We recently wrote about health being more important than your family and your career. We said nothing else affects all areas of life so dramatically like your health. You can lose all of your money and recover, but it only takes one heart attack to end it all. Your family, your ability to provide for your family, and your overall quality of life depend on you prioritizing health first.
I think most people would agree that health should be a priority, but in reality, won’t live by this principle. When you look at the facts, we have to admit that health is rarely our priority.
The vast majority of people, when surveyed, think they eat a very healthy diet. But what’s on their plate and the results in their weight and health tells a different story.
Most people don’t’ exercise enough, even though they know it’s important for their long-term health. However, they find plenty of time for other activities such as watching TV.
I’m certainly not perfect and don’t expect anyone to be. But there is often a big difference between what we say and what we do.
We say health is the most important thing. But our actions show that we value other things more, such as convenience and pleasure. To put health first we have to do a few things:
- We have to believe that health should be a priority – above all other consideration like family, money, leisure, etc.
- We have to believe that we have the power to be healthy. This is not “luck” or “genes” it’s about the daily actions we take.
- We have to make health a priority most of the time. It doesn’t need to be 100% of the time. But you have to find that place where the occasional indulgence is truly occasional and you’re getting the results you want at the same time.
How do you make health a priority?
Here are some practical ways to truly mean it when you say you will make health a priority. Those of you willing to go the extra mile will reap the rewards. It won’t always be easy. But if you truly believe that health should be your number one priority and you have the power to keep yourself happy, then you’ll be able to make it happen.
- Don’t use the “I don’t have time” excuse.
I don’t understand when people say they ate Kraft Dinner because they” didn’t have the time.” It probably takes more time to cook Kraft Dinner than it does to open a can of organic beans, dice an avocado and add it to a salad.
Maybe you don’t always have time to shop. In this case, you should always keep a few foods that are both healthy and easy to fix for those times you truly “don’t have time.” For example, I keep organic canned beans pre-cooked quinoa packages, and frozen vegetables, among other things, for those times. At work and in the car I keep nuts and dried fruits.
Think ahead! The problem is rarely a lack of time, but poor organization.
- Find the time to exercise
Exercise is a different beast. It takes not only time but actual physical energy. And this is where most of us fall short. In reality, the problem is not time, but motivation. That’s why you have to find a program that you’re motivated about — and in this way everyone is different.I realized that I did not do so well with self-motivation when it came to exercise. With food, I’m okay doing everything on my own. But with fitness, I need someone to keep me on track. So I found a fitness instructor that is very knowledgeable and that I trust. You also have to find a workout program that you enjoy and stick with it.
- Don’t keep unhealthy foods at home
There are times when I would eat something unhealthy if it were easily available. But I don’t keep anything unhealthy at home, so it makes it a lot more inconvenient to fall for a craving. Not keeping unhealthy foods in the house is one of the most important ways to make health a priority!
- Spend on your health
It’s funny how much we say that health is a priority but how little we spend on health, such as organic food and fitness programs. Most people consider joining a fitness studio a luxury but consider cable TV or smartphones essential.In Western countries and especially in America, we spend the smallest percentage of our salary on food compared to other nations in the world. I’m not implying that eating healthy is necessarily expensive. But it’s funny how people won’t buy a banana at an airport because it costs one dollar, however, won’t hesitate to spend $7 on a latte and a muffin (i.e. cake) at a coffee shop.
Be willing to invest in your health. If it’s truly a priority, then that means there should be a budget devoted to your self-care. Are there some areas where you could cut down on unnecessary items? Maybe a fitness studio membership or meal plans is what you need to take your health to the next level. If so, spending on this might make more sense than on nights out and junk food.
- Learn to say “no” often!
I once heard a person who had successfully lost a lot of weight and maintained their success long-term say that the secret was “saying no.”
- Saying “no thanks” to food at the office — like donuts brought in by co-workers.
- Saying “no thanks” to seconds.
- Saying “no thanks” to dessert.
- Saying “no thanks” to that third glass of wine.
There are times when saying yes makes sense. But to get there, we have to learn to say no!
- Creating Your Personal Rules
Making decisions is tiresome. It’s best to know in advance how you’re going to react in certain situations before those situations occur!Have a strategy for what you’re going to order at a restaurant in such a situation.
Work out social problems in advance.
If you allow yourself some indulgences, like drinking, decide in advance how that will fit into your life. Perhaps you have a simple rule, like never drinking during the week, or a maximum number of drinks.
Create your rule and stick with them! This strategy puts you in full control of your destiny.
The secret to making your health a priority is no secret at all… Make it a priority!