Is a healthy life the foundation for success?
I’ve always maintained that the consistent pursuit a healthy life is the foundation of success. Or a good life, in general. The more active you are, the better you fuel your body, and the more engaged you are in positive environments.. the more you are able to accomplish.
My initial path to living a healthy lifestyle was lifting weights. Still when I hear the word ‘healthy’ what comes to mind first is squats and benchpressing. I started lifting early on in highschool. My motivation was to hit harder in hockey and impress the girls. After a few years it became less about external motivation and more for myself, it became a bit of an addiction.
Don’t get me wrong; the curls have been, and will continue to be, for the girls.
As the years went on I began to care more about other aspects of healthy living. Growing up, I never had much of a taste for fruit and vegetables. But I knew that eating more of each would increase my gains in the weight room. Eventually I began to feel the spillover effects of feeling better, my skin looked healthier and I stopped getting sick.
Next I stumbled upon yoga. As a young – and ignorantly, naive – man I always saw yoga as a female pass time or something for weirdo dudes.
Though I began hearing more and more about it and the benefits. Namely, I heard that hot yoga would shred you up for beach season. Then I considered the fact it was mostly ladies coming in and out of the yoga room in my gym.. Maybe worth a shot.
My first time almost took my life. I couldn’t believe how inflexible I was, and how much of a workout it was. I kept going, and realized not only was it shaping my body.. But I was becoming more flexible and it was benefiting my lifts.
Also the peace of mind I achieved in the room and afterwards was mindblowing – pun intended.
I was pleasantly surprised to find how great I would feel after hot yoga. The massive amount of benefits from meditation, breathing and yoga and just beginning to come to light.
As I continued to lift, eat better and better, and pursue alternate forms of exercise, I found I was much more in touch with my body.
I could tell when certain muscle groups needed some rest, when some needed work and how each exercise directly or indirectly influenced various muscles.
I began to feel my hangovers much more. I could instantly feel the effects of eating unhealthy food – and how great I felt from consuming wholesome foods. I began to crave plain and healthier food.
I could feel when I was about to become sick, sooner, and my body almost spoke to me for certain foods to combat the coming sickness.
Indirectly I began discovering breathing and meditation from yoga. I became much more aware of negative thoughts and their consequences. I was able to grasp the concept of having a bad day, or the chemical imbalances as consequences of less than healthy decisions, rather than jumping to the conclusion of depression.
Overall, I became a much happier person, and began pursuing more positive endeavours. And less and less negatives ones. Happy people were much more relatable. Negative people gave me anxiety.
Just do it..
Everyone approaches a healthy life from a bit of a different direction. But if you continue down this path it becomes less of a ‘diet’ and more of a lifestyle. Getting to the gym 5 times a week seems like an unbearable chore at first. But once you start seeing results, get over the mental aspect of comparing your progress to other peoples, and feel the high of strenuous exercise..
You might just come to find exercise is better than your favorite drug.
Making your own lunches and removing all the ‘fun’ stuff from your diet becomes less torture and more common sense once it becomes habit. And it will become habit.
‘It takes 21 days to make, or break, a habit’
And if you are a guy who couldn’t imagine letting his buddies know he went to hot yoga, once you get over that social construct.. You’re life will never be the same.
For the better.
The physical and mental benefits of breathing, meditation and yoga that I spoke about earlier are too much to dive into here in this post. I’ll tackle that another day.
Mindset, baby. Mindset..
So far I’ve touched on more of the physical aspects of living a healthy life. But working out your mind and keeping your mental healthy are just as important – if not considerably more!
Its typical to say ‘just stay positive’ or ‘ignore the negative thoughts’. But that’s easier said than done and kind of bullshit in my opinion. Negative thoughts and lack of motivation stem from deeper issues that you need to actively work against.
One of your biggest weapon’s in the moments of low are to remember that when they do come, they only come to pass.
In my non-professional opinion, not only does a healthy diet and exercise improve the mental, but so does learning.
As a man Thinketh..
Continued learning has shown to slow, or prevent cognitive decline in elderly people.
It is also found that learning throughout your life is associated with more satisfaction in life, optimism and the ability to deal with your surroundings. And it’s useful.
Learning what? Well I’d say anything. But I would suggest since you can’t do it all, to spend more of your time learning a new skill that will aid you in your path. But something taken up for pure enjoyment such as learning a new instrument or language will benefit you nonetheless.
I’m having a hard time finding a situation in knowing how to play the guitar would hurt you in living a great life.
Hit the books, kid..
Reading. I cannot and will not stop stressing how important reading is. Never have I put down a book or exited an article online (okay, maybe a few times. There is some useless stuff on the internet) without feeling a sense of wonder or stimulated from thought.
Reading increases your vocabulary and perspective. This usually helps with compassion and conscience, which should increase your mental healthiness.
The more you train..
The better you eat..
The more you learn..
The more you do for yourself that’s positively affecting your health..
..The better you will live long term.
No doubt crushing a double-bacon-cheese burger, or drinking all night with friends will bring you some immediate happiness. I fully support, and indulge in, just that myself from time to time. But your foundation should be comprised of the healthy side of life if you really want that long term happiness and success.