Why you should make vitality your top priority

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Why you should make vitality your top priority

The few people who have an active goal setting program which they use to discipline themselves to achieve, tend to outperform those who don’t. The problem some face arises around the criteria they utilise to set those goals in the first place.

Good goal setting should begin with defining your life purpose and your values and then setting goals across different areas of your life.

Thus goal setters should have defined their top 10 values – Vision, family relationships, career progression, money management, continuous education, personal cheerfulness, low stress and health are often on most people’s lists of things they place a high value upon. Take one step further by placing those top 10 values in order from most important to least is also very useful.

In this busy modern world in which we all live we are all too often sucked into prioritising  our career and more wealth before our personal long term health. This is potentially a fatal error – literally. Would you agree that a middle aged billionaire would give up nearly all his wealth for 5 more years of healthy life if told he has an incurable disease and will be dead within the year.

It is often quite difficult to determine your personal health at any given time as there are a wide range of measures. Some people want to be able to look great (however they define that) and some people want to live to a ripe old age without any “issues” along the way. As such I believe that health (absence of illness) alone is not a good goal. Vitality may be much better.

Vitality is defined in a dictionary as “physical or mental vigour, energy, etc”. Hopefully we all know how it feels when you have a lot of vitality – You feel strong, fit, full of energy and have a joy for life.

How do you obtain vitality?

It is a mix of 5 different things which when all improve combine to increase your vitality.

These five things are:

  1. Do no harm
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Sleep
  5. Mind set

Do no harm

This means avoiding smoking, drugs, alcohol, junk food and all other means of poisoning yourself.

Diet and nutrition

There is so much false information circulating that you should seriously investigate the subject in depth yourself. Wrong information leads to incorrect action. It’s all very well saying eat more fruit and vegetables:

  • Which ones give you the most “bang for your buck”?
  • Which foods are worth the extra price of buying organic?
  • What are the best methods of cooking?
  • What’s the difference between good fats and bad fats – be careful on this one.
  • What are the sources of your information? – if its newspapers you are being lazy and will probably end up in trouble.

However, a simple rule of thumb is “eat real food” 95% of the time. This means as close to its natural state as possible. Basically, it must have been hunted (or raised organically), not farmed fish, picked from trees or bushes or dug up. This eliminates all processed food including dairy products, bread, pasta, sweets biscuits etc etc. Start by clearing out your home of all processed foods. try just eliminating all processed food for just a week to see how difficult it is to avoid. Before you eat anything ask the simple question – Is this real food?

Exercise

Another area that is highly misunderstood. Most fitness instructors do not really understand how exercise works at a biochemical and cellular level. Once you understand this in depth you know why distance running is not good exercise but weight training to failure is. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym – 3 x 20 minute high intensity sessions a week (1 upper body weight session. 1 core and lower body weight session and 1 HIIT session) is sufficient to produce and maintain great health provided you do not spend the rest of your waking hours sitting around – get a standing desk is a great step forward. Remember exercise is for health not weight loss – if you need to lose weight you do it in the kitchen.

Sleep

We have all evolved to go to sleep when the sun goes down and awaken when it rises. So get 8 hours of good sleep per night especially if you are over 40. Don’t set an alarm on weekends and wake naturally to help your body catch up if you miss sleep during the week. Sleep is a great and very easy point to start your vitality habits. Setting an alarm to go to bed as well as one to wake up will ensure you get enough sleep.

Mindset

Stress is always self-induced and is generated not by the problem itself but by our thoughts about the problem. When faced when any stressful situation try asking the question – Is this true? In other words are there other possibilities for the perceived situation. Just asking the question removes your mind from the stress of the situation and more into curiosity. Stress and the harmful hormones it generates is a long term killer. Being more organised around your priorities, being compassionate to other people and yourself – knowing you did the best you could at the time and understanding that things go wrong (and it probably will not matter in 10 years anyway) is a mind-set that will lead to less stress. Actively not trying to get everything done and remember to live in the moment and enjoy it is the way forward.

Vitality your top priority

Having read this far you may be thinking – I knew all that (or most of it) already. So the issue is not your knowledge (although it’s still worth improving).

Very simply if you have weight or health problems you probably just don’t have your priorities right now or in the past.

In fact the worse your weight or health is the more you should prioritise it. So it’s more about getting your head right than anything else.

When you slow down enough to think about it, placing a very high priority on improving your vitality in fact making it your top priority will help generate success in nearly every other area of your life:

  • Tired and slow thinking people with low energy don’t tend to get promoted or positively influence other people.- Your career and wealth suffer
  • How often have you been irritable and had an argument at home simply because you lack energy? – Your relationships suffer
  • Do things get on top of you and make you feel miserable because you are tired? – Your general happiness suffers
  • Strong healthy vital people are much less likely to become ill and fight it off faster when they do. They have more fun, more energy and more zest for life.

Unfortunately we live in a toxic environment making it so much easier to make wrong choices around our diet, exercise, sleep and mind-set. You need to fully understand that the deck is stacked against you. The food, drugs and TV industries want you to continue using their products. We all need to be constantly diligent and fully committed to make the right choices until they become habitual. Like all habit building a good support and accountability group will make a big difference.

That’s why making vitality a top priority in your mind and reminding yourself daily of that life priority is so important. Change it in your mind from a should do to a must do.

Making a decision to prioritise all 4 areas of vitality at the same time and continuing to improve in all 5 areas will make a MASSIVE difference to all areas of your life. You just need to make the decision to make vitality your top priority and stick to it. If you sometimes slip back into old habits – it doesn’t matter – just try to understand why, recommit with a tweak to your strategy and start again.

Just keep trying to build great vitality habits – your life depends upon it.

Enjoy the journey.

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