That New Year’s resolution you formulated at the beginning of the year, the one about reaching ‘’body goals’’ or finally tackling the comrade’s marathon? Have you any luck in realizing it? You see, we are constantly at odds with where we want to be health-wise and execution thereof. The effectiveness of a New Year’s resolution rests comfortably in the execution – you need to start! I have started and It is my absolute pleasure to reveal a fool-proof plan to help you start as well: Exercise for 20 minutes, five days a week. That is, it! That is all you need to meet your goals. However, that is only the first step to having a healthier and improved you. As a proponent of healthy living (and the FBA), I have certain steps for you to follow, that I believe, will set you right on track to achieving your health goals, holistically.
Now that you have the exercising bit out of the way (which is important), the next step to your holistic exercise regimen is meditation. Meditation is something I truly appreciate. We are told, on a regular basis, that productivity pertains to being busy all-the-time, and that maintaining a high labour output without rest is admirable (think, Elon Musk). This protestant work-ethic is a common theme in this highly competitive world we live in, however, I would like to dispute it. It is not entirely true to say that you should be toiling every so often – you need to make time to do nothing as well. Yes, you read that right. Dr. Deepak Chopra, mindfulness guru, explicates how sitting quietly can make you look better: ‘What we think of as “normal” ageing in our society is not really normal. It’s the psychopathology of a person who is totally stressed out. My research indicates that meditating slows cell death, lowering your “biological age”, which dictates how you look and feel. It allows the body to heal itself. Start with five minutes every morning.’ As you can see, the fountain of youth quite ostensibly lays in the act of doing absolutely nothing. Meditation is not to be construed as pure idleness but must be seen as an act of improving mindfulness: of yourself and your surroundings.
With exercise and meditation out of the way, we move on to the fun part! And that is food. You are what you eat. That saying holds true for all leaders aspiring to be better versions of themselves. Food is meant to be a fuel to boost your activity, whether it may be in the workplace or the playground. Now, I will not tell you what to eat, but instead, I will tell you what not to eat. How is that? The food you must be critical of and perhaps completely cut out from your diet is sugar. Sugar is your gut’s public enemy number one. It makes you fat. And not only fat but unhealthy in other ways that prove to be harmful to your wellbeing. Sugar is terrible; it is not good for you and should be discarded from your life. I am aware that the function of this entry was to tell you what not to eat, but that would be criminal because I have bashed the one food item (sugar) that we all seem to love without offering an alternative. Do not despair, I have got you covered. But before I do, I think it is worth mentioning that sugar affects your body’s insulin production – the mechanism by which sugar is turned into either usable energy or blubber – short-circuits from overuse. That would be when you are diagnosed with Diabetes, a disease that puts your ageing on fast-forward and may result in the loss of your leg because your molasses blood stopped circulating so well. Okay, that is enough bashing. Alternatives? Have less sugar! Or be like me, and do not have it all, except for that occasional cookie or sweet, right? That is okay. But for my tea or coffee? No sugar, please.
The old adage, “Health is Wealth”, indeed, has bearing in our lives as leaders. It is not folly to think that Health, good Health, is more important than all the money in the world. This is so, as, with good health, leaders are able to live long and fulfilling lives. A long and fulfilling life constitutes continuous efforts to live right, this includes and is not limited to: having a balanced diet, exercising daily, maintaining a good posture, refraining from the use of illicit substances and items that may compromise your life, and meditating. To make this adage (Health is wealth) to ring much truer, I implore you to picture this. You are thirty years old and with a well-paying job you are able to afford the life of comfortability you envisioned for yourself in your earlier years. There is, however, one problem. Your health is deteriorating and the cause of this state is the hazardous work that you do. The threat to your life that the job poses outweighs the benefit. So, what do you do? Staying would obviously lead to your demise. Therefore, leaving the job would be a sensible thing to do. However, it is worth considering the consequences of resigning: how are you going to fare without the job? Do you have a back-up plan? And so on. The example may present a solution to a problem that leads to yet another, but it is imperative to first take care of your health and find a way to circumvent the consequences thereof. If you do not have your health, you truly have nothing.
So, exercise daily, meditate regularly, eat right and choose your health before anything else.