We are currently at a point in human history where humans are living longer than ever before. The advancements in medicine, health care and life-saving surgical procedures have allowed us to overcome many forms of life threatening disease and sickness. We also live in a time of abundant knowledge in the fields of personal well-being, health and fitness.
Additionally, despite previous beliefs, our genetic makeup doesn’t have the majority of control over our quality of health and the timing of our mortality. Many studies including The Human Genome Project have indicated that our health and longevity is determined by a 20/80 factor ratio. These studies have shown that in most cases, our genes only determine 20% of our health and mortality timing. Therefore, our environmental conditions including our lifestyle choices and habits control the other 80%.
The Alarming Statistics
Despite living in a longevity friendly era, studies around the world have indicated that the current and upcoming generations of children may not outlive their parents. The prediction of this bizarre epidemic has already started with the parents themselves.
Statistics have shown that the increase in premature deaths due to heart attacks, strokes and other life-threatening diseases have drastically increased in the age range of 30-50. Therefore, many parents themselves of this age range are not outliving their respective parents.
The United States, Canada, Britain and other countries around the world have experienced a progressive increase in premature deaths mostly related to poor lifestyle choices and habits. The lack of physical activity, poor food choices along with large portion sizes, smoking, excessive drinking and drug use are the primary causes of this epidemic.
Unfortunately, this form of self-neglect and self-abuse seems to be the preferred lifestyle choice of many in our current time.
Having The Right Mindset
Extending our health span and ultimately our longevity isn’t as hard or unattainable as we may think. For the most part, it just requires a change in our mindset. Most people fail to realize that the quality of their life is an immediate result of their mindset. To change any aspect of your life you must first change your way of thinking.
We all have the freedom of choice but most people don’t allow themselves to make the right choices. For many, it’s the fear of change or being stuck in a routine or comfort zone. For others, they are caught in a negative or neutral social circle that has no ambition for self-improvement.
However, with the proper change of mindset any lifestyle transformation is possible. Your mindset determines how you evaluate your reality and it also influences your decision-making process. Consequently, the right mindset will allow you to explore beyond your current reality and help you learn new ways of living.
Making The Best Use Of Your Time
Many people dismiss the idea of making healthy lifestyle changes because they claim that they are too busy and just don’t have the time. However, changing your lifestyle is not entirely about adding additional activities to your life. The goal is to simply change your existing activities and habits from self-destructive to life-enhancing.
For most people, making proper lifestyle changes will actually increase free time. This is especially true for those who waste their time on sedentary activities and other negative behaviour patterns including binge drinking, binge-watching, video gaming or spending hours engaged in online surfing. Most of these time-wasting activities consist of mindless entertainment and usually have no lifestyle value other than shallow and short term satisfaction.
For those who truly have busy lives, lifestyle changes may be a challenge especially for those who try to make too many changes at once. Making lifestyle changes will have a learning curve as well as an adjustment period which will require time. Consequently, trying to make too many dietary changes while adding physical activity and other healthy changes into an already busy lifestyle will quickly result in frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed.
Taking Small Steps
To truly achieve sustainable lifestyle changes, you need to be realistic and you will need to set both short term and long term goals. If your life is already busy, start by focusing on your short-term goals that consist of one or two small changes at a time. Once you have learned and adjusted to each of these new changes then move on to the next couple. This will allow you to blend your new lifestyle changes into your life without too much disruption.
Be consistent and vigilant, always review your goals on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure that you are on track and maintaining progress. Each new change should become a standard routine without thought or forced effort. It should become second nature.
Finding Social Support
It’s important to realize that each type of lifestyle will attract the related like-minded people into your life. Like minded people that connect with each other will accelerate the result of any lifestyle whether it’s life-enhancing or self-destructive. Always be aware of how your social circle can Influence your mindset.
The accumulative effect always occurs in any type of lifestyle or social circle. People living an inactive lifestyle usually engage in other unhealthy habits. Consequently, people in this lifestyle group usually suffer from some form of illness throughout the second half of their life. Often, they look much older than their chronological age.
However, those who choose to live an active lifestyle naturally attain other life enhancing habits that support a healthy lifestyle. Subsequently, people in this group usually experience a much higher quality of life with an extended health span and increased longevity. In turn, they usually look much younger than their chronological age.
Having support from friends, family or co-workers is always beneficial. Supportive people in your life can provide a great source of motivation and accountability. This is especially true if you have someone to partner with that is also trying to achieve similar lifestyle goals.
You must always be aware of those who don’t support your new lifestyle choices. Many of them will negatively alter your mindset and distract you from your goals.
It’s Your Life, Make It Last
Always remember, this is your life and you only get one shot at living it. You are the creator of your life and only you can make the necessary life-enhancing changes towards achieving longevity. Don’t allow external forces including others to decide your lifestyle and longevity.
Living a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be a forced commitment, it should just be a normal way of life.