Did you know that it only takes 66 days for a behavior to become a habit?
If you know your “why,” then you know the person you want to be. However, it’s not always easy to be that person every day. Your habits sometimes work for you and sometimes against you. Thus, successfully navigating these complex minefields to become the person you aspired to be can be challenging. I’d like to set out to inspire you and share with you some practical codes for successful living and working in your world.
What does success mean to you? What kind of success would you like in your life? Success is the accomplishment of any number of possible aspirations, dreams or goals. It’s very personal and unique to you. To be able to look back and say, “I lived a successful life” means successfully pursuing a myriad of aims and goals. My hope is that this article will guide you to accomplishing them, from your largest and most audacious through to the smallest and most mundane. Your list of dreams and goals probably seems pretty endless and one thing is for certain – it will change with each passing day. You may succeed in reaching the top of one mountain only to have fresh insights about other mountains. Mountains you didn’t even know were there. Priorities and dreams change.
Think about it now. What does success look like?
- Knowing your “why”… your purpose.
- Attending to your brain health, like “loving your brain” and “feeding your brain.”
- Possessing healthy relationships, both personal and professional.
- Following your heart without regrets.
- Embracing your understanding of spirituality and/or following your faith practice.
- Managing your stress.
- Being at peace.
- Loving your work and never feeling stressed doing it.
- Adopting good nutritional and gut health.
- Losing weight and sustaining the weight loss.
- Practicing generational health, thus bringing up your children well and seeing them create their own families.
- Working toward hormonal balance.
- Dedicating yourself to daily exercise, such as cardio, weights and calming forms.
- Having a vision for your financial health.
- Saving a particular amount of money.
- Paying off your mortgage.
- Being happy and content with what you have.
- Traveling to countries that you have on your bucket list.
- Learning a foreign language.
- Learning an art form – dance, music, painting.
- Running a marathon.
- These are just suggestions based on goals I hear from family, friends and patients that I manage. Take time out now to write down your own list. Please don’t edit yourself and don’t worry about what order the ideas come to you. Just let them flow out in a stream of consciousness.
- These 5 actions that follow will help you achieve any kind of success you can imagine. The ideas relate to all areas of your work and life:
- Personality and character.
- Relationships and parenting.
- Learning and studying.
- Health and peace.
- Work and career.
- Wealth and finances.
- Retirement and legacy.
1. Successful People Always Remember Their “Why”
Research shows that knowing your purpose…your “why” in life is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy. It is important to note that your profession is not your purpose. Your profession is a tool. It is the craft you use to accomplish your purpose.
How do you get to your purpose? It is a mindset about why you wake up each day. If you know your purpose, then you are one of the lucky ones. But, beware of complacency so that you don’t lose it. If you are still defining your purpose, then these tools will help.
Use a Post-it Note & Write down these three words: Grow • Give • Gratitude
Each morning, ask yourself these questions:
How will I grow today?
Key: Learn something new every day
What can I gift to someone today?
Key: gift without expecting something in return (This can be a skill that is hard to learn. We frequently feel that if we give, we should receive something in return. Give for the sake of loving people).
Bonus Point: the most valuable gift you can offer is yourself.
For whom or what am I grateful?
Key: Be open to receiving “gifts” from other people.
Each evening answer these questions:
How did I grow today? What did I learn?
To whom did I gift today?
What happened today that I am grateful for?
Practice “The Law of Receptivity.”
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
2. Successful People Read Daily
Reading broadens your understanding and appreciation of life and of yourself…your brain. It is NEVER too late to have a healthy brain! By reading, this allows for the learning of something new every day, and with neuroplasticity, you can cause the brain to become bigger, stronger and more active, at ANY age!
3. Successful People Belong To A Tribe
“For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” (Seth Godin)
Healthy relationships or tribes are a vital component of health and wellbeing. Studies have demonstrated that these positive connections help folks live longer; deal with stress; be healthier; and feel richer! Just flourish!
Conversely, the health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, high blood pressure and obesity. And, in fact other studies reveal that low social support is linked to a number of health consequences: depression, decreased immune function and other physical, emotional and spiritual health problems.
4. Successful People Manage Their Stress
“Stress is the trash of modern life – we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.” (Terri Guillemets)
Here are some recommendations for coping with stress:
STOP Stress in its Tracks…Stress Reduction
O: Observe…Mind and Body
P: Proceed…in the Positive
Specifically, institute down shifting / downsizing; engage in self-care / self-love; practice mindfulness; and perform other stress management coping skills, i.e., practice gratitude, practice kindness, allow for digital detox, become emotionally intelligent and eat clean, whole and nutrient-dense foods.
5. Successful People Make Health A Priority
“Your Health Is Your Most Treasured Asset.” (Alan P. Mintz, M.D.)
It is extremely important to become proactive regarding your own health and wellness. You MUST be your own advocate! To do this consider a lifestyle medicine evaluation, whereby a comprehensive workup is performed. You should definitely know your numbers, i.e., fasting blood sugar and insulin levels, along with Hemoglobin A1C; lipid / cholesterol panel; kidney and liver functions; chemistries and electrolytes; complete blood count; sensitive / specific thyroid function tests; Vitamin D3; nutritional biomarkers; risk for heart disease markers and sex hormone levels, including cortisol (stress hormone).
With regard to sleep fitness, are you getting 7 to 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep or your own “sleep need”? (FYI: “sleep need” varies with age and socially-determined wake-up time.) Besides feeling rested in the morning, there are some significant benefits derived from experiencing quality and quantity of sleep on a nightly basis. Good sleep can turn on 700 health promoting genes.
Eating and drinking well is important. Because water is the largest component of the body, thus proper hydration (1/2 your body weight in ounces) with “Ideal Water” is vital. In my opinion, “Ideal Water” is Electrolyzed Reduced Water. This is Charged (acting as an Antioxidant) Alkaline Water… water with a pH greater than neutral (pH of 7.0) …somewhere between 8.5 and 9.5.
Daily eating of clean, whole, fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruits, along with nuts, seeds and whole grains is key. Remember we can’t get all of our nutrient values from the foods, because the soils have been so over farmed; therefore, I recommend these categories of supplements; and they include:
- A food-grade, nutrient dense Multi-Vitamin and Mineral Complex based on optimal levels of ingredients and not “fairy-dusted” RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances).
- Omegas / Fish Oils sourced ethically from smaller fish like sardines, anchovies and/or krill, thus decreasing our exposure to mercury.
- A natural form of Vitamin D3, partnered with absorbable / chelated forms of Calcium and Magnesium (1:1 ratio), along with Vitamin K2 that directs those macrominerals, Calcium and Magnesium into bones as opposed to blood vessels.
The question always comes up. What is the best exercise(s)? The simple answer… The exercise that you will do! I believe in moving naturally and engaging in “Smart Exercise.”
It is important to schedule on your calendar (personal planner) 5 to 7 days a week, preferably in the morning, a variety of the three forms of exercise. Each exercise session should have a duration of 30 – 45 minutes, minimum.
Dr. Karen Pendleton: Co-Founder/CEO of the concierge Lifestyle Medicine practice: Pair O’ Docs Bio-Rejuvenis. Affiliate, FitnessGenes Pro. Earned Doctor of Medicine degree from Tulane University School of Medicine; and completed Ophthalmology Residency and Fellowship training in Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the LSU Eye Center, both institutes in New Orleans, LA. Received continuing education from Tulane’s Institute for Culinary Medicine and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Passion is for patient education at the individual and community levels. Take a comprehensive approach to patient care, concentrating on the management of metabolic and hormonal imbalances; correction of nutritional deficits; and tailoring exercise physiology. Encourage each patient, their families and our communities to achieve health, personal fulfillment and the goal-attainment of “Be Healthy…Look Better…Perform Well.
DISCLAIMER: All of the information found in this article is based on the opinion of the author Karen M. Pendleton, M.D. The information is meant to motivate readers to make their own health decisions after consulting with their own health care providers. All readers should consult a doctor before making a health change, especially those that are related to a specific diagnosis or health condition. No information in this article should be relied on in determining a diet, making a medical diagnosis or determining a treatment for a medical condition. The information in this article is not intended to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare practitioner and is not intended as medical advice. No information in this article should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.