The health and fitness industry loves to talk about wellness as an arduous, difficult journey. Influencers talk about the “grind” and repeat mantras like “no pain, no gain.” While this can be motivating for a select group of people, most of us already know that creating health can be hard. We’ve tried and failed, and tried again only to fail again.
Does it take effort to build Habits of Health? Yes, and it takes a few servings of personal growth as well, but effort and growth are much different from pain. Instead of encouraging you to embrace the grind, I want to encourage you to embrace the rewards of optimal wellbeing and to have more joy in your life.
Joy is a Habit of Health
My longtime readers will have heard me say this before: the greatest treasure of optimal wellbeing is the time to create more memories with the people we love. The healthier you are, the better your chances of living a longer, more active lifestyle, meaning you could be out in the yard chasing your grandkids at a time in your life when Habits of Disease are forcing others into a spiral of declining health.
As you build Habits of Health, don’t forget to have fun purely for the sake of having fun.
Mountains of research have found that hobbies and self-enrichment unlock a wide range of health benefits, but let’s put the science aside for now and focus on the human experience. Will a night of boardgames with your family take inches off your waist and change the trajectory of your life?
No, not directly, but that’s not the point. The point of a night of boardgames with your family is to experience that indescribable feeling you get when your daughter laughs so hard she snorts or reveling in an unexpected twist that takes a player from first place to last place, not because you care about who wins but because it’s fun to be competitive about things that don’t really matter.
We could hook you up to sensors and run a bunch of tests to show what these moments do for your physical health – and many researchers have done just that – but I don’t think that’s what makes this part of health compelling. That warmth in your heart, that feeling of being completely and totally present in the moment, is the ultimate reward.
Pause and Look for Reasons to Smile
Fun is different for everyone, so my challenge to you is for you to find those moments of joy in your life and embrace them. Fly a kite. Throw some snowballs. Go to a concert or see a show. Spend a few minutes playing office basketball with balls of paper and a wastebasket. Take the long way home and have a deep conversation with your spouse.
Our lives can be incredibly difficult at times, but I promise that if you look, you can find hidden opportunities to laugh and smile throughout your day. Don’t waste them! Seize those moments and savor them, even if they seem silly or insignificant.