I often refer to the power of three when I discuss health and wellness with people. What I mean when I speak to the power of three is the power of the mind, nutrition, and exercise. These three fundamental building blocks will be essential for the inevitable and soon to be stated News Year’s resolutions where many of us will proclaim this next year will be our year to get slim, trim and super healthy.
Now short of being a Debbie Downer, I just want to point out the alarming statistic that most, nearly all or at least more than 80 percent, of you will fail your next set of New Year’s resolutions to health within days if not weeks of starting your journey to wellness. These failures are a good indication why you need to pay close attention to the power of three if you have any real aspiration to succeed.
It all starts with your mind, not your body. You must be in the right place in your head to make a lasting shift to health and wellness. There are many ways to be derailed by the power of your thoughts, not to mention the group thinking that you get exposed to every day. This is why the very first steps to success with 2018 New Year’s wellness resolutions must start early by minding your head and thoughts now and beat the high failure rate.
Approach dealing with your mind like you would approach a good spring cleaning, remove all the mental junk you have kept, hoarded and stored over the years. It’s time to lose the borrowed hate, toss out the family heirlooms of past drama and angst, donate all that baggage you stored around other people’s problems. Finally, stop owning what others think about you. It is none of your business and removes other people’s addiction; they don’t belong to you so let them go.
How can you move forward with health and wellness when your mind is bogged down in so much muck and mire? All this nasty junk in your head will only lead to excuses, unfulfilled goals, along with regular visits with Ben and Jerry or perhaps long nights with Jack or Bud. Align your best self with your thoughts and stay positive and away from triggers that drive failure.
Next up of the power of three is nutrition, and this one is tough. Many people think this aspect will require giving up all that is good in food and beverage leading back to a troubled mind. Not so, diets are just another way to fail. It comes down to eating good food in moderation and reducing, even removing high carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar from your diet. I am not saying don’t ever eat chocolate or have pasta, red wine or even your most favorite guilty pleasure food from your life ever again. You need to remember the 80/20 rule and start out with achievable goals. Most people eat 80 percent of their daily diet filled with high carbohydrate foods and 20 percent of their diet with healthy proteins, fats, and nutrient-dense vegetables. The simple way to correct your eating habits is to switch your percentages, flip right foods around and make 80 percent of what you eat amazingly healthy foods and 20 percent all the other stuff. Changing how you eat, will take weeks, and since we are nearing the holidays, the timing could not be worse. But what a great time to test your newfound resolve and clear mind to take on the 80/20 food challenge.
All these factors lead us to the third and final essential part of the power of three, exercise. Believe it or not, exercise is the least of your worries and the easiest to master once you have the other two aspects of control. Exercise activity does not need to be overdone, and when it is, failure is guaranteed. Chronic exercise leads to inflammation, injury and burnout. Too much exercise is a surefire way back to the couch and sedentary behavior. Once you have your mind and thoughts clear and your whole foods and nutrition well managed, your energy levels will increase and so will your desire to be active and exercise. You’re going to start feeling good, and with that, you will be motivated to keep up the great work.
We need to face the fact that in our fast-paced, information-overdriven world, our mental state is more fragile than even the toughest of us can imagine. Our attention is currently pulled in more directions on a constant basis then just 10 years ago.
As for nutrition, we are what we eat, and roughly three-fourths of our U.S. population consumes only small amounts of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, and good fats. To add to the underconsumption of healthy whole foods, over half the U.S. population’s daily calorie intake is based on 80 percent grain-based, highly processed and sugary foods.
Humans are designed to move, but we are not intended to handle chronic exercise patterns. It is essential to be active and set up a regular workout regimen. Just remember it does not need to be done in excess, and it is better to take it slow and focus on your mental state and nutrition more than your ability to bike, run and swim the next half Ironman. As your energy levels increase, so will your desire and ability to keep your exercise levels up and your overall health and wellness at its peak.
Judd Jones is a director for The Hagadone Corporation and Certified Health Coach.