Treat Your Health Like Your Retirement Investing

I was listening to a podcast the other day related to business and there was one statement on the dangers of adopting a victim mentality that stuck with me.

“If you have a victim mentality, you’ll only get victim results”. -Mignon Francois

This can be applied to any area of our life, including health. And we are all guilty of adopting a victim mentality at one point or another. One of the most common pitfalls I see others making when it comes to health is holding onto this mentality with a death grip.

The reality is you’ll get out of your health what you’re willing to put in. And investing in yourself means admitting that you have control over your circumstances. This starts with shedding victimhood.

You would never expect your retirement account to grow if you aren’t making incremental investments over time. If you feel like a victim of the system you probably wouldn’t start investing in the first place. And you can’t expect your health to improve if you aren’t taking the same approach.

The path toward better health is consistent investing. Like your retirement accounts, the more you invest the more your efforts compound over time.

Adopting a Health Investment Mentality

The first step toward making steady investments in your health is getting rid of unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors surrounding your health. You can’t “cancel out” bad behaviors with good behaviors so it’s time to ditch this mindset.

Like your finances, you need to minimize and eliminate debt in order to successfully save and invest. Same with your health. You can’t cancel out that cigarette with a salad or a run. The one hour at the gym doesn’t make up for the other 23 hours of the day in which you were sedentary.

There’s also no need to punish yourself for indulging once in a while. It’s not healthy to feel you need to “earn” that piece of cake with an intense work out if you’re only eating cake once in a while. Over time, work toward a place where you have more net good habits than bad habits.

Make as many good choices as often as possible and they add up over time. Go for the water instead of soda. Go to bed earlier. Walk to the post office rather than drive. It really can be that simple.

Areas of Your Health to Invest In

1. Sleep

Sleep is the lowest hanging fruit for improving your health. You can completely overhaul your eating habits and lifestyle, but you won’t get the full benefit until you’re getting quality sleep. For clients looking to get healthier, this is usually where I advise they start. Getting better sleep will allow you to make better choices throughout your day, creating a positive cycle.

When you’re tired, you’re much more likely to reach for caffeine and sugary foods to keep yourself going. The sad irony is that these choices then prevent you from getting the rest you need, creating a vicious cycle. Break the cycle. Sleep well. Make better choices.

2. Move

All healthy people have a habit of moving throughout their day. No matter how small the movement, it all adds up. So take every opportunity for movement you can find.

Sit on the floor instead of the couch. Maximize the movement in your house chores by making them less convenient. Walk to the mailbox instead of picking the mail up from your car. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Squat to unload your dishwasher. So many possibilities here.

Your body was designed to move and move often. So don’t feel as though you need to spend hours on end at the gym to be healthy unless you find that sort of thing interesting. Some of the healthiest people I’ve worked with never set foot inside the gym.

3. Gratitude

It is infinitely more difficult to reach your goals if you can’t appreciate where you’re starting or the progress you’ve made. Research even shows that people who have a regular gratitude practice are more likely to reach their goals and live a fulfilling life.

No, your health might not be perfect. We can’t avoid every chronic health condition, and sometimes health conditions develop despite our best efforts. But this doesn’t mean you need to punish yourself or only look at the downside. The more you can adopt the habit of being grateful for everything you’re able to do, the more likely you are to live a healthy life.

4. Focus on Simple

This was stated above, but a healthy lifestyle can be quite simple. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or to invest hundreds of dollars in equipment or supplements.

Start with what you can. Make simple changes like drinking water instead of sugary beverages. Eat simple, unprocessed foods. If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize the ingredients list, it’s probably something that shouldn’t make a regular appearance in your life. Sleep more. Move often.

Make small changes over time, think about how you feel. And continue exploring until you find what works for you.

And that’s it. These simple changes allow you to invest in your health all throughout the day. If you aren’t making regular investments in yourself, you can’t be upset with your lack of progress. How can you start to invest in your health today?

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