In our Year of Resolutions, we are already to Tip #14. Can you believe it? Today we start the second quarter of 2022, so we wanted to check in with you. How are you doing? Have you been able to try any of the previous 13 tips we’ve shared? Have you picked a few that you’ve turned into healthy daily rituals?
Routine vs. Ritual
Carla and I have been able to turn some of our daily habits and routines into rituals. What’s the difference? It’s really all about your mindset. A routine is mundane, a ‘have-to’ that you need to complete. A ritual, on the other hand, is a deliberate action that brings meaning, learning, or joy into your life.
Our routines can feel boring, and sometimes even burdensome, because they’re something we have to do. We might even do it on autopilot. A ritual is similar to routine in that it is a series of tasks that you complete in the same order. But a daily ritual differs in its intention. Rituals are meaningful practices that are internally motivated. They can provide positive energy and enjoyment along with structure.
Creating healthy daily rituals means taking a healthy habit and making it intentional and purposeful. It’s doing something NOW – today, tomorrow, and the day after that – that will benefit your future self.
Creating My Future Self
I used to think that being healthy just meant maintaining a healthy body weight. As long as I exercised and stayed at a good weight, I could eat anything I wanted. I could not figure out why, despite being super active and looking healthy, I was having continual health problems.
Then I met with Dr. Gundry, and he reviewed my blood work with me. My Cardiac Pulse score showed my chance of having a heart attack was five times greater than other men my age. What?? How was that possible? He looked me straight in the eye and said, “David, you’ve got to change the way you look at food. You’ve got to change the way you eat.”
It wasn’t an instantaneous change, that’s for sure. It took me a while to truly commit to the level of change I needed to make to get my health back. But now, food has a very different meaning in my daily ritual of fueling my body. I’m no longer going through the motions as I attempt to follow the healthy habits I know are good for me. I’m intentionally creating my future self.
Examples of Healthy Daily Rituals
I remember a time when I didn’t put any effort into getting a good night’s sleep. Not only did I not have positive habits, I had quite a few unhealthy routines. I had a real love of Coke and used to drink caffeine really late. I’d eat late at night without a second thought, and a late-night bowl of ice cream happened on the regular. Then I’d have indigestion, and keep Carla up with my snoring. Now I do everything I can to improve my sleep (refer to Tip #2, Get Better Sleep). This means I’ve created some very healthy rituals to do that.
One of Carla’s rituals that she does most mornings is to go on a walk with some friends. There are so many benefits to getting outside in the fresh air and natural light. Plus, since she walks for an hour with close friends, she not only gets the physical benefits, it is emotionally beneficial as well. This has become a very healthy ritual for her.
We are going to talk about this more in a future tip, but meditation is another of my favorite daily rituals. I like to get up early and start off reading something uplifting. I read, ponder, meditate, and pray for about 30 minutes. Then for the next 30 minutes, I work on achieving that “river of sweat” we talked about in Week 10. I get on my road bike if the weather is good or my iFit trainer if it’s not, and get my heart pumping and those endorphins flowing. These rituals always help my day get started off right.
Begin Your Day with Intention
There is a lot of information out there on highly successful people and the rituals they do. They might call them something different like “productivity hacks” (a current buzzword), but they really are rituals – a meaningful practice they do with intention each day.
Common examples include rising early, morning exercise, meditation, and a healthy breakfast. Steve Jobs had a profound but simple morning ritual: Each day he would rise early, make his bed, shower, and look in the mirror. Looking straight into his own eyes, he’d ask, “If today was the last day of my life would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” If the answer was “no” too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change.
How intentionally do you begin your day? According to behavioral scientist Dan Ariely, “Each morning, we get a brief window of 2 hours of time during which we’re most mentally capable of getting stuff done, but sadly we waste it on social media.” If we are not intentional, it is so easy to let time slip through our fingers.
Being intentional at the start of every day as we create healthy daily rituals is especially crucial when it comes to our health. That’s because, as Florida State University Psychology Professor Roy Baumeister said, “Willpower is like a muscle that becomes fatigued from overuse.”
He goes on to explain more, “Diets come undone in the evening, just as poor self-control and lapses in decision-making often come later in the day. On the other hand, early mornings offer a fresh supply of willpower, and people tend to be more optimistic and ready to tackle challenging tasks.”
The Payoff of Creating Healthy Daily Rituals
When we first started this journey in May 2018, I had no idea how life-changing it really would be. There were a handful of good doctors who helped open my mind about how I could really change my health. At first I thought I could be in 80/20…couldn’t I have ‘mostly’ healthy habits but cheat a little? But the blood work didn’t lie, and my numbers didn’t improve. So then I decided to be in 90/10 (I sure wanted to keep that homemade sourdough bread in my diet), but again, we saw no improvement.
When I finally made the promise to myself that I was in 100%, all of those scores changed dramatically. It was so exciting!
No Medication and No Pain
Four years ago, I could never have imagined myself off of the 10 serious medications I was taking. Even with all the drugs, the NSAIDs, the Loritab, the Lyrica, my pain level was still at an 8-10 every day. I’d take ibuprofen and it would decrease from a 10 to an 8, or maybe from an 8 to a 7, but I was still living with chronic pain. Here I am today with no medication at all…and NO pain! Even when I hurt myself, like stubbing my toe, because I’ve removed all inflammation from my body, my body heals so quickly now.
Seven years ago, I got a metabolic age test, which compares your chronological age with how well your body is actually aging. At that time, I was 58 years old. But metabolically, I was 62. Because of my unhealthy habits, my body was older than my actual age! But now, after consistently implementing healthy daily rituals, I’ve gotten younger! I’m now 65 years old chronologically, but my metabolic age is 61. Think about that! Seven years have passed, but I’ve gotten younger! That is pretty significant!
Keep Your Promises to Yourself
So here we are, three months into 2022. How’s it going so far? As my good friend Jason Hewlett says, “Have you kept the promise to yourself?”
Here at More Than Healthy we have a saying: “Are you willing to make sacrifices for your future self, instead of making excuses to your present self?”
So often we get frustrated with ourselves for not achieving results, when deep down we know we didn’t do the work. We know we didn’t really do what it takes to reap those benefits. This Full Year of Resolutions is about finding things you can do now in order to create an amazing future. And that future is possible! I am living proof. Just ask yourself, “What am I willing to do today for my future self?”
And…Do It For Them, Too
It’s important to note that I don’t do these things just for me. I do it so that I can dance with my beautiful wife when I’m 95 at our 50th wedding anniversary. And I do it so that I can be an active, involved grandpa to my 18 grandkids. Carla feels pretty strongly about it, too:
“I really can’t believe the difference. There was honestly a time when I didn’t think David would be with us today. There were some dark days. He was really unhealthy. I’m so grateful he has made these changes for his future self….which is now his present self…and now we’re able to have this experience helping so many others to do this, too!”
So, how about it? Are you ready to make changes for your future self?
We hope you’ve found our daily tips helpful. We hope you’re inspired to take what could be a mundane task and turn it into a meaningful, life-changing, healthy daily ritual in your life.
We love hearing from you! Please feel free to contact us on our social media or website. And, join us for our free zoom coaching call every month. Just text COACHING to 647-558-9895 to join our email list.