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Longevity

Nothing remains the same. This life is a cumulative effort. All choices have and display consequences. What you see is not always what you get. The mind and body thrive on the same plane. They flounder when in a diminished state: psychological, spiritual, emotional.

Train for optimal longevity. Prepare your body to move optimally. Easy isn’t optimal. Be careful with your assessment. How you feel is a momentary glimpse in time. You continually experience your lifestyle. If it’s not a joy more often than not, then pivot.

Success is personal. How many lives you touch and how open you are to yours being touched matters. I’ve never gotten excited about gratitude journals or the cult of spirituality/positive thinking, but there is a need to transmute success, its feeling, to other areas of our lives. The state of mind you inhabit is a product of right actions both defined by and taken by, you.

Energy and emotion run your life. Your cup is uniquely filled. Knowing how it is filled affords you the opportunity to keep moving forward in life. There is always space to create. It will never encompass the entirety of your experience, but it is worth finding the state you can foster for yourself.

Longevity: The Challenge Never Ends

 

Protect Your Vessel

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? So if you cannot do such a small thing, why do you worry about the rest?

— Jesus

 

  1. The Defensive Play: Delaying death. Delay the onset of chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, or neurodegenerative disease).

  2. The Offensive Play: Enhancing life. Performance. Aggressive participation in the process of aging. Taking proactive measures. 

 

Age is linear, but aging is not. I’ve seen young people overworked, overstressed, unhappy, and burned out on life, before the age of 30. I’ve also had clients in their late 70s with a lust for life and the attitude of a much “younger” person. The common connection is outlook and mindset. The first individual fears the future while feeling guilty about the past and even the present. The second expects nothing of the future and has learned from, but does not relive the past, freeing themselves to live aggressively and passionately in the moment. I know which attitude I’d choose.

 

To focus on what is in our control, to take advantage of the free will and the life we do have in this very moment. This is the power given to us. Seize it!

 

Life is a personal journey. It’s an exercise of choice. How you feel is a choice. Give in to a negative thought and you become that thought. Abandon a workout and you embed that behavior. I know this from experience, having begun and abandoned a personal journal too many times to count. By recognizing patterns of behavior and thought that are consistently holding me back, I can grow. Forward never straight. I begin again. Correcting today to set up tomorrow. 

 

Put Yourself First -

 

Keep your blood clean, your body lean, and your mind sharp. 

— Henry Rollins

 

Say yes to things that promote growth, wellness, and positivity. Say no to everything else. Like me, you may have lost this ability to say no. Or, maybe you never had it? I can clearly remember when I had it, and when I lost it… when I let it go. Fear of missing out, a necessity to please, or something else. Saying no to anything you know isn’t right, true to your core beliefs, doesn’t align with your goals, or simply doesn’t feel worth it will never be a regrettable choice. 

 

  • Yes:

    • Growth potential

    • Challenges you (+)

    • Helps someone improve their life

    • Is an 8/10 (why not a 9?) on the opportunity scale

  • No:

    • Unhealthy

    • Peer pressure

    • Doesn’t build you up

    • May set you back

    • Non-alignment with values / goals 

    • Is a 7/10 or less on the opportunity scale

  • How to politely say no:

    • “No, thanks. I’m in training”

    • “Not right now.”

    • “I’m good, thanks.”

    • “Maybe later.”

 

Note: Your reason is right for you. Have a strategy and stick to it.

 

All through your life, you’ll be faced with deciding between two things - choose the right one. If they are both right, then choose the one that will make you feel best about it at the end of the day. 

— Thomas Jefferson

 

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Will it make me a better person?

  2. Are there any possible benefits for me?

  3. Will I become any smarter, stronger, faster, or healthier?

 

Forget the temporary positive. This derails your progress. Focus on positive change. Small increments are achieved in a stepwise fashion. When you give in to the temporary, your mind remembers and expects this behavior in the future. 

 

Moderation.

 

An effective strategy for healthy living. Effective in theory, yet often a struggle to implement. What is moderation? Think of it as a non-lasting effect. Both internal and external balance. When I explain the theory of moderation, my failures to implement it’s practice always come to mind. It can be a struggle, though worthwhile as it highlights an awareness. Moderation can also be utilized to appeal to a general lack of serious commitment to our success and ultimate realization of our potential. When you think of moderation, think of food and drink.

 

Discourse.

 

Q: Why do women not drink alcohol when they are pregnant or nursing, only to resume regular drinking shortly after?

A: To protect the unborn child. 

C: Do you see the irony here? Why drink at all if it has any potential “negative” outcome? An effective strategy is to think of the image you may be imprinting on the born child, your friends, family, community, coworkers, etc. You are not only what you do, but what you are seen doing.

Q: How does this align with my core values?

Q: Does this behavior benefit or detract from my role in the community?

C: Utilize this motto on fitness: does your workout build you up or beat you down? Apply it to any and all behaviors and see where this simple statement leads you.

 

Longevity requires you to continually confront the consequences of your choices, both (+) and (-). You have to be constantly aware of direction and time. If movement is the best option, do that. If study/learning is the best use of time, do that. If rest/recovery is the best option, do that. If neither sounds appealing, sleep. Work, nutrition, rest, recovery, and sleep are positive choices. The benefit of doing either one is an absorption of their positive effects. Conversely, choosing to stimulate to alter mood or feeling, can have a resoundingly negative effect. Mood-altering substances, including caffeine and alcohol, have their place in daily life. Using either, routinely, to wake up or turn it off is not a longevity-promoting activity. 

 

Analyze. What’s happening repeatedly? What once was a choice has now become a habit. Hell, it may even be a lifestyle at this point. Knowledge is power. Removal of the behavior may leave a large void, or gaping hole in your day. Within this space lies your mind. Give the mind too much space and time and it can have you heading in a direction you are not ready or capable to handle. Thus, the next step is to decide on a process of change, implementing a timeline of completion, and a destination to arrive at. Habit, without a defined destination, will lack a process, which is needed to fill the space between conceptualization and completion. It is imperative that you fill this space with actions that propel you towards “something.” 

 

  • Define your ideal

    • Image

    • Activity

    • Behavior

  • Address a (-) habit

    • Isolate just one / upon elimination move on to another

    • Create a new action when the desire or stimulus appears

  • Choose a (+) addition

    • Exercise

    • Stretch

    • Caloric reduction / increase time between meals

    • Repeat daily

  • Things. Take. Time.

    • Re-peat. Re-define. Re-invent.

Longevity = Youthfulness

 

Strong yet supple. Explosive yet fatigue resistant. Nourished yet not overfed.

Yes, babies and children are youthful, yet at this stage of life, they lack agility and coordination. The truly youthful is the athlete. With a developed physique, enhanced coordination, body awareness, and optimized weight (think of those sports that require making a weight class) the athlete is fully expressing human potential. The athlete is trained for competition, to express themselves through movement, in the presence of fatigue and sometimes resistance (the wrestler, judoka, boxer, fighter, etc.). Thus, our program must continually test its functionality. Am I strong, flexible, and coordinated in the presence of (or despite) the demands of my lifestyle? Forward propulsion requires a process of correcting the effects of past repetition.

 

Longevity can be broached from many angles: science, medicine, technology, data, and pharmaceuticals are all relevant components, yet they are all external and only worth a small percentage of your time and energy. Personal choice is always number one. Understanding what you can and can’t control is paramount. 

 

Life doesn’t happen to you. Your process defines your outcome. Life isn’t “treating you” any certain way. This is a victim’s mindset. Choosing to optimize each day results in a pretty amazing life. What do you want your ripple effect to be?

Remember your next decision is a change to head in a different direction, if you so should wish. Onward.

 

I don’t second-guess myself. I take all the facts available and make decisions based on what I think is right at the time. I think the real mistake is to look back. This basic philosophy can be applied to everything you do in your lifetime.

— Tom Landry

 

We don’t arrive at longevity. Aging is a process of presence. Engage with your choices. Live your values.

 

I have a mantra I use during my ultramarathons. When the going gets tough, and it always does, I break things down to the simplest possible element and ask myself if I can manage that. Can I take another step? Can I jog? Can I drink? Can I eat? Do I believe in myself? Do others believe in me? Will I regret stopping? Why not just keep going? The same elements that disrupt the journey, causing me to lose clarity of purpose, are also those that derail in everyday life. 

 

Keep the main thing the main thing:

 

  • Believe in yourself

  • Clear your mind before bed / Free yourself to sleep

  • Follow your nutrition plan

  • Remember, successful living is a performance

  • Stay hydrated

  • Move with intention / stay within your capability / make sure the action is repeatable daily

  • Character / desire / dedication / discipline / perseverance 

 

The future is now. If we do the proper things today, we will win today, and we will also win tomorrow. I think that sometimes we can be so concerned about the future that it never comes.

— George Allen

 

Strategies:

 

In the long game of life, endurance should precede intensity. There is no shortcut. No gaming longevity. Your body knows when the pressures of life are too great and it reacts or responds in a specific way. 

 

Chaos comes in all directions. Most products, hacks, shortcuts, and programs are designed to make someone or some organization a lot of money. Your weakness is exposed, you become the victim of an imaginary crime, and they offer the fix. Magic pills don’t modify behavior. The solution is internal. It resides in that place we most fear to delve into. Search and Destroy

 

Pose the question:

 

  • What can you begin repairing today?

  • What can you start building?

  • What belief can you let go of?

  • What idea of who you are is holding you back?

  • What behaviors thwart growth and progress?

 

Your next decision is your most important one. The future relies on the present. Being in the moment, and present in the decision, provides clarity. 

 

Right Action Now > The Perfect Solution in the Future

 

You can always add to and adapt the process, but the most difficult step awaits: beginning it. 

 

The Ideal Environment of Longevity:

 

Living in a place of low pollution, high air quality, abundant green space, clean water, and plentiful sunshine, while being surrounded by a caring, supportive, and engaged community. 

 

Your home should allow you to thrive. Quiet, calm, and inviting, with space to move, stretch, exercise, study, and above all relax. Low clutter. Ample light should naturally enter the rooms, filling the inside with outside energy.

 

With safe streets to travel, parks, and natural areas nearby, you should be drawn to stimulate the senses in the outdoors, viewing these areas as extensions of your home. Maybe there is water nearby: stream, river, lake, or ocean. Relish in the opportunity to watch, listen, reflect, and cleanse at this source. 

 

Movement. Your environment should entice movement. Uninterrupted paths, extended trails, open spaces to move naturally in, and water to swim in, or float on. Maybe there is a steep hill or mountain near that invites you to ascend. With exertion you crest the top, having earned the view, your soul is satisfied and thankful for the opportunity to be alive and present. 

 

Being at peace is the top priority. All else will fall into place. Your ideal environment may differ from mine, but that is ok. Be cognizant of the necessity of deep internal focus. What ignited you as a child? What gave you hope? What kept you up at night? Who did you look up to, and why? Who did you want to be with? What does your presence look like in this environment? This reflection should help clarify the elements that make up your ideal. 

 

Peace. People. Purpose. Role. Define your environment of optimal longevity.

 

Everyone can’t be the best at anything, but everyone can try to be the best at everything. If you give 100% effort physically, mentally, and morally, you will get your share of victories in any walk of life.

— Otto Graham

 

Make sure you are where you want to be in life. Find beauty in the things you surround yourself with. The external can be out of your control but the things closest to you should be placed there with careful intention. Scheduling a seasonal assessment and decluttering is a good idea. 

 

Control what you can, when you can. Be adaptable and exercise flexibility. Taking the approach of least resistance is your wisest choice. Minimizing the effect of the external in a non-ideal environment allows you to succeed.

 

Q: My commute is causing a lot of stress in my life, what should I do?

A: Work remotely. Live closer to work. Make a choice!

 

Q: My daily stress level is high. When I don’t sleep well I miss my workout and I’m less likely to take care of myself. What can I do?

A: Control your home space. Create an evening routine that sets you up for morning success. Set out your workout clothes the night before, and prep the coffee. Make it automatic.

 

Q: Your ideal environment seems unattainable. I feel like I don’t have nearly as much control as I’d like. Is there anything I can do?

A: Find an inward symmetry toward outward appearances. Control what you can and hold true to the beauty that surrounds you. We are always at the center of our circle. Oftentimes it is perspective that has to change. 

 

Q: When I want something. I just go get it. This is a whole different animal. I feel like I’m starting over every day. How do people continue to get after it knowing the results may come much later?

A: You must set the bar low. Daily achievements add up. Persist. Engage in your “assignment” focusing on completion and consistency, not results. 

  • Appearance is a consequence of fitness.

  • Fitness is a product of skill.

  • Skill is derived from repetition.

  • Therefore, repetition is your starting point. 

We are all playing the long game, whether we care to admit it or not. Repeated poor decisions, lack of willpower and self-control, have led you to your current condition. Restraint, perspective, patience, and persistence are the tools you’ll use to become what you deserve to be. 

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