As Dolly Parton suggests in one of her modern songs, you better get to livin’. I Tweet and blog a lot about being healthy: I talk about what you should eat, what you shouldn’t; what exercises to try, how much time to spend doing them; how to get your finances in order because it’ll make you more relaxed and mentally fit. Well, there’s something a lot of health gurus, fitness trainers, and exercise enthusiasts fail to encourage their clients: live! It seems like a simple idea but when people set out to get healthy, the best of them go full-on and they’ll spend hours exercising, tons of time at work and spending what little time that’s left at home or watching television. A healthy person, someone who really gets the most out of life, is the one who’s enjoying and experiencing it.

I feel about life as I feel about running: you need a destination. How can you run without having an idea of where you’re going? Sure, you CAN do it and many folks do but you’ll get so much out of your run if have a goal in mind: “I want to run a mile today”; “I want to run to the grocery store and back instead of driving there for a loaf of bread”; “I want to run and build up endurance so that I can make it through my first marathon.” You see, that’s having a goal and destination and you’ll run and work harder than ever knowing you’re running with a purpose and for a reason. The same can be said of life: you can be the most physically fit person and spend all of your time getting your body fit but … for what?

I think there’s more to being healthy and fit than muscle and nutrition. We’ve really stripped the life and living aspect out of being a healthy person. Too often we encourage people to basically devote their entire lives to basically working out, devoting hours in a gym, packing on muscle, and developing abs. I think being healthy is more than that. Being healthy is all about getting to a point where you’re enjoying and living your life to the fullest! Think about it- when you’re overweight, what are you doing? You’re spending time feeling bad and ashamed of your outward appearance, denying yourself experiences and things you’d like to try and do. You’re eating, you aren’t doing that marathon you so desperately wanting to run, or walking out on a beach shirtless without feeling the least bit intimidated or unnerved by those around you. Basically, being unhealthy is all about being held back, unhappy, inhibited, and depressed.

To be healthy means there are no limits – you’re capable of rising to any new occasion, to facing any obstacle, taking on new challenges. Being healthy means you’re aware of YOU – you know your body; you have control and discipline when it comes to what you eat, how your workout, how often you exercise; you know what makes you happy and what bad behaviors arise when you’re unhappy (smoking, eating too much, depression). So being healthy means you also are aware of your needs and desires and you’re willing to put yourself first and foremost and see to it that you indulge in some of your wishes. It’s really not about exercising and eating the right foods, after all, it’s about treating yourself like going on spa days for example. This is a great way to make yourself feel better, and if you think about it, this is keeping your skin healthy and you get enjoyment out of it at the same time! You don’t even have to go out to get this treatment, you can buy clean living products so you can pamper yourself at home.

It’ll sound morbid, but I think you should plan on dying. Yeah, people say live life to the fullest, or live each day like it’s your last. But really, are you living as if you’re going to die tomorrow? If you got hit by a bus and were unable to walk for the rest of your life, what’d you regret not being able to do? If you died tomorrow, what’d you wish you had done today? If you’re completely satisfied with your life and have done EVERYTHING you’ve EVER wanted to … good for you! But most people have at least one thing they’ve always wanted to do and never set out to mark that thing off their list. I’m 25 but I’ve already started a bucket list. Is it full and complete? No. But I’ve already listed a number of things I’d like to do before I keel over. It’s never too early to think about your bucket list. It can be filled with whatever you want it to be.

It’s everything from big items like taking a trip to Australia to something small like running through winter. You might even have a goal of going san diego whale watching for example, and you are hoping to tick that off soon. Regardless of what’s on your bucket list, finding a way to achieve everything you want is something you need to figure out. Nothing is impossible.
Every so often, I’ll look back at the list. I don’t see it as something dreary and depressing: yeah, these are things I’d like to do before I die, but they’re also things that if I do now, I’ll feel like it improved my life in some way.

We live in a very work-dominated world. We spend 8 or more hours out of each day pushing a pen or behind a desk; we spend more hours working out to try to get physically fit; we spend the last remaining hours out of each day passed out on a couch in front of the t.v., reading a book, listening to family and friends complaining about what’s lacking and missing from their lives and then we sleep for a couple hours. If we’re lucky, we have the weekend ‘off’ but many of us really even take the weekend to relax now? The weekends are when we do chores around the house, run errands, spend time with our friends or catch up with family. We volunteer, exercise, visit family, go to church … and then it’s back to the grind. That’s not living, that’s running in a wheel. What are you doing for YOU?

Earlier this week I posted about indulging. I’ve said this about being healthy: you need to be a tad bit selfish when you’re trying to get fit. Figure out what you want to do in your lifetime, write it down, paste it somewhere that you’ll constantly see it and let others know about your wishes and desires. Your goal, like losing weight or devoting X amount of hours to working out each week, needs to be marking off things from your bucket list. Get out of credit card debt so that you can afford that new car you’ve been eying; take that vacation you’ve always wanted to take; save up for that expensive coat. I think if you don’t indulge a little and do things just for you, you’re going to be unhappy. With this being said, if people are struggling financially, treating themselves with expensive items or going on holiday is not going to solve that issue. This is why it is important to check the health of your finances first before indulging in anything.

I know this from experience! It’s easy to get caught up in the vicious cycle of work: you work 9 to 5, you workout, you’re healthy but you’re still unhappy. You feel like something’s missing; usually, it’s YOU. Where do you fit in with everything? Where are you factoring into this grand equation?

I don’t recommend indulging in dangerous things or going overboard but I think it’s easy to burn out in today’s society. We’re all too busy, occupied and worried with everything going on in our lives that we forget about living the one life we have. It’s such a waste to spend all of your time working on how you look on the outside when beauty, muscles and abs fade with time and age. What lasts is memories and those feelings that come with accomplishing what YOU really want to do. You’re going to be more fit and healthy knowing that at the end of a busy day or life, you took the time to do what you’ve always wanted to do. Regret, sadness and depression all come with the realization or belief we’ve come short of glory and fulfillment, that we missed the mark, we forgot to stop and live in the moment or spent our entire life living and doing what other want and forgot all about the most important person in our life: Me, Myself and I!

If you want to get healthy, realize and put down in writing your goals, dreams and desires. Seeing what you want to accomplish in life is going to help give all the work you do, sacrifices and time spent working toward those goals more meaning and reason. You only have one life to live so you had better get to livin’ it up to the fullest.

Follow me on Twitter @Decaptain

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