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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Pihl

What does good health look like to you?

I heard this question recently at a Tony Robbins seminar, and found it intriguing. Partly because I hadn't thought about it very much, and partly because it's clearly a very important question. If you aren't feeling good, it's hard to enjoy anything else going on in your life.

I put together a little self-assessment so that I could evaluate my own health, and potentially make some improvements in my weaker areas. Here are my questions:

  • Do I have enough energy to show up and be a positive force in the world? This includes who I am with friends, with clients, with family, and how I interact with strangers. Am I leaving them better than I found them, rather than passing on a bad mood?

  • Do I have the energy and motivation to do the things that I want to do?

  • Do I have the physical ability to be the person I want to be? Can I play with dogs? Can I pull weeds and work in the garden? Can I ride my bike for transportation? Can I throw small kids into the air and catch them?

  • What do my relationships look like? Are they positive? Are they tender and emotionally vulnerable? Am I being 100% honest? Are they enjoyable or do they feel like obligations? Can I love and accept everyone in my life fully?

  • Hobbies: Do I make time to have fun? How often and how deeply can I lose myself in my activities?

  • Appreciation: Can I enjoy being alive? Do I notice the beauty all around me? Can I live in the present moment instead of rushing from one thing to the next?

  • Do I feel good about my appearance? I don't need to be a body-builder, or a model. But am I in good shape, relatively speaking?

  • Am I free of injuries and pain? Do I moan and groan as I get out of bed in the morning?

  • Am I sleeping well? When I awake in the morning, am I relatively well-rested and ready for another day? Do I feel mentally fresh?

  • How fast am I aging? I think we've all met or seen people who have lived hard, and who typically look a little rough for their age. Conversely, there seem to be some medical marvels out there who haven't aged a day over the last decade. Which track am I on?

  • Am I enthusiastic about my life? Is my attitude positive? Do I feel powerful or do I feel like a victim? Am I grateful, or am I a complainer? Do I feel good about my continued existence? This is more than mental health, maybe more like spiritual health.

  • Cognition: Do I have good mental stamina and focus? Am I staying on top of important details? Is my mind clear, or is it a blurry swarm?

  • Growth and adaptability: Am I learning? Am I growing? As the world changes, as life changes, is my world continuing to expand or is my world gradually shrinking?

  • Humility and grace: Am I at peace with my place in the world? When I encounter difficulty, how do I handle it? How quickly can I get to clear-eyed acceptance of what is? How much time to I waste raging and complaining, willing the world to change instead of me?

The point of this list isn't just to assign yourself a score, or even to find areas to improve upon. Instead, I hope you gained from this list a clearer picture of the person you want to be. Maybe I omitted an area that is really important to you, that's great! For you to identify that area, and say, "Yes, that's important to me, and here's why...." that's what I want for you to do.

It's easy to fall into a pattern of "shoulds" and small, half-hearted habits that don't stick. What's far better, and more fun, is to attach some personal calling, or your personal identity to these things. "I am a person who...., because....." "I believe in....." "...... is a great way to be and I want to be like that." When you have good reasons, the actions flow far more easily. But, you still do need to take action.

Here's a little homework item: pick an area that stands out to you as important, where you want to make some changes. Brainstorm a list of actions that can move you towards that goal. Circle three, and schedule at least one of them. Preferably, take some action immediately to commit you to change in this area. It could be ordering a book, signing up for an appointment with a counselor, scheduling lunch with a friend.... But don't move on with your day until you've taken at least one baby step.

[ps: these last three paragraphs are pure Tony Robbins, I didn't invent this stuff, but it absolutely works to create personal change. So I figured I'd share it in the hopes that it makes a difference for you.]

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