“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.
The physical pillar of fitness comprises three realms:
- Health – Sleep | Diet | Exercise
- Finances – Cash Flow | Debt | Investments
- Play – Recreation | Hobbies | Entertainment
First, you need to assess where you currently are with respect to each realm. Some questions are:
- How much sleep do you get?
- What is the quality of your rest?
- How is your health?
- When was the last time you had a complete physical?
- What is your exercise program?
- What do you eat on a regular basis?
- How much income do you receive from salary, interest and investments, pensions, etc?
- What are your expenses?
- What preparations have you made for the future: emergencies, buying a house or car, retirement, etc?
- 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:
- BBC News – Health
- Food Network Healthy Living Blog
- WebMD Health
- The Wall Street Journal
- Entrepreneur Magazine
- Forbes - Entrepreneurs
If you would like a digest of what I consider the most relevant information from these and other quality sources consider following me on Twitter.
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.
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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