Most people answer “no” to the first question, and if they’re honest, would have to say “yes” to the second question.
Ron Goetzel, vice president of the Medstat Group in Washington D.C., a health information company, found that our nation spends 25% of its total health care tab on medical care for unhealthy habits. That’s almost a trillion dollars a year. What a stupid waste of money! And life itself!
To get more specific, Goetzel studied 46,000 employees, from six different companies, for six years. He found out that the unhealthy habits of these employees cost their employers millions and millions of dollars each year. Sadder yet, all of those costs were unnecessary because all of the habits were changeable.
I show you exactly how to get rid of your bad habits and sickening stress in my program called Take This Job and Love It! How to Keep Your Balance in a Stressed-Out World.
For the moment, however, I want you to know that you can change. You can be happier. You can journey to greater health … if you tap into four little but powerful secrets.
Secret #1: Overcome Inertia.
To overcome inertia, remind yourself that you do not want a life of mediocre health … that you do not like being ill … that you do not enjoy pain and suffering. Remind yourself that you want to live life to the fullest and you will stop taking your health for granted.
Stop fooling yourself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your less-than-stellar health just happened. Dr. Paul Tournier said, “Most illnesses do not, as is generally thought, come like a bolt out of the blue. The ground is prepared for years through faulty diet, intemperance, overwork, and moral conflicts, slowly eroding the subject’s vitality.”
Certainly, we all have to deal with genetics, accidents, and other factors over which we have no control. But you can make huge, positive changes in your overall health by cutting out your unhealthy habits.
Secret #2: Visualize Health.
What you are doing is laying the groundwork for good health … because your health (indeed, your whole life) is strongly influenced by your thoughts.
If you dwell on how badly you feel, you will make yourself sick, even if you’re not. And if you focus on how tired you are, you’ll get more tired.
When you think thoughts of health, however, you go a long way towards being healthier. When you think energy, you will have more energy.
Almost every day, at one of my programs, someone will ask me about my energy level. They wonder how I keep it up, day after day, year after year, despite my heavy travel schedule. The answer is simple. I don’t think about how tired I “should” feel or how much jet lag I “should” have. I never get jet lag. I just don’t think about it.
So ask yourself, “Are your thoughts leading you towards health or towards illness?”
Two sisters went Christmas shopping together. One said, “Isn’t it fun? The crowds in the street, the throngs in the stores, and all the new things that are on display. I love to watch people as they shop.” The other sister remarked, “The crowds drive me crazy! You can hardly move there are so many people. Things are overpriced and all they’re selling is junk. I’m tired and my feet hurt.”
The next day, the first sister felt fine. The other one went back to bed with a headache. I wonder how much their thoughts contributed to their outcomes.
Secret #3: Make Conscious Choices.
Unfortunately, most of those decisions are so subtle that you don’t make them consciously. You may not even stop to think whether the food you are putting in your mouth is adding to or subtracting from your health.
You need to get off autopilot and make conscious choices. Take exercise, for example. Instead of just getting on the elevator, you may sometimes choose to walk up the stairs. You need to consciously choose what will add to your health.
Of course, some people think this conscious choosing will kill all the fun in life. It’s like the doctor who gave his patient the results of his annual physical. He said, “There’s no reason why you can’t live a completely normal life as long as you don’t try to enjoy it.” Or as Johnny Carson said, “I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the time he killed himself.”
That’s not my point at all. Good choices don’t have to kill all the fun in life. I’m simply saying you can have more health if you consciously choose healthy behaviors more often. Don’t let your unhealthy habits be in automatic control of your life.
Secret #4: Get More Exercise.
But it will also raise your spirits. I’ve asked hundreds of people in my audiences across the country, “Have you ever felt down, discouraged, blue, or depressed after exercising?” Many felt that way before they exercised, but no one ever felt that way afterwards.
And getting exercise is easier than you think. Joey Adams says, “Today’s fashion has made everybody interested in physical fitness. All that stretching, reaching, pulling, bending — and that’s just getting into the jeans.”
The famous author, Jonathan Swift, said, “Every man desires to live long; yet no man desires to be old.” How true!
The good news is you can influence, encourage, and strengthen your happiness and health. The question is “Are you doing it? And if not, when will you start?”
Final Thought: Health is the slowest possible rate at which one can die.