One of my students was telling me about the time she spent with relatives over the holidays. Her uncle who was visiting from out of town has a bad back, and he was in obvious pain every time they got in and out of the car, every time he stood up from a chair or sat down, pretty much all the time. My student remarked how “lucky” she was not to be afflicted with that kind of physical malady, and it made me think.
On the one hand, I agree with her. Good health is a gift and a blessing that should not be taken for granted. But on the other hand, I reminded her that her good health is the result of more than just dumb luck. My student does yoga at least two times/week, once in a private session with me, and again one or two times a week on her own. My student has a gym membership which she uses regularly and rides her bicycle often. My student eats healthily, avoiding excess sugar and processed foods. In other words, she invests not just time, but effort and money to ensure and enhance her good luck. Her good health is the reward of both her actions and a bit of luck. She has “skin” in the game and she reaps what she sows.
The new year is a good time to recognize how to live with intention. It’s not always easy in the moment to make the choices that will take you further on the path of where you want to go. It’s hard to say no to the offered cookie or to make yourself get up early to get in your workout before the day gets too busy, but the investment of effort is greatly rewarded. While I’ve heard many people express regret that they didn’t keep up their yoga practice, I’ve never met anyone who regretted the time they spent on the mat. And while people are kept from enjoying their favorite activities by an illness or an injury, I’ve never heard anyone lament on how much they missed out on because they were working out or doing yoga.
So if you want to be lucky enough to feel your best in 2018, then stack the deck by investing in your health. Hire a personal trainer, sign up for a series of classes and attend them, set your alarm a half-hour earlier to meditate or hit the gym, print out some healthy recipes and make them, etc. None of these actions is a guarantee, but give them time, and like most good investments, the dividends will be substantial.