What's the One Thing?
One of the questions that I ask new patients when they come into our office is, “What’s the one thing, the one health goal that if you achieved it would have the biggest impact on your quality of life, not only now but well into the future?". Then comes the blank stare and confused look. Most people are what I call “present biased”. They are biased by the present, too busy to think about or plan for the future.
How fast did the last 10 years of your life go? I don’t know about you but they seemed to go by in a snap for me. How old are you now? Let’s say you’re 54, you’ll be 64 pretty quick, then 74 right after that. Wouldn’t you like to function as well at 64 as you did at 54? How about 74? Wouldn’t you still like to be playing competitive tennis, jogging, or rocking your garden? How about traveling and hiking? How about having the energy to keep up and play with your grandkids? Life is like a candle, meant to burn at the same intensity the whole time and then flicker a couple of times at the end and go out.
Most people think, “I’ll be fine”. It’s like their finances. Surveys show that more than 60% of Americans will retire with less than $10,000 and 45% will retire with nothing. We don’t think about saving financially for the future, and we don’t know how to save in our health savings account (our quality of life) for the future either. Look around? Do you see all of those assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, memory-care facilities? I know you think, “that won’t be me”. The average American's lifetime risk of using a nursing home is substantially greater than previous research has suggested, according to a RAND Corporation study. We are living longer but we are certainly not living longer healthier. The average life expectancy is 78 but the average health expectancy is 63.
My advice is to live for today but plan for the future. It’s coming and it’s coming fast. Life doesn’t stop and it’s nice to know that’s you can enjoy your life in the future because you’ve planned for it both financially, and health-wise too.
I like automatic deposits, both for my savings and for my health. For my savings, I have money swept out automatically into both my wife’s and my Vanguard accounts each month. I also have an App on my phone called Acorns that rounds up to the nearest dollar every purchase I make and multiples it times 5, and then deposits into an account. I’ve saved $10,000 in less than 2 years with little deposits. We’ve also managed to save a good bit of money over the years in our Vanguard accounts with automatic monthly deposits.
Likewise, I like scheduled, automatic deposits for my health too. Set it and forget it. That way it becomes a habit. I meditate at the same time each morning, I make a healthy breakfast each morning and my wife makes a healthy dinner each night. I take my supplements right after breakfast. We walk the dog each morning 3 miles and I work out at the gym the same 4 days and times each week. I go to bed and wake up most mornings at the same time so I can get my 7-8 hours of sleep. I treat my health habits the way I treat my savings habits, scheduled weekly deposits without having to think about it.
So what’s the one thing for YOU? What deposits do you need to start making into your “health savings account”? Do you need to start exercising? Start sleeping more? Start eating better? Start supplementing better? Start meditating? Write them down and get them scheduled into your calendar and commit to them. They say that we make our habits but then our habits make us. What have your habits made you thus far, and what will they make you in the future?
Yours in great health,
Dr. Dane Donohue is a Chiropractor in Newtown PA and has been serving his community for over 25 years. Wellness Solution Centers provides all the services you need for a healthy life.