Tag Archives: physical 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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Secret to Lifelong Fitness – For Men and Women

Imagine a group of sailors standing on one foot who reached over and gave the person next to them a nudge. Trust me it was funny since most of them fell down. Exercise number 2: the same group of sailors standing on their two feet and they gave the person next to them a push on the back. Not as many fell but they laughed. Last one: they got in a three-point stance. Despite some good shoves, nobody fell down.

Why the workout? To demonstrate that only a three-legged structure is inherently stable. Consider a four-legged chair. No matter how carefully the legs are measured they will not be the same length so it will rest on three and rock on the fourth. The same is true for five or more. This is the model for your fitness. There are three aspects: physical ∞ mental ∞ spiritual.

Aside from physical steadiness, our mental conception of the world is three-based:

  • In geometry, we learn that two lines cannot define a space. It takes a minimum of three.
  • We live in a three-dimensional world of length, breadth, and height thus a cube is a manifestation of three.
  • Time has three aspects: Past, present, and future.
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In the spiritual realm three has profound significance:

  • The blessing of the Jewish Temple priests has three parts: May G-d bless you and safeguard you, may G-d illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you, may G-d turn His countenance to you and establish peace for you. The societal bedrock of marriage is the joining of a man, a woman, and G-d
  • Buddhism’s foundational elements are known as the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Darma (teachings), and the Sangha (community). One “takes refuge in the triple gem” when committing to the Buddhist path.
  • Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, also described as Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara, are the three gods of the Hindu Triad, personifying the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction.
  • Christianity affirms the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • There are three levels of faith in Islam: Islam, Iman, and I'hsan.

Thus the power of three is manifest in our world. Living intentionally by working within the triadic concept of the Three Pillars of Fitness aligns you with this potent force.

Question: Where else do you see three at work in physical, mental, and spiritual matters?

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How to Get Rid of the Garbage that is Holding You Back

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Trite this may be, but true. You must train for a long run, not a dash. Aspiring entrepreneurs commonly make this mistake. They plan months ahead when their window should be years. Of course, such lengthy preparations will have to be recalibrated frequently.

How to Get Rid of the Garbage that is Holding You Back

Not long ago a dental hygienist cleaned my teeth. During our rather one-sided conversation, she told me plaque is an invisible film on the teeth. If allowed to remain it turns into tartar after 24 to 48 hours. Long-term it will destroy the teeth. She knows the plaque is there if teeth are not smooth. To be effective removing it, she hones her tools after every cleaning since the heat that sterilizes them dulls them. Oral health requires a decades-long plan executed from several times a day to one or twice a year.

Every day you accumulate plaque: on your teeth, in your arteries, but also in your mind and spirit. If not removed in a day or two it calcifies. Left unchecked for months and years it can destroy you. You must remove it, frequently and thoroughly. Here is how:

  1. Work on developing the ability to detect when plaque is accumulating. How do you feel at peak performance? What are the circumstances at such times? What tasks cause the everyday buildup? Which situations cause unusual or rapid accumulation?
  2. Build into your day tasks to minimize the buildup. For your teeth this is easy. Consider prevention against mental and spiritual plaque. A proper amount of sleep is a start. Would a short, daily walk help? Can a bike ride with your children clear cobwebs from your mind? Will a quiet cup of coffee while reading a book for 20 minutes before going home after work suffice? Be intentional about what you do.
  3. Create a plan triggered by special situations. If you are approaching a crazy busy time at work, plan now for what you will do after it is over. Looking forward to a vacation or other activity will reduce the impact of the work and heal the damage.
  4. Periodically change your response. While systemized sterilizing and sharpening of dental tools is best, a human being acclimates to routine reducing its effectiveness.

General George S. Patton planned meticulously knowing that once a battle started opportunities would arise that required changes to the plan. By constantly keeping an eye on the long view while stressing daily conditioning during training, his soldiers were fit to take advantage of favorable circumstances.

Question - How will you prevent getting into a mental or spiritual rut?

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What to Do When Demands of Others Overwhelm You

The holidays are upon us, a time for focusing on others. As the demands increase do you feel resentful, often followed by a sense of guilt? Perhaps it is time to examine selflessness versus selfishness.

What to Do When Demands of Others Overwhelm You

Selflessness Leads to Selfishness

When I was deployed last year one of the most frequent reasons sailors came to see me was they were burnt out.

Maintaining and flying jets and helicopters took at least twelve hours a day. Then they had other military duties like keeping up with new information in their area of expertise and drilling at their damage control station in case the ship was attacked. Demands from friends and family back home often took several hours a day in emails and Facebooking. Throw in laundry and meals and the time usually added up to at over 20 hours, leaving just a few hours for sleep and personal hygiene. Is it any wonder they were at their rope’s end?

I asked them this question: What are you doing to take care of yourself? Almost always I got a blank stare in response.

While it is laudable that they wanted to help relieve their loved ones’ burdens, how effective could they be when they were exhausted and under pressure for the inevitable subpar work performance resulting from too little rest and exercise? For some reason, they could not see the middle ground between being selfish and selfless.

How to Take Care of Yourself

The reality is you cannot serve other people over the long term if you do not take care of yourself. How do you find balance? The Three Pillars of Fitness ™ can be your guide.

Spiritual Fitness:

  1. Do you have a relationship with a higher power? I am not pushing my faith on you, but much of my strength comes from regularly connecting with G-d.
  2. Are you clear about your values? If so, this should help you prioritize whom and how much you can help. Hopefully, you do not value impoverishing yourself to help others.
  3. What is your mission and purpose in life? Is it sustainable?

Mental Fitness:

  1. What is the quality of your relationships with friends and family? Are they mutually supportive rather than continually one-sided?
  2. In what intellectual pursuits and hobbies are you involved? If the answer is none, how do you rejuvenate yourself?
  3. How do you serve your community? Here is an opportunity to be selfless.

Physical Fitness:

  1. Are you getting enough sleep and exercise and are you eating properly?
  2. Are your finances under control? If not, why are you giving money to someone else?
  3. How do you indulge your senses? Here is another source of rejuvenation.

Self-Care Must Precede Helping Others

If you are committed to helping a friend but by doing so you are endangering your professional standing are you really helping anyone? It is not selfish to say no to a friend in order to sustain good job performance. Neither is it uncaring to insist a friend find an additional source of help so that you can get enough sleep and attend to other personal needs.

Note that service to others is only part of overall fitness. When it consumes you, your life is out of balance and eventually you will lose your ability to be helpful.

Question – How do you strike a balance between being selfless and selfish? Please respond below.

 

The Lazy Way to Get Fit

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “He can’t see the forest for the trees.”  “Audaces fortuna iuvat – Fortune favors the bold.”

The Lazy Way to Get Fit

Apparently, only daring things are worth doing. Yet, when it comes to developing new, positive habits, small, incremental changes over the long term typically are more effective and longer lasting.

About a year ago, when I set a goal to earn a platinum medal in the President’s Challenge I started increasing the length and number of my weekly runs. The additional pounding began to give me back trouble, especially if a sat for more than 45 minutes or an hour at a time. I decided to stand for more of the day. After a couple of months, my back felt stronger and I was able to sit for longer periods of time without stiffness and pain.

To go from a sedentary lifestyle to running marathons in a couple of months will probably result in an injury that will make getting and staying physically fit harder than ever before. So here an easy first step to improving fitness and losing weight: stand for more of your day.

According to Livestrong.com, standing instead of sitting burns as many as 50 more calories an hour. Not the kind of reduction that will allow you to eat a banana split every day, but something that almost everyone, no matter their current level of fitness, can do. Start modestly. Stand for a half-hour two or three times during the day. Then build up from there.

New York Times blogger Olivia Judson has an excellent post that explains why standing, or at least not sitting, is much healthier.

Not ready to commit to expensive gym fees? Health needs to improve before you embark on an exercise regimen? Be timid! Just stand up for yourself.

Question – Why do you think only big changes seem to be noteworthy?

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