Tag Archives: motivation

Health: Overcoming the resistances to healthy living

In this penultimate health post, we will spend some time on the resistances that people are likely to experience when starting to build towards optimal health. Most of the resistances are related to the macro-environment we live in today with all of its junk food, factory farming and GMO subsidies, sedentary jobs and sedentary leisure activities. This entire series of personal health posts have been fighting this powerful enemy and this post will be no different. Let’s take a look:

Convenience

Our world has become completely obsessed with convenience. Things like preparing your own healthy food and cycling to work are simply seen as way too much effort. For leisure, it is simply much more convenient to just plop down in front of the TV than to get some friends together for a friendly game of football. Besides, tearing all of your friends away from their own TV’s will be a real mission.

As always, the solution is simply to discipline yourself for a short while to create a micro-environment where these factors are not an issue anymore. Learn some quick, easy and healthy recipes, buy yourself a nice e-bike, join a local social sports team and, if you are really serious about this, throw out your TV. Only a few weekends of building such an environment will grant you a lifetime of automatic and self-sustaining personal health. Just do it.

Practicality

We have managed to make unhealthy living so incredibly practical that it has simply become the default choice. Drive-through fast food joints, soda vending machines at schools, home movie theaters with streamed movies, escalators and elevators in every building with more than two floors… I mean, when it comes to commercializing unhealthy living, we are the champs. On the other hand, organic produce can be hard to find and many destinations within our modern cities can only be reached by car.

This is a real problem for which there unfortunately are no quick fixes, but you can again go a long way by simply designing a healthy micro-environment as advocated throughout the entire series of health posts. The ultimate in micro-environment design (which we will look at later) is selecting your home in a location especially suited for making happy, healthy, wealthy and sustainable living as practical as at all possible. Solutions such as these are lot of effort, but in the long run, they are certainly worth it.

Cost

Most people will find unhealthy eating to be a lot cheaper than healthy eating. Government subsidies, unethical production methods and chemical fertilizers/pesticides all contribute to the low cost of unhealthy foods. This is an unfortunate modern reality we have to deal with.

However, since your health is arguably your most precious possession, going cheap on your food is not exactly the smartest idea. Unfortunately, due to our socialistic healthcare systems, really looking after yourself does not give the kind of direct financial returns that it should, but healthy living will still save you a lot of money through reduced medical expenses (and also increase your earning capacity).

Also keep in mind that a growing demand for organic plant-based whole foods will lead directly to large-scale production which will increase the availability and decrease the price. Yes, those front-runners who pave the way towards healthy living will have to carry some extra weight, but, as more and more people join, the journey will become progressively easier and cheaper. 

Fitness example: Motivation

The key to setting up and maintaining a good active fitness environment is making sure that you are exercising for the right reasons. We have gotten stuck in a very worrying cultural trance which labels fitness is this painful thing that we have to force ourselves through in order to look good on the beach this summer. This notion is greatly flawed and is a big part of the reason why developed nations today are so terribly unfit and overweight.

First and foremost, you are setting yourself up for almost certain failure by having good looks as the primary motivation for regular exercise. This form of motivation is inherently self-defeating primarily because it links your happiness to what you think other people might think of you – a true psychological death trap. Also, since the source of motivation is wholly external, it will only last as long as the external factors driving it are strong enough (hence the many yo-yo diets we see today).

No, the principal motivation for good fitness should come from a fully internal drive towards optimal health – a state where your most precious possession, your body, is fully optimized and operating at maximum efficiency. This form of motivation is always with you and is not dependent on any outside factors.

Secondly, you can be sure that exercise can be a lot of fun. As mentioned before, I think exercise is the healthiest and purest form of recreation available to humankind today and a radical shift in our cultural conditioning is sorely needed in this respect. The image of fitness has to be transformed from painful and boring running on a treadmill in a gym to challenging and enjoyable social sports events with friends. There is a myriad of sports available out there to suit everyone’s liking and fitness levels.

Personally, I never think of good looks as a motivation to exercise. My understanding of the crucial importance of exercise for optimal health has truly made daily exercise as natural as breathing. It simply must happen. And then of course I always make sure that exercise is as much fun as possible just to ensure that my healthy fitness environment is completely indestructible. Yes, it is fun to have solid sixpack abs and to feel completely comfortable in any clothing, but these are just small bonuses that come as a result of the ultimate prize: optimal health.

To further illustrate this point, the next four example posts will describe my active fitness environment as divided into the four categories discussed in a previous post: aerobic, anaerobic, flexibility and skills. I hope these examples will help you to set up something similar of your own.

Three key motivations for vibrant health

Every health program comes standard with a little motivational section. So, in keeping with the tradition, please find below a short outline of three key reasons why you should make your health your top priority.

1. Healthy at 100

The magical 100 mark is a good goal to strive towards, but just reaching 100 is not enough – you should aim to be healthy and fully independent at 100. One of the primary ills of aging is the childlike dependence that many seniors are reduced to by degenerative disease. Remember that we in the developed world bring almost all of our diseases upon ourselves through our terribly unhealthy consumption habits and sedentary lifestyles. The choice between becoming a wise, independent, healthy and respected elder  or a senile, childishly dependent, permanently suffering and pitied old soul is therefore largely in your hands. 

2. Be an asset to society

The success of a society is simply the difference between the contributions of those citizens who are assets and those citizens who are liabilities. This might seem a bit blunt, but the reason why western nations are becoming insolvent is simply because the people who are assets (paying taxes) cannot keep up with the people who are liabilities (drawing various forms of welfare). Medicare and Medicaid is a large part of this welfare expense and the US government currently pays a full 36% of all its tax revenues directly back into this ever growing black hole. In total, close to one in every five American dollars are spent on healthcare. It is therefore very simple: look after your health to minimize your withdrawals and maximize your productive contributions to society. Your health is the difference between being an asset and being a liability.

3. Healthy self esteem

Looking good is universally accepted as the primary motivation for maintaining a healthy weight. This highly egotistical and superficial source of motivation drives millions of crash diets, turns over billions of dollars and, surprise-surprise, has failed dismally in halting the rising tide of fatness sweeping across the globe. Sure, being in vibrant health will get you looking awesome, but this really is just a little bonus on the side. Your primary self-esteem boost should come from having a fully functioning and able body/mind and being a massive asset to your community. These are real and authentic motivations for weight-loss and are guaranteed to work much better than the egotistical source promoted by Photoshopped supermodels in fashion magazines.

So, strive for vibrant health and watch your value to society increase with time like a good red wine and your self esteem grow like the overweight trendline of the western world. Health is the foundation on which you build your life. Make sure it is solid.