Before you begin your journey to wellness, you need to be clear about where you want to go! If you just say something fluffy like, “I want to feel healthier,” you need to dive deeper because casual intention won’t get you there. Goals need to be more specific. For instance, if you’re overweight, your goal (or one of them) will probably be to lose a certain amount of weight. If you get tired at lunchtime and drag yourself around all day long, you’ll probably want more sustained energy. If you’re in pain, you’ll definitely want to reduce inflammation and get rid of the pain, preferably without drugs.
You can start right now to fix the things you want to change. Whatever you strongly visualize as the newer, younger, healthier version of yourself can come true. You need to want it badly enough to be willing to work for it. It takes a can-do attitude and a warrior spirit because you’ll most likely be needing to break some very old habits.
Don’t let your age be a cover-up for inaction. Never act your age and especially don’t use it as an excuse. “I’m XX years old, so of course I can’t do that.” “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” “I’m doing pretty well for my age.” We’ve all heard them, over and over and over. Defining yourself by your age can be your downfall. If you’re too old to do anything new, you’ll stagnate and likely slip into the health problems you have learned to expect with age. So never say “I’m too old.” Take those three little words right out of your vocabulary.
True stories of a few people I know…
I have a friend from Camp Hill who has been running at least three miles a day for over 30 years, rain or shine. Incredibly, he’s never missed a day! He’s now in his 70’s, thinks he’s a kid, and has no intention of stopping.
While visiting Key West, I watched a man in his mid-80’s walk unassisted and unprotected on a 30 foot long tightrope, 15 feet above the ground. Since I teach balance classes, I know how incredibly difficult this is, especially since everyone knows that people “lose their balance as they age.” He did his tightrope walk most evenings to entertain the crowds, and so far hasn’t fallen off. Maybe nobody ever told him he was too old to balance.
Two friends of mine who happen to take my classes are the picture of health and act like they’re half their age. One rides horses, mucks their stables, and feeds them – all year long. The other is a walker and teaches dyslexic kids as well as English as a Second Language classes. What do they have in common besides a zest for life (and no meds) — they’re both about the turn 80!
The lesson … don’t allow your age to define you and hold you back. You CAN learn new things and create positive change. Too many people get motivated to improve their health a little late, like when the doctor reads them the riot act or when they collapse on the floor and have to be carted off to the emergency room. Don’t you wait for that cataclysmic event to start your fix. Get started now!
Next time we’ll talk about the first steps you can take to clean up your diet. Till then, think hard about your goals.
Written by: Susan Charles, MS Pennsylvania State University and Messiah Lifeways Guest Blogger. After working for 25 years in sales and marketing for IBM and Lexmark, Susan undertook a second career in Wellness with a degree in holistic nutrition along with many fitness certifications with an emphasis on older adult exercise. Her new passion has formed the foundation for public speaking, writing, counseling, and exercise teaching as a second career.