Good morning ladies, pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and listen in, it’s the Sassy Moments Podcast, Moment #7 A Mindset Shift.
Last episode I shared the story of Olga the 90 something track athlete – a woman who lived life to the fullest. A woman whose health span pretty much equaled her life span.
We are not breaking into unchartered territory here. It is possible to live longer, happier lives – it is possible to feel younger longer. The first step is to choose to believe that – it’s a mindset thing. Mohammad Ali described it beautifully – “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.” If you do not believe it is possible, you are quite right, it is not possible, for you at least.
We must not submit to the lowest common denominator when it comes to our future and the legacy we are creating. When it comes to longevity – we want our lifespan – how long we live, and our health span to be roughly equivalent. We want to live as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
In developed countries, thanks to modern medicine and our understanding of human physiology, we have extended our lifespan. In fact, by some estimates, it is believed that based on our current understanding of human physiology, we should be able to live to about 120 years. We are living longer, much longer – often more than a quarter century longer than compared to one century ago. But our health span has not extended in kind. Though we are living longer, we are not living longer healthier. Obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease have reached epidemic levels in the past 50 years. In Canada 1 in 4 adults have some form of dementia by the time they are 85 and you can bet their lives had been impacted long before that.
But these disorders are not inevitable. Noooo…. It is possible to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, obesity and diabetes. And guess what – it’s under your control! These are lifestyle related disorders you can control. Increase physical activity; don’t smoke; avoid alcohol; control your weight; eat a healthy diet; manage stress; get adequate sleep. Some are easier than others to adopt, but it is possible.
Why not strive to create a brilliant future? Why not believe that like Olga, we can extend both our life span and our health span. It is possible, no matter how old you are now. Remember Olga was 77 when she took up track. At 85 she was working out 3 times a week. She set world records until she was 95.
We can conceive it in our mind. That is the first function of our brain… to be creative, to imagine more.
Imagine. What do you want to believe is possible for your future? I have a 7 in 10 chance I will live long and mindless – it’s in my genes. I choose not to focus on that. I choose to shift my focus on the 3 in 10 chance I will live an active, independent and meaningful life. I see no advantage to the former belief and nothing but benefit to the latter. Creating habits now that will serve me well later, I am all in. All in. How about you? You in?
How can you build the belief that we can create a brilliant future for ourselves and for generations to come? How can we build the belief that we can narrow the gap between our health span and our life span?
Belief provides fuel for the fire of whatever it is you want to do. To attempt anything, you must first believe – at least a little, that it might be possible. A belief is simply a thought you have told yourself so many times you accept it as true – so true you don’t ever think to question it. To build belief, you cannot tell your brain a lie – she won’t accept it and will kick up a really serious futz.
I think of belief as a continuum, with disbelief at one end and belief at the other end. To build belief – to move yourself from disbelief closer to belief, make tiny shifts in mindset. For example let’s create a shift in mindset to believe as a non-exerciser, you can become a consistent exerciser. If you are a non-exerciser, you hold the belief I never exercise. If you tell yourself I exercise daily consistently – your brain knows you are lying to it. And you will be unable to sustain the change. Make a small shift in several steps. Instead of “I never exercise”, you could tell yourself “it’s possible I could exercise” – that’s not a lie. Then as you start exercising you could progress to “I exercise sometimes.” Then “I exercise often”… then “I always exercise” and ultimately “I always exercise consistently.”
To believe we can narrow the gap between health span and lifespan, we must first believe it might be possible to narrow the gap, to believe there are many strategies that can be used to build a bridge between health span and lifespan. Neither of those two thoughts are lies. So shift your mindset, one small step at a time. The smallest ember can be coaxed into a great blaze.
Talk again soon.
Live Life, Love Life, Always…