous than me; how will I be able to drive them out?’ You will not fear from them; you will surely remember what G-d did to Pharaoh and to all of Egypt.” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 7:17-18). Moses reminds the Israelites of their miraculous exodus from Egypt. Is this just a history lesson or travel log?

Get Rid of Your Worries About the Future Once and For All

The parsha for this Sabbath is Eikev. In it, Moses talks about the reward the Children of Israel will reap if they stay true to the mitzvahs, warns them against being seduced by prosperity, and reminds them of their history.

Faith Trumps Worries

Remember Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman and his slogan, “What, me worry?” While his lack of concern about the future is admirable, it probably was not due to bitachon, essentially optimism about the future based on faith. Still, you can achieve the same anxiety-free level if, when you agonize about the future you counter your fears by remembering how G-d helped you in the past.

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This is the essence of Moses’s message. There is no question that the Egyptians were mightier than the peoples who lived in Canaan. By G-d taking the Israelites out of slavery He was showing them that they had no reason to fear.

You Have All You Need for a Successful Life

The broader issue is that G-d gives you all you need in order to successfully navigate His plan. It is only when your desires are greater or different than what G-d currently intends for you that you experience anxiety at a lack of money or other resources. Internalizing the lesson of the Exodus will allow you to move through life with much less pain and worry.

Next time you find yourself fretting about the future, try to remember how G-d helped you solve a similar situation in the past. If you and He were able to conquer life then, surely as a team you can do so now.

Question – How has G-d helped you in the past that you can use to bolster your faith and decrease your worry?

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Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

How to Get Your Life Moving in All Areas

Living intentionally requires continual development of fitness in the physical, mental, and spiritual realms. While they overlap, each has it importance in living a balanced, resilient life. How can you tell if you are there?

How to Get Your Life Moving in All Areas

Benchmarks for Living Intentionally

Some indicators that your plan to live intentionally is working are:

  1. You sleep well
  2. Overall you feel good
  3. You have a positive outlook
  4. What people say and do does not bother you
  5. While you continue to strive you are content with life and the progress you are making

Like most worthwhile goals in life, pursuing an intentional, balanced life can be frustrating since the realms interact and overlap. You need to be like a symphony conductor working to harmonize not only the various sections of your orchestra, but the soloists too. At times, the percussion section will need all your attention and to a great extent the woodwinds and strings will have to play on their own. If you get sick and lose your job or your business declines, rebuilding your health and finances may have to take precedence over advancing your mental and spiritual fitness.

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Or, you may choose to focus intensely on strengthening your marriage. At such a time all other aspects of improving your spiritual fitness, as well as your physical and mental fitness, will be secondary. But eventually you will have to turn your attention back to them lest your orchestra starts playing out of sync or worse some of your musicians, your children or friends, abandon you.

Begin Where You Can See Your Life Moving Soonest

Where do you start? I recommend you begin with the physical realm. It is the easiest one in which to make an impact. Also, without health, financial well-being, and some leisure pursuits, it is difficult to focus on mental and spiritual growth.

Once you have developed the tools for moving your physical fitness in a positive direction, you can begin work on the additional tools you will need to improve your mental fitness. Likewise moving from the mental to the spiritual realm.

With all three realms you will need information so that you can determine what fitness is. You should write an integrated personal mission statement from which the rationale for each of your goals is drawn. The process is similar to writing a business mission statement. Finally, you will need to develop goals to pursue in each of the realms.

It is crucial that initially you do not inscribe your mission and goals in stone. As you begin to work on them you will find conflicts. As well, when you start moving in the direction your mission statement leads, you may find it is not exactly what you had in mind. Periodic, intentional reviews and revisions after an adequate testing period are crucial to successfully creating a holistic plan for living intentionally.

Over the next two weeks I will be writing about the most crucial tools you will need for achieving fitness in each of the three realms: physical | mental | spiritual. I think you will quickly see that there is a back and forth process in which you will have to engage as you move closer to your ideal self.

Here is the key: slow and steady progress. Begin with the physical realm, then proceed through the mental and spiritual realms until you are advancing on all three pillars. Now you are living intentionally.

Question – What aspect of personal development do you think is crucial to living intentionally?

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You Must be Unreasonable Sometimes

You Must be Unreasonable Sometimes

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw

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Question – How do you channel your unreasonableness to move forward?

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The Virtue in Hating

If love conquers all, by what mechanism are injustice, bigotry, and murder destroyed?

You love justice, equality, and life and everything will be okay, right? Movies and music extol the transformative power of love. Perhaps human endeavor would work according to such a noble ideal if it were not for one thing: human nature. You have only to contemplate the behavior of a child to realize that they must be taught to share, be self-controlled, and refrain from self-absorption. All of these are necessary for love to exist.

The Virtue in Hating

Hate has become a much-maligned idea during the previous half century. Yet there is nothing inherently evil in hating. In fact, surely it is meritorious to hate evil. Otherwise, you would have to love or be indifferent to it.

Love and hate are often identified as opposites but in truth the opposite of love is dispassion. Ask married people and they will tell you fighting entails very strong emotions just like love. But the marriage faces doom when one or both spouses become emotionless. Viewed from this perspective, hate sometimes becomes necessary if only to keep a couple together while they flip the coin back to love.

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While most often the micro does not translate well to the macro, in this case societally it becomes evident that in order for love to prevail you must hate those forces that impede it. It is virtuous for you to hate injustice, bigotry, and murder because through loathing they will be demolished.

Question – How does hate impact your ability to love?

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