3 Things You Need To Do To Be
Healthy & Happy
I like lists. I write a lot of lists. They keep me organized. They give me a sense of accomplishment when I get to cross something off my list. I have daily task lists, lists for places I want to visit, books I want to read, restaurants to go to, shopping lists for every store, and just about everything in between. My favorite type of blogs and online articles are formatted around lists, top 10 reasons to do something, 5 ways to make your life better in some way, 7 reasons to do this every morning, the list could go on and on.
The question I found myself contemplating this morning, after reading a list of 30 things I should do every day to have a perfect life (understanding that perfection is impossible, especially in life, and how boring would that be if life was perfect), why am I, and a majority of people drawn to lists?
Is it the promise that by doing just a couple of things we will see instant improvement?
Will there be a great golden nugget of truth in the list that I have never heard before that will change my life forever?
Or is it the fact that I’m looking for validation against things that I already know, but maybe just am not doing?
There is some truth in the later. I have yet to stumble upon a list that has any new quantifiable information to make my life and the world around me better. Not to say that I’m a genius savant, but really, I know everything I should be doing, and so do you.
The truth is, there is no silver bullet to anything, especially health and happiness. To have a happy and healthy life takes works. It takes persistence. It takes dedication. And it takes grace. So in an effort to maintain my love for lists, here it is, the top 3 things you need to do to have a happy and healthy life (and trust me when I say, you already know this…)
1) Persistence – lasting or enduring tenaciously, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, and/or discouragement. To be healthy you have to be persistent because there will always be obstacles to good health. Life often throws more dodge balls at us than we think we can handle and it becomes easier to skip the gym, grab a burger and fires at the drive thru, and have an extra gin & tonic at the end of the day. Persistence is about wanting something more than the opposition you are facing. You have to be tired of not being healthy and happy and have a deep and enduring passion to succeed. You have to make that choice, and persist through adversity.
2) Dedication – to devote wholly and earnestly to a purpose. You’ve got to want it. It has to be a part of your every thought. Your state of mind has to be laser-like focused on achieving your goal of a healthy and happy life. But what is amazing is that you will find that as you dedicate yourself to something, the act of doing it becomes easier over time. Your small successes spur you on to even greater achievement. Your dedication grows stronger. At some point it your goals of a healthy and happy life become innate.
3) Grace – mercy. You will slip. You will over indulge. Or you just want that nacho smothered in everything. It’s okay. You’re human. You’re allowed to enjoy life. Give yourself permission to do it every now and then, and show yourself grace for it, not guilt, not shame. I have those days where I just want to relax with friends and eat chicken wings and fries with a couple of drinks. And it’s okay to do it because I know that 90% of the time I am focused, persistent and dedicated to a healthy life, and in that 10% there is happiness too. Show yourself grace.
So there it is, the three things you need to do to be healthy and happy. Probably not what you were expecting? No lists of foods to eat and exercises to accomplish. Health and happiness start from the inside. They start by making a choice to be so, and then sticking with it. Everything else is prescriptive.