Have you ever marveled at what humans have been able to accomplish? It is truly amazing! We are unlike any species and have seemingly unlimited potential. Think of the “greats,” the people you admire most who are living or have lived. Now stop for a minute, and realize that YOU are also amazing. You have unlimited potential and you can do and create amazing things and become whoever you want to be! You can accomplish and do things as great or greater than the people who came before you. No matter the circumstances or life you were born into, you have the power to change and become anything your heart desires. In the words of George Eliot, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” But it all starts with accepting responsibility.
The Deck Is Stacked Against Us
It’s no secret that the deck is stacked against us when it comes to trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Our society is overrun with unhealthy, processed, cheap food. Modern technology allows us to sit and be inactive as much as we want. And to top it all off we are working longer hours, experiencing more stress and less restful sleep. In short, unhealthy is the new normal. And in order to be healthy we have to fight against that norm, making it harder and harder to reach the health goals we want. So where does this leave us? Despite this, the choice is still ours…
It’s Our Life & Health—Own It
Can we be honest with each other? Let’s get real and let’s do it fast because we are running out of time and the odds aren’t in our favor. Here it is. There are always two ways of looking at every situation. You can either blame others and forever be a victim…or you can accept responsibility and use whatever power you have to change the situation. The first sucks all power from you. The second empowers you. The same is true with our health and current health problems.
While our genetics and environment influence us, they don’t have to define us or our future unless we let them. The truth is, life isn’t fair and it never will be. Some have been dealt a harder hand than others. But no matter our current circumstances we are still left with two choices. We can continue to live the way we are and point our fingers at the food companies and others and blame them for our current problems. But we all know what that gets us. Nothing. Or we can rise up, accept things the way they are, accept fault for things we have control over and make any changes within our power to make the situation better. It is our life and health—own it.
The Power Is In Our Hands
So just how much CAN we control? Let this inspire you…recent research has proven that we can eliminate at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, more than 40% of all cancer cases and almost all cases of obesity by simply changing our lifestyle! So what does this mean? It means even though the deck is stacked against us, WE still hold the power and keys to fix this problem if we want to by simply changing the way we live. How awesome is that?! But we must take ownership for our own health. Blaming or demonizing others, including the fast and junk food industry, will never get us healthy or fix the problem.
So what can we do? We need to lead by example, be the change we want to see. If we want food companies to make healthier foods, we have to stop buying so much unhealthy food. After all, food companies will only continue to make products we purchase. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pressure food companies to stop advertising unhealthy foods to kids. We should and will continue to push for such changes. Kids cannot be expected to make healthy life choices completely on their own. They need less advertising directed at them. But more than that, they need healthier role models, starting with their parents. In fact, the best thing we can do for our kids is to model healthy behaviors including proper sleep, exercise and nutrition. Kids are more likely to follow their parent’s example making it the greatest influence for better or worse on their health. If you are a parent or role model to kids, commit to helping them be healthy by leading with your example.
Ultimately, change lies within our control. Remember, our genetics and environment do influence us but don’t define us, or our future. The late Stephen R. Covey wisely said “until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’” No excuses. As an adult with personal control, no one is forcing you to do anything. Don’t get stuck being a victim your whole life. The past is behind you. Take control of your future and be empowered.
I can’t promise it will be easy. In fact, to start out with it’s probably going to be really hard. But all things worth having don’t come without some serious effort, and that also goes for good health. It’s time we stopped waiting for a quick-fix that will NEVER come, and instead start to focus on healthy lifestyle practices that will truly bring long-term change. Remember, you are a human and can do amazing things! So let’s get started. Assuming responsibility for your own actions and current health status is the first step. The power is in our hands...let's start a Health Movement!