Friday, March 9, 2012

Hardcore Holistic: Priorities and Responsibilities

That's me being a good uncle!
This series of entries is about making “an uncompromising commitment to health and happiness” and what I mean by this is that people need to make their health and happiness a top priority in life, and take a hardcore, uncompromising attitude towards it.

A main priority in life that we still need to give attention to is our financial security. We need a roof over our heads, shoes on our feet and food on the table, especially if you are a parent. It's hard to be happy and healthy without your finances in order. With that being said though, it's a great misconception in western societies such as ours that more wealth (money + material positions) equals more happiness. Working long stressful hours just to amass more wealth (or quiet likely to have more money to waste on toys) at the expense of time with your family and friends and while neglecting your health is surely NOT the way to create a great life.

The “work : life” balance is critical and while being a productive and contributing member of society who works hard and earns an honest living is an essential part of achieving our goal of a great life, it's important to keep it in perspective. Remember as well that when you are healthy and happy, your performance at work can only improve as you require less time off due to illness, and have more energy and enthusiasm to get stuck into it. You are far more likely to excel at your job if you see it as an important aspect of your amazing life, than as a burden that is holding you back.

For this reason I would say that health & happiness should be a higher priority even than career, and if anything, making health and happiness your top priority can only help your career.

Similarly some people out there reading this might be thinking “I'm sorry, but I have children and they are my top priority”. Well, good! So they should be! However, being a great parent is about setting a great example. If you are determined to live a happy and healthy life and refuse to settle for anything else, doesn't it seem more likely that your children will follow the same path? Conversely if we set the example of being unhealthy, poisoning ourselves with cigarettes, alcohol, junk food and stressful situations, then our children may grow up thinking this is a normal and acceptable way to live.

Rather than having children being a reason to put your own health and happiness on the back burner, it's all the more reason to be determined to do everything right to ensure that not only do you have an amazing life, but they do too. Remember, better health and fitness means being able to spend more quality time together, not less!

Ultimately the message I hope I can get through to people is to step up and take responsibility for your own health and happiness, and absolutely refuse to settle for anything less. It's not always going to be easy, but when the option is to give up and settle for a miserable or mediocre existence, what choice do you have but to dig in and be all the more determined? It's easy to find excuses, or pass the buck to other people but in the end it is up to each and every one of us as individuals to choose the courses of action that will lead to a happier life over the courses of action that will lead to poor health and depression.

Lau Tsu said “the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, seemingly the hardest step”.

That single first step is in making a decision to take control of your life, and sensible eating habits combined with healthy exercise is the next step from which success in all avenues of life flows from.