Have you ever worked hard to achieve a goal, or been excited about something new, only to have it end in disappointment, once you achieve the fruits of your labor?
This is one of my little boys. We told the kids we were going to the beach 8 weeks in advance of a trip. The youngest almost immediately started counting down the days. He pulled out the calendar and marked them off, and talked about all the fun he was going to have almost incessantly. Needless to say, he was excited.
This was the reaction when we finally reached nirvana. There was record heat, the shells on the beach were very sharp, sharks had been sighted in the water, and several people had been stung by jellyfish. I think you can tell from his body language how he felt about his dream vacation.
Watching him deal with this disappointment got me thinking about how common this sort of behavior can be, among kids and adults alike. How common is it for someone to set a goal and pursue it with single-minded purpose, only to be disappointed when they achieve the fruits of their labor? I watch my friends and co-workers cycle through this behavior with alarming frequency, and it seems to happen almost without their active involvement. It happens in careers, retail purchases, relationships, and even – vacations. So, how can we avoid the cycle of disappointment?
Prepare A Road Map
Take the time, once a year, to sit down and write goals for yourself. The process of goal writing demands the thoughtful consideration of your values. It provides a framework for making decisions throughout the year. And make no mistake about it, opportunities will come your way. Having taken the time to consider the direction you want your life to take will lay the groundwork for making choices that could impact you for years.
Consider the Downsides
Quite often, opportunities are presented to us and we only take the time to consider the positives. When we told our son about the beach, all he could think about was playing in the waves. He neglected to consider the fact that going south also meant more heat, or that oceans contain wildlife, too.
As adults, we often engage in the same behavior. The idea of moving for that higher paying new job sounds great, but make sure you consider the potential sacrifice in lifestyle, friends, and family before signing on the dotted line. Otherwise, you could find yourself disillusioned with the lack of free time that you so sorely cherished.
Each of us have people in our lives whose judgement we trust and cherish. These may include your spouse (hopefully), friends, family, co-workers, religious leaders, etc. Seek them out and discuss your choices with them. If you value their opinions, trust them to provide you with input that can help shape your decisions. Even if you disagree with their opinion, it’s valuable input, provided without the bias of being enmeshed in what may sound like a great opportunity.
Choose To Find Contentment
The end to the story about my son, was that he had a great time playing on the beach. After he got over the initial realization that stepping on the sand did not force the heavens to open and angels to sing joy to the world, he found contentment in playing on the edge of the water, building sandcastles and rolling in the surf.
As adults, we can learn from this, as well. When opportunites don’t turn out as you expect, seek out ways to find contentment within the confines of your situation. Ever cloud does have a silver lining, and if you’ve stepped into a situation expecting one thing and ended up with another, chances are good, that with a little work, you can find contentment.
So, how about you? Have you ever built up an opportunity in your mind, expecting it to be the greatest thing in the world, only to find things didn’t work out as you wanted? If so, how did you deal with it?
Post from: Live Fit Blog
With our high level of intelligence and the vast amount of technological innovation that we enjoy today, it’s ironic that excellent health is so elusive to so many people. Without any of the modern technology that we rely on today, our primitive ancestors were able to enjoy exceptional health and rarely encountered the many chronic and debilitating conditions that are so common today. These people had an intimate knowledge of nature and a tremendous appreciation for it which is something that we’ve lost without reliance on technology.
While our primitive ancestors were forced to live in agreement with nature, we seem to do everything we can to outsmart it, and we almost always fail. The following are some of the more notable and devastating mistakes that we’re still making.
1. We’ve Lost Our Inherent Ability to Choose Healthy Food
Even the planet’s most simplistic and unintelligent creatures are able to select appropriate foods to support their health. Despite being the most intelligent form of life on earth, many of us have lost this inherent ability and are literally killing ourselves with our food choices. Perhaps we’re too smart for our own good.
Healthy eating really doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply choose the whole foods provided to us by nature. Sure, there’s more to a healthy diet than simply eating whole foods, but this principle alone is in my opinion more important than any other and will resolve many of the diet related health issues that are so prevalent today.
2. We’ve Forgotten How to Sustainably Grow Food and Raise Livestock
For more than 99% of our history, we didn’t farm our food. We hunted animals and gathered fruits and vegetables. Although farming isn’t purely natural, it’s become a necessity with the drastic growth of the human population and is a tremendous convenience that allows us to settle down and establish communities instead of having to follow herds of animals. We’ve become reliant on farming, and unfortunately, modern practices have greatly deviated from the laws of nature. They’re contributing to our many prevailing health issues and are destroying the planet. If the current trend continues, we’ll eventually run out of productive land to farm.
Nearly all forms of life are supported by an amazingly efficient cycle in which the earth’s nutrients are continuously reused. The many organisms that exist in the soil feed on decaying matter such as fallen leaves, dead plants and animals, and animal excrement. The resulting byproducts feed the plants that eventually become food for animals and humans. Some of these animals then become food for other animals as well as humans. The cycle is completed when excrement and other organic matter decomposes and replenishes the soil with the nutrients that once again become food for the organisms living in it. This natural, effective, and robust cycle has been broken by modern farming in favor of increased efficiency and profit.
Without a way to naturally replenish the soil with nutrients, it becomes depleted, produces less nutritious food, and increases the need for pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, livestock are being raised in unsanitary conditions which leads to poor food quality, promotes the development and spread of disease, and contaminates the environment with highly concentrated lagoons of toxic excrement. To learn more about the flaws of modern farming and what good farming is really about, watch the Food, Inc. documentary and Fresh the movie.
3. We Intentionally Avoid the Essential Benefits of Sun Exposure
We wouldn’t survive very long without the sun, but despite this, many of us avoid it like the plague. Our primitive ancestors spent most of their time in the sun, and as a result, we’ve evolved to depend on it for more than just heat. The primary reason why sun exposure is essential to our health is because it provokes our skin to produce vitamin D. This important vitamin, which is really a prehormone, regulates the expression of more than 10% of our genes and plays a critical role in our immunity, particularly in regard to cancer prevention.
Despite the importance of sunlight, we’ve been advised to minimize our exposure and use sunscreen which blocks the production of vitamin D. This advice is mostly based on the high incidence of skin cancer and the fear of melanoma which is it’s most dangerous form. However, melanoma is most frequently found on areas of the body that are rarely exposed to the sun and has a notable prevalence among people who spend most of their time indoors. While frequent sunburn can certainly cause cancer, the significant amount of stress, chemical exposure, electromagnetic radiation, and unhealthy foods that we encounter on a daily basis are arguably more of a concern.
Instead of completely avoiding a natural resource that we’ve depended on for millions of years, a healthier and more practical approach would be to get sun exposure on a regular basis without getting burnt.
4. We Make Ourselves Sick By Polluting Our Environment
One of the major aspects of technological advancement is the invention of synthetic chemicals. We’ve polluted the earth so terribly that every single body of water on the planet is contaminated. Even the breast milk of Inuit women from the Arctic has been found to contain toxic chemicals. During our millions of years of existence, the human body has never before encountered these chemicals, but is now exposed to hundreds or even thousands of them on a daily basis. The body is often unable to process these chemicals properly, and even if this isn’t the case, the volume of exposure is still likely to be overwhelming, especially among the many people who aren’t optimally healthy.
Our obsession with profit encourages the production of a tremendous amount of material goods that we really don’t need. Unfortunately, the manufacturing of these products creates a considerable amount of pollution. We make matters worse by intentionally using chemicals to grow our food, and we’ve adapted a medical system that promotes the excessive use of chemical medications. Each of these sources contribute to our chemical exposure and the pollution that exists in our air, land, and water.
Chemical toxins can impair cell function and lead to a variety of serious problems including the dysfunction of important organs and glands, particularly the brain. Some of the best ways to avoid exposure to toxins are to drink filtered water, use natural personal care products, and eat organic produce, pasture raised meat, and minimally contaminated fish.
5. We Run Our Bodies Into the Ground and Call it Exercise
Most people tend to associate exercise with many laborious, painful, and boring hours spent on a cardio machine. Some people even become fanatical about endurance exercise and run marathons or participate in other types of long distance events. It’s highly unlikely that our ancestors ran the long distances that most enthusiastic runners do which makes it likely that we don’t have the long term capacity for it, especially with all of the additional sources of stress that exist in modern life. Over time, it’s very possible for this much physiological burden to cause adrenal fatigue.
Our ancestors were more likely to get their exercise from activities such as hunting, fleeing from danger, walking, gathering food and supplies, building shelter, and carrying heavy objects. Activities such as light aerobics, high intensity interval training, and strength training resemble these activities much more closely than exhausting yourself on a cardio machine.
Another common problem is that many modern exercise trends encourage people to sacrifice their health for appearance. The popular P90X program is a great example of this. Instead of being overly concerned with weight loss, it’s easier, more effective, and much more satisfying to exercise for good health and let weight loss be a natural result of a truly healthy lifestyle.
6. We Avoid Saturated Fat Thinking that it Promotes Disease
Saturated fat has been part of our diet for millions of years, but just within the past century, we’ve decided that it’s unhealthy and causes heart disease. The is despite evidence that indicates otherwise such as the work of Weston A. Price which clearly shows that saturated fat promotes excellent health. As is shown by the Fat Head documentary and The Cholesterol Myths by Uffe Ravnskov, the idea that saturated fat causes heart disease is based on manipulated research and is completely unsupported.
In an effort to replace saturated fat with something more healthy, we’ve invented a highly processed and unnatural form of fat called trans fat which has proven to be extremely unhealthy. We’ve also decided that it’s healthier to consume polyunsaturated vegetable oils which are very unstable and can easily produce free radicals and cause cell damage. Ironically, these fats have been associated with an increase in the prevalence of heart disease and are also linked to a number of other worrisome health issues.
7. We’ve Disregarded Our Natural Sleeping Rhythm
It’s only since the last century that artificial light has truly given us the ability to live according to our own schedule rather than the rising and setting of the sun. Through our millions of years of evolution, we’ve developed a circadian rhythm based on the sun and the earth’s magnetic field. Regardless of how we plan our day, our body’s preference is to operate according to this natural rhythm which would mean going to bed reasonably close to sunset and waking up at sunrise. In contrast, most of us follow a chaotic sleep schedule that differs significantly from this, and to make matters worse, we sleep much less than our ancestors did. Compounded with the significant amount of stress that’s characteristic of modern life, this can have considerable health implications.
Following healthy sleep habits is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your energy, moods, and overall health. Instead of improving our lives with such a simple adjustment, most of us choose to rely on coffee to compensate for missed sleep and struggle through the day as a result. For more information on how artificial light has altered our lives in a negative way, I highly recommend reading Lights Out by T.S. Wiley.
Embrace Nature and Live Better
Many people unfortunately regard a healthy lifestyle as something that’s complicated and difficult to follow. However, if you let nature be your guide and use some common sense in applying the wisdom we’ve gained from our multimillion year history, it’s really not as hard as it may seem. For more information on how to live a healthy lifestyle based on natural principles, sign up for my free course, 7 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Happier, and Healthier You!
Despite the fact that many of us are extremely busy, stressed, and deprived of sleep, we somehow manage to watch more television than ever. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re always short on time and why you never seem to accomplish what you’d like, the answer may very well be right in front of your eyes.
According to a report from The Nielson Company, the average American watched a record breaking 151 hours per month of television during the fourth quarter of 2008. This amounts to approximately 35 hours per week which is almost the equivalent of a full time job.
Although television is a convenient source of entertainment, it’s usually mindless, provides little to no meaningful value, and can sometimes be a harmful influence. The following are three reasons why television detracts from the quality of your life and why you should minimize the amount of time that you spend watching it.
Time is Precious
We each have a limited amount of time to accomplish our most meaningful goals and experience a rewarding and fulfilling life. If watching television is what’s most important to you, that’s fine, but chances are that you’d like to do much more with your life.
Most people watch television for pure entertainment, and by doing so, they’re sacrificing precious time to live through the experiences of others. In most cases, these experiences are either stressful, completely worthless, or influential in a harmful way. This is especially the case with reality television which is often centered around people who create drama with everything they do. Unfortunately, it seems that many of us enjoy watching others encounter problems, perhaps because it makes us feel better about ourselves. We also tend to love fictitious stories that are intense and highly exaggerated, and this is probably a result of being bored with our own lives.
The only thing stopping you from living a more balanced, enjoyable, and exciting life is yourself, and sitting in front of a television for 35 hours per week is certainly not going to help. Imagine if you dedicated some of this time to reading more, exercising, preparing healthy food, and getting more sleep. After a few months, you’d likely feel invigorated with new knowledge, better health, more energy, increased mental clarity, a leaner and more muscular body, and an improved sense of overall wellness. You definitely won’t experience any of these benefits from watching television.
If it’s mostly your job that’s holding you back from living a better life, 35 hours per week is plenty of time to learn new skills, discover new passions, and create the opportunity for a new career that’s more exciting and fulfilling. In addition, you could dedicate more time to leisurely activities and hobbies that will provide more meaning and allow you to experience life directly rather than through a television screen.
An Unrecognized Source of Stress
Anything that causes you to be excited, fearful, nervous, anxious, or worried is a source of stress that imposes a physiological burden on your body. Although few people realize it, the intense television programming that is so common today can easily invoke these negative emotions and add to the high load of stress that most people are already dealing with.
Watching the news can especially be a considerable source of stress. The leading story right now from CNN is about a woman who was violently beaten in front of her child. Some of the other headlines include a terror probe, letting guns on Amtrak trains, the strangling of a Yale student, and a gang rape at Hofstra. While it’s highly doubtful that these stories will add any value to your life, it’s very likely that they’ll invoke some unnecessary negative emotions. The news is always full of sensationalized drama that’s sure to affect your mood. You’ll likely find out about all of the important stories that you need to without watching the news. Despite the fact that I haven’t watched the news in several years, I always manage to find out what I need to, and I feel that I’m better off not knowing about most of the ridiculous things that are going on around the world.
Watching television can also consume the time we need to get important tasks done. When this happens and we finally get around to doing them, it’s common to feel panicked and work frantically to get them done. This is yet another source of stress to add to the hectic lifestyle that’s overwhelming many of us and leading to compromised health and adrenal fatigue.
The Power of Persuasion
Although you might think that you don’t pay much attention to television commercials and that they have no influence on you, you’re most likely mistaken. If this were the case, companies wouldn’t be spending enormous amounts of money on them. Most commercials are intentionally designed to inspire a strong desire or a perceived need for the product or service being advertised. For example, you might see misleading commercials suggesting that Cheerios lowers cholesterol, that you can lose weight easily with FullBar, or that taking Aspirin could save your life. Regardless of how effective the product or service actually is, it’s in the best interest of these companies to have you believe that it’s the best solution to your problems, and there’s a good chance that you will.
Drug and food companies run many of the commercials that you see, and unfortunately, they often promote the shortsighted symptom chasing mentality that’s such a significant factor in the development of today’s most serious health problems.
It’s also common for misleading information to make it’s way into regular programming. For example, the popular weight loss show, The Biggest Loser, glorifies the effort of contestants who overexercise and practically starve themselves. Not only is this awful for your health, but it’s an ineffective way to lose weight which is made evident by the many contestants who regained the weight they lost after leaving the show. Unfortunately, this show has inspired many people to follow the same flawed and unhealthy approach, and many other shows are influencing people in similar ways.
Although it may sound as if I’m blaming a lot of things on television, that’s not the case. It’s your responsibility to look after yourself, manage your time, protect your health, and be critical of all information. Television is just one of many modern influences that can make it difficult for you to do these things effectively. In fact, other popular sources of mainstream media such as the internet, magazines, newspapers, and radio can have this effect as well. If you’re unable to benefit from these outlets without being negatively affected, the only person you can blame is yourself.
There are so many great reasons to go eco-friendly by carrying your own water bottle wherever you go. If you have not begun to “go green” in other areas of your life, a reusable bottle is a great way to start. In fact, Friends of the Earth states that the single most effective act that individuals can do to improve the environment is to stop drinking bottled water. Let’s review the benefits for your new BYOB lifestyle.Read More
The New American Plate emphasizes the kinds of foods that can significantly reduce our risk for disease. Developed by the American Institute for Cancer Research, the New American Plate relies on a wide range of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Learn more about The New American Plate and how you can gradually incorporate it into your current lifestyle.
Find out more about The New American Plate:
- How it Works: Proportion & Portion Size
- Science-based Approach
- View Brochures and Other Materials
- New American Plate Cookbook
- Order Brochures and Health Aids in Bulk
- The New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life