How do you want to be old?
This question is on my mind as I enter my 70’s this August (2016). We never think it will happen to us, but inevitably we all age. Prevention in all its aspects is part of the answer and the remainder is in the choices we make and the habits we develop over a lifetime. I believe that we control the majority of the variables that influence the aging process. The lone variable that is not within our control is our genetic heritage (or family history), and research is showing that our genes play only a small part in how well we age. I believe that if we apply basic principles of health, wellness, and fitness “consciousness” to our daily life, we can indeed become older – and not old.
7 principles of healthy aging
- FOCUS is the key to a life well lived because we can only achieve what is possible through discipline and a commitment to our purpose. This means that finding our purpose is a key step toward living a life of meaning and fulfillment. Without “clarity of purpose”, our minds will wander aimlessly and our choices will be removed from our authority. We must identify our purpose and ACT upon it with decisiveness.
- PLANNING is critical to success. “Those who fail to plan; plan to fail”. This is true whether it be in response to physical, emotional, financial, personal, or professional demands. Programming your subconscious mind with instructions that directly relate to your purpose will enable and empower you to achieve at the highest levels. Remaining healthy and fit is an outcome of this choice.
- IMPLEMENTING your plan, as well as designing milestones for success into it, gives you the power “to change your mind” and create new ideas of what you want from your life. In acting upon your desire to achieve, you set in motion the power of the universe to support your actions (just as I am doing by writing these articles) – and achieve your dream.
- FOUNDATION: Mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health creates the foundation for a life that makes a difference and serves the greater good. If your health is compromised on any level, life becomes a painful challenge. Training is the key to creating a worthwhile and purpose driven life. This process involves “changing your mind” about who you THINK you are and embracing all of your potential to be the person you were meant to BE.
- MEASURING: Tracking your life through the choices you make each day creates a way to true health. (I do this everyday with my fitness programming. For example, I have records of all my runs dating to 1979, so I know I have run 47,588 miles between then and 2015). In choosing a particular path in life for yourself, you are inherently designing the path you will be taking in your life. Knowing the path you are on reveals the changes and choices you must make in order to live a healthy and vibrant life.
- MINDSET: Once you have found your purpose, the universe (your “inner voice”) will say to you: “Never give up – ever!” When doubt emerges, stop and remember that your are unique and are of great value. Believe in the deepest part of your being that you will succeed and prosper – mentally, physically, and spiritually – regardless of age. (My example: It is NEVER too late).
- REMEMBER to accept your emerging beliefs about yourself, that each thought you think, each action you take, and each feeling you express MUST be in alignment with who you want to become. This is crucial when programming your subconscious mind. It is in AFFIRMING the truth about yourself each day as you wish to BE that you will find yourself on the path to true health.
Key-skills for healthy aging
A number of skills are needed to ensure healthy aging in all spheres of life. Here’s simply a list but some of them have been dealt with in more detail in other articles I have written.
- GENERAL SKILLS are so-called because they can be applied to all other areas of life such as decision making skills, planning skills, stress management skills and ability to prioritise, behaviour modification skills, imagination, visualization and affirmation skills (you are what you think, say, believe and do).
- HEALTH SKILLS range from healthy eating knowledge, to searching for nutritional information, practicing meditation, relaxation, and consciousness training to be in touch with your self and your changing needs.
- FITNESS SKILLS encompass the different types of training that must be included in your fitness programme, such as cardiovascular training, strength and power based training, resistance training, physical skills development for activities of daily living, flexibility and balance.
- SOCIAL LIFE SKILLS are those related to ensuring that we respect and make the most of being ‘social animals’. These include relationship building skills, communication and listening skills, family and personal skills; mental and emotional development programs for building relationships and networks of influence.
- Develop a clear FOCUS and a plan for achieving your purpose.
- Implement your PLAN for success and measure your results.
- Develop a TRAINING PROGRAM that helps you increase your mental, physical, and spiritual knowledge and skills for life.
- Create a TRACKING SYSTEM that allows you to make course corrections and new choices.
- Develop PERSISTENCE and the ability to overcome obstacles while facing your fears and doubts.
- Become CONGRUENT and live with integrity while learning to “walk your talk”.
A final thought
The mind of man is unlimited in its potential and responds to specific demands made upon it.
I am living with this “frame of mind” as I turn 70 next month. I am running faster than I ever have, I am stronger and more hopeful than I have ever been, and I am feeling grateful every day for the gift of my life. I never go to bed with an angry or regretful thought because I don’t want tomorrow to be anything but a new day of possibility. I am living today as if it were my last because it could very well be. Take time to think, reflect, and choose wisely in order to help you determine whether you want to be older – and not old! This is my plan and I am grateful for it. What is your plan?
I you need help in designing your fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or read his book Healthy Aging & YOU.