People usually look at healthy living as a series of sacrifices they need to make in their life that includes dieting and exercise, instead of identifying what lights them up about feeling good each and every day!  

Mindset and how you look at things are half the battle. I know this from personal experience. Trying to move past a past that kept sucking me back in and I allowed it. How we look at things in life can either move us in the direction we want to go or keep us stuck in a loop in our own heads.

Americans have a much shorter life expectancy compared to almost all other high-income countries, according to the CDC.

Recent data reveals that people in the U.S. can expect to live an average of 78.7 years. Although we are living longer we are not living healthier. It is estimated about 13% of our lives we are dealing with some type of illness. That keeps us visiting Dr.s instead of making memories with our families.

Luckily, a 2018 study from Harvard University found five habits that could prolong a person’s life for up to a decade or more. The results showed a correlation between healthy behaviors and cardiovascular issues: Women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer when compared to those with the least healthiest lifestyles over the course of the 30-year study period.

The study suggested that maintaining these Six habits could add up to 10 years or more to a person’s life! What are they?

A Healthy Diet

According to researchers a good diet contains minimally processed, whole foods and grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and any natural source of protein (i.e., fish and beans).

Daily Exercise

Physical activity has been shown to help maintain a healthy body weight, maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, promote psychological well-being and reduce the risk of certain diseases, including some cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. Any type of movement for 30 minutes a day including something aws simple as stretching or walking.

Keep a Healthy Weight

According to the Harvard study, weight control significantly reduced the risk of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular risk factors and breast cancer.

A healthy weight varies from person to person.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

The U.S. government’s “Dietary Guidelines” publication defines “moderate drinking” as one drink for women per day and two for men. While it’s hard to avoid alcohol at events such as happy hours, conferences, social outings and so much more. If you are one of the millions of Americans who enjoys partaking in alcoholic beverages moderation it goes a long way to help reduce your risk of getting some cancers  (i.e., breast, colon, esophagus).

Don’t Smoke

As the health risks of smoking have become increasingly apparent, there’s been more effort in warning people about the dangerous side effects.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to kick the unsightly habit, but your body will thank you in the long run.

Breathing Through Your Nose

We usually breathe without thinking about it. Your body does it automatically, without much if any conscious effort on your behalf.

Your nose and mouth provide two ways to breathe. Both lead to your throat, which carries oxygen into your lungs

But it’s important to pay attention to how you breathe. In general, it’s healthier to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth. That’s because nose breathing is more natural and helps your body effectively use the air you inhale to get more oxygen to your brain.

It can do this due to its ability to:

  • Filter out foreign particles. Nasal hair filters out dust, allergens, and pollen, which helps prevent them from entering your lungs.
  • Humidify inhaled air. Your nose warms and moisturizes the air you breathe in. This brings the air you inhale to body temperature, making it easier for your lungs to use.
  • Produce nitric oxide. During nasal breathing, your nose releases nitric oxide (NO). NO is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This can help improve oxygen circulation in your body.

Mouth breathing

Your mouth helps you eat, drink, and talk. You can also use your mouth to breathe, but it doesn’t have many of the unique features that your nose has for this purpose.

In some cases, mouth breathing is necessary. You might need to breathe through your mouth if you have:

  • Nasal Congestion
  • Deviated Septum
  • Small nostrils

Yet, breathing primarily through your mouth is associated with some health risks. With mouth breathing, your mouth loses moisture, which can increase your risk of:

  • Inhaling unfiltered air
  • Dry mouth
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Asthma
  • Bad Breath
  • Tooth Decay
  • gum inflammation (gingivitis)
  • Snoring
  • Sleep Arousals 
  • Nighttime Urination
  • Sleep apnea
  • Teeth or jaw abnormalities

It is the small changes in daily habits we have that are key to a healthy life. The fact is we only get one body and in order for that body to survive and thrive. We need to give it what it needs to be and stay healthy. 

To be healthy the main four things our bodies need to start with are oxygen, good water, nutrition and enough sleep. 

There are a few ways to slowly make them a part of your life however, according to the National Institutes of Health. Become aware of your bad habits, whether they’re giving into the office goodies your coworkers bring or staying out late and giving the gym a miss the next morning.

You are not alone. Most of us struggle when it comes to saying no to sweets and pizza especially when put in front of us. 

Ask friends and family to try these healthy changes with you. It’s definitely  easier when you have a  support system and  others doing the same to be healthy.  The National Institutes of Health also suggests looking ahead and imagining how you’ll feel when you accomplish your goals. You’re never too out of shape, too overweight, or too old to make healthy changes, you just have to start.

There are other factors to consider if you want to add years to your life or, at the very least, not shorten it. Along with exercising and eating nutritious meals, people need to have active social lives, get enough sleep and breathe through their nose.

More than 40% of adults in the U.S. suffer from loneliness, which is linked to depression, dementia, anxiety and cardiovascular diseases. Insufficient sleep also leads to hypertension, diabetes and obesity. So breathing through your nose and better sleep are two things you can do now to add years to your life and feel better.

When we work together we can develop a PERFECT plan to transform your habits, health and  boost your energy. 

It won’t be sustainable if we don’t also ensure that your mindset is primed to prioritize your health.  For example, if when starting a new diet you are constantly focused on what you’re giving up instead of what you are gaining? If so you will likely abandon that plan and return to your old habits sooner.

The good news is that by making a few simple mindset shifts, healthy choices will start to become your natural inclination as you navigate your day-to-day routine!  

Ownership thinking means taking accountability for the quality and success of the outcome of your choices and actions. Trust is a key part of being healthy also, who do you trust to guide you through your health journey? 

Someone with effective, honest communication  can help you and save time, sorting through all the information out there for making decisions that are right for both you and your family to  promote habits that are healthy and sustainable for the long haul.

When we start to think like owners of our health we start to develop the mindset in your culture, you will see a noticeable difference in your success

One of the first things you can do to instill an ownership mindset is to set up clear roles and responsibilities that make sense. 

It’s not just about finding those personal moments of inspiration. It is about finding healthy habits you and your family can stick too.

Start by deciding what you will change first small steps that are easy like making a meal plan each member of the family picks their favorite meal, you find healthy ingredients and pick the day of the week to have that meal so you are prepared and not deciding what to eat at the last minute and taking the fast food option.

When you find you struggle with making healthier choices : 

Identify your WHY

If you’re not clear on WHY you’re trying to be healthy, it’s easy to make decisions that provide an immediate reward instead of long-term gains for your health and energy.

When we talk about why you want to be healthier, it’s important that we go beyond the superficial reasons that may first come to mind.  For example, you may view prioritizing your health as something you need to do in hopes of living longer and avoiding diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  

When you approach your health like this there is more of a focus on what you DON’T want than what you do want, the likelihood of developing a disease is not a very enlightening reason to keep going. 

If you focus on a goal you DO want,  your brain feels it’s more attainable and work to make it happen. For me,  I want to be there for my daughter’s wedding and  my grandchild’s birth. You will find a more sustainable plan of action to get you there. 

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want

From an evolutionary standpoint our minds are wired to watch out for potential trouble and protect us. Back in the caveman era, our survival was a lot more dependent on remembering which berries were poisonous versus which ones were the tastiest! A slightly simpler goal to achieve to stay alive.  While our lifestyle, nutrition and day-to-day routines have dramatically changed since that time, our brains are still wired in the same fashion.  This means that it can be much easier to let your thoughts drift into a negative space than to focus on the positive! 

When you find your brain going to that negative place, replace it with a positive one! Sounds simple enough! Yet from my experience it is easier said than done at times but it does work.

Curb your cravings by taking a moment to PAUSE

As humans, we are creatures of habit!  Everything from your relationship with food, the way you react to stress and your emotions are influenced by subconscious patterns and beliefs.  In order to build healthy new habits, we need to build in a “pause ” between the triggers or events in your life and your usual reaction to that stimulus.  This allows time for you to bring conscious awareness to your behaviors and to override your previously conditioned response.

Be in it for the long game

So many of the choices we make are based on short term rewards.  You may find yourself picking up take-out on the way home because it’s an easy option that saves you time.  Or maybe you’re craving sweets so you have a doughnut for breakfast instead of choosing eggs or oatmeal.  While these may seem like rewarding choices in the moment, how often are you making food choices based on how you feel now instead of how you  will feel AFTER eating, never mind the following day?

Surround yourself with people who motivate and inspire you.

In the words of Jim Rohn, you are an average of the five people that you spend the most time with.  If you surround yourself with people who are prioritizing their health and happiness by eating healthy and exercising, you will be motivated and inspired to do the same.  Conversely, if your circle of friends is regularly dining out at fast food restaurants, smoking cigarettes, drinking and scoffing at the idea of the gym, you’re much more likely to find yourself behaving in a similar pattern.

As humans we are social creatures, and one of our most instinctual desires is to be loved and accepted.  This is why we are inclined to behave similarly to those who surround us!

I encourage you to start consciously incorporating these mindset shifts into your day-to-day routine, starting today! 

Is there one of these five things that calls to you more than the others? If so, start there and then aim to build one by one to healthier choices and a healthier lifestyle.  

Our health is everything. If we are not healthy we lose precious time with our loved ones on doctor visits and not being able to do what we used to do. Having others care for you when you are used to being the one caring for others.

I learned this through a lesson of a series of unfortunate events.

My cancer, loved ones getting sick and passing away. People that I thought were my friends making choices and decisions that hurt my daughter

Creating  stress from things that were completely unexpected and out of my control. Those events made me reflect on a lot of conversations I had with the people that passed and one common thing that people always say when they know they’re going to pass is I wish I had more time. I wish I had made different choices.

Having Cancer I laid in bed for days as I watched the time go by, missed holidays with family then my daughter’s Dad getting sick and  passing away before his 60th birthday conversation I had with him both wishing we had done things differently. We wanted to be able to make more memories with our daughter, we thought about the memories that we had shared and memories that we didn’t get to share. We think about our future and the things that we have planned. 

You don’t always realize what is happening until you look back and realized that time was so valuable, and I just watched each day go by thinking I had enough time. I am lucky I beat Cancer and am still here to share my experience. But to stay cancer free I need to make better choices going forward. 

Writing down  goals, even the simple ones once you accomplish those, make new ones. I learned nobody’s here forever. Our time is not infinite on this planet.

Sometimes it feels like we’re waiting forever for things or events to take place or we wait forever for a vacation to come. And then we go on that vacation and then it feels like it was a blink and it was over.

And it isn’t until you look back that you realize how quickly time has passed and where did it go

So what’s the point that I’m trying to get to?  your health should come first. 

We think we don’t have enough time or money to put ourselves first 

Think about where you’re spending your time right now. Where are you spending your money?

What is it that you would like for your future to hold? more time with your family, more time with your kids? More time in your job? More time on creating the life that you want? What does that even look like?

How many people do you know that have gone before you?

People that you talk to that are bringing up memories and they talk about memories with a smile on their face and they light up.

Those are the things that I want to do. I want to make memories so when I’m gone people can remember me and smile about memories we made together instead of she  always working and her work came first. 

I’ve had to own where I am in my life.

But I’m also owning my future. My health!

You get one body, You are the owner. You own it no one will take better care of it than you.

And what you need to survive and thrive is oxygen, water, nutrition and enough sleep. If you don’t have those things, you won’t get the time that you want. To do the things you want to do.

So take the time to put your health first.

Think about those instructions they give on an airplane. They tell you to put the oxygen on you first because if you pass out you can’t help anyone else.

If you’re sick or you die, you can’t help anyone else. You can’t make those memories. You can’t be there for your family. So you have to own it for yourself so you can be there for your family

Focus on the things that are within your control so that we are able to take ownership of the things we can change. We always have a choice to make excuses for any situation that arises.

We have a choice to either look within ourselves to see what we can do differently or we can look to the external world to place blame on others.

No human is perfect. We are all built with positive and negative attributes and we tend to forget that all attributes, whether positive or negative, are created with purpose.

Owning your life will provide you with a different perspective of how to look at all of your fears that get in the way of your goals. 

You decide if you want to be a victim to your life or if you want to OWN IT!

I did not Own IT until I got the wake up call, got  big part of my body cut out and  watched my ex pass away.   Time  and health are our most precious things

Many rising generation family members do not choose the path of ownership but are simply born into it. Given these typical patterns, it is not surprising that there is little focus on valuing and building an educated owner to steward the family’s assets for future generations.

It offers a learning structure and approach for each stage of an owner’s development across the lifespan (from earliest years to retirement), taking into consideration the lifecycle stages of the family.

If you OWN, you CARE

I used to think that ownership and responsibility were the same thing. Nowadays, I understand that I could not be more wrong. Let me explain the most important difference between these two:

Most people treat the commodities they own better than the ones they rent. Think about driving a car you saved up for vs a rental car you paid $150 for  which one are you going to drive more carefully? Which one will you be more mindful of when you park? Which one will you clean? If you own something, you care about it more – This is a simple concept but let’s dig deeper as the analogy is relevant to much more than just material possessions…

A sense of ownership

The ownership mindset is about showing initiative and being responsible even when you won’t be held accountable for the result. It gives you a certain type of self-confidence. When you truly feel ownership of your work, you won’t be ashamed of your mistakes as you will treat them as a natural part of the learning curve. You want to do your job the best way you can and you do not blame anyone else for possible issues. There is no magical attitude you can adopt that will guarantee you to solve a problem, but taking ownership of your work puts you and your team in the best place mentally to be able to do so. “Let’s sort this out together” is a much better attitude than “that’s not my problem”. People stepping up and taking personal responsibility for their work contributes immensely to their high-performance team as they tend to come up with more effective solutions, thereby making the job easier for the whole team as a result. 

You now know the basics of what having a strong sense of ownership is (and what it’s not). 

I’ve also created a checklist to help you take ownership of your health starting with your mouth. Click the link to get a copy.