You haul yourself out of bed, drink a cup of coffee, rush to the car, get to work, turn on your computer, answer your e-mails, do your job, grab a quick lunch, struggle to focus all afternoon, drive to the dry cleaners, stop at the grocery store, go home, fix dinner, watch a little TV, and drop into bed to rest a bit before getting up and doing it all again.
And then it’s the weekend. What happens? You may do some chores or watch some television, but on Sunday night, you begin to feel the weight of the coming week bearing down you. Your workday is 12 hours away, but the stress and anxiety of tomorrow is already here.
Let’s get some perspective on our modern lives by getting out the time machine and taking a peek at our caveman ancestors. Ten thousand years ago, those early humans had to work hard for food, shelter, and protection. As a result, they were in shape, lean, alert, and robust. But they also had leisure time. They enjoyed the sun and made art and music and told stories. The lifestyle of hunting and gathering actually meant a great deal of downtime.
Now, look at us. Our generation is the first to rank our quality of life as lower than that of our parents.
How did this happen?
Well, here I go again with my familiar refrain. It comes down to our love affair with technology. We’ve become used to measuring success by our possessions, our house, our car, our income and our position. As a result, our preoccupation with having the best or the latest has taken us away from what really matters.
So, let’s try and answer that question first: Do you know what really matters to you?
Sadly, many of us don’t have any idea.
And if we do try, what answer do we come up with? For many, it’s financial security, or the resources to be able to buy whatever they desire. But if you dig a little deeper and ask why they want those things, their answer is more fundamental. They believe that those things will make them feel better, happier, or more secure.
Well, I have an important message for you.
First of all, money and material goods won’t make you happy if you’re unhappy to begin with.
Second, in our lives, there’s no such thing as security.
So, why am I telling you all this? Because I want to help you create not only optimal health but also optimal wellbeing for yourself and for the people who matter to you. And as a physician and lifestyle professional, I’ve found that if an individual is not on purpose in their life, helping them create long-term health is an uphill battle. Conversely, aligning your mind with your heart’s desire is a powerful force that can do much to support a lifetime of health.
I’m asking you difficult questions, and I don’t expect you to have the answers in this moment, but I want to plant the seed. I want you to begin thinking about your purpose—what it is today and what it could be in the future—so that you can start to shift your mind and your choices into alignment with that purpose. This is a critical part of the Habits of Health because purpose, when its harnessed, can help you in all aspects of your wellbeing.
But, starting today, begin to reflect. And then evaluate how your choices do or do not align with your chosen purpose. With this new perspective, you will begin to find that making the healthier choices is less difficult.
And that’s just the beginning.