At this time of the year, millions, perhaps billions, of people around the world are greeting one another with the words “Happy Holidays.”
It’s a wonderful sentiment to pass along, but it should not be reserved for a couple of weeks at the end of the year. The more important questions are: “Are you as happy and healthy as you could be or want to be? Or are you guilty of slowly killing yourself off?”
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.
Yes, you can change. You can be happier. You can be healthier. You can have more of the “Happy Holidays” every day of your life when you tap into four little, but powerful secrets.
► Secret #1: Overcome inertia.
In other words, you must become more alert than inert. Get off your butt. Overcome laziness, if that happens to be true of you. After all, it’s easier to keep up your unhealthy habits than change them.
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 … and following the extra sanitary protocols you need to follow to avoid COVID-19.
► Secret #2: Visualize health.
Take a few moments every once in a while to picture yourself as whole, healthy, and well, whether or not you are. You might even repeat an affirmation to yourself, something like: “I am filled with energy, vitality, and 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 speaking, consulting, coaching and writing 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 (last year, before many of the stores were locked down). 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.
Every day you make dozens of decisions that affect your health. Those decisions will build you up or tear you down.
A conscious choice that many people have made … and rave about the results … is to participate in my Champion Edge Master Class. For example, Mark Matter, the Director of Continuous Improvement from Universal Strap, says,
“I attended your class, and this is by far the most helpful seminar I have ever attended. I’ve gotten several great results, but you may be interested in a few of them. I used to be very sluggish and could easily spend nights on the recliner. Now it’s nothing to be out in the garage working until 10 or 11 on projects. My coworkers tell me I’m more upbeat. I’ve become a better listener, using positive communication techniques, setting goals, and using the 6 practices taught in The Champion Edge. Thanks Dr. Zimmerman.”
So yes, make conscious choices if you want to be happier and healthier.
Unfortunately, most 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 comedian 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.
It will always improve your health.
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?”
So let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year … with the reminder that there is a lot you can do to ensure a happier new year.