7 Harsh Truths that Will Improve Your Health


May 10, 2010   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Raise your hand if you desire to live a healthier and happier life. Fantastic! Now hands down.

I’m glad you recognize how integral good health is in designing a fulfilling, successful, and euphoric life. You realize that money isn’t enough. You see the bigger picture – that a life of true “wealth” requires genuine happiness, peace-of-mind, dream-fulfillment, and more. Kudos to you!

But how do you construct such a life?

Well, there aren’t any “perfect” templates to conform to (thank goodness!). Amazing health is achieved through personal discovery and adaptation. It’s unique to you. Be bold and creative.

However, like in life, there are harsh truths about health that you must understand if you are to improve your health (and life) experiences. Look for the Eureka! lessons – they’ll help you!

  1. Nobody is responsible for your health but you
    The quality of your health is not a responsibility you can delegate. Nor can you legitimately blame others for your unhealthy plights. Healthy lifestyle choices matter. And they’re made by you alone.

Be mindful! Your health responsibilities aren’t just regulated to food choices. You’re equally responsible for keeping active, staying well-rested, reducing stress, having fun (very healthy!), and everything else that influences your overall health and wellness.

The Eureka! Lesson:
Yes, you’re fully responsible for your health. But that means you’re fully empowered too! Thus, your health responsibilities aren’t burdens. They’re gifts of opportunity and self-expression.

  • Health (like life) is unfair
    Unfortunately, all things health are not created equal. Some have better genetics than others. Some have received more meaningful health education than others. Some have better socio-economic conditions than others. Some are flat out luckier. And all of these things are excuses.

The Eureka! Lesson:
Fairness isn’t the point. Opportunity is. America sines as “the land of opportunity”, not the land of handouts. The same applies to your health. You have a chance for greatness. Just how great is up to you.

  • Your health won’t be perfect, ever
    Is health perfection really the goal, or is health greatness? I vote greatness! After all, perfection doesn’t guarantee greatness, and greatness isn’t perfect.

Perfection is quicksand. It snares you in a devilish trap of illusion and frustration. It’s too heavily nuanced with details, rules, false promises, and other venomous constraints. As a result, your enthusiasm and momentum for a healthy lifestyle will suffer, ween, and possibly die. How tragic.

The Eureka! Lesson:
Don’t strive for perfection – strive for greatness! Greatness is a healthy attitude that inspires you to focus on the big picture, live unconventionally, and learn from missteps. It’s about BIG thinking and BOLD living.

  • You cannot out exercise poor nutrition
    “It’s ‘okay’ for me to eat this gluttonous cake wedge because I’m going to the gym later.”

How silly.

You cannot out exercise poor nutrition. First, losing fat, gaining muscle, and just getting healthier isn’t only about “calories in, calories out”. That’s far too simplistic. Your nutrition choices affect your metabolism, sleep patterns, mental acuity, stamina, and happiness (just to name a few).

Second, such misguided beliefs ingrain the wrong health behaviors. Unhealthy indulgences aren’t “rewards”, they’re unhealthy indulgences. Believing otherwise traps you in a vicious loop of stagnant health (at best) or a downward spiral of decaying health (at worst).

The Eureka! Lesson:
Certainly “reward” yourself for staying active. That’s important! Just don’t do it with crap food. Use pleasurable experiences, reasonable purchases, more quality family time, etc. instead.

  • Pain is not gain
    “No pain, no gain” – or so the saying goes. I disagree. 

Pain is painful. Humans have a simple response to anything painful – we stop! So, isn’t the whole “no pain, no gain” argument backwards? Pain incites de-motivation, resentment, rejection, even fear. Which of those promotes improved health and happiness? Try none.

The Eureka! Lesson:
Here’s my version – less pain, more gain. Embrace your true health passions – those healthy pursuits that magnify joy and create meaning. That’s the secret for maintaining awesome health! Skip the pain, it’s for dummies.

  • Unhealthy ignorance is not healthy bliss
    Pretending our society’s unhealthy plights don’t exist exacerbates the problems. Ignorance is not bliss. It’s an intellectual and human-decency crisis. 

67% of US adults are overweight or obese. The US ranks 1st in health care costs (as % of GDP), but 49th in life expectancy.

We cannot wish-away these facts. And the trends are getting worse.

The Eureka! Lesson:
Hope remains! We made this calamity, so we can unmake it. Knowing is half the battle. So, let’s learn these inconvenient truths and use them as calls-to-action for better health and happiness.

  • There are no health bailouts
    The US financial sector was recently rescued from their appalling behaviors by a shiny $700 billion government bailout. But appalling health behaviors cannot be similarly rescued. Why? Because poor health behaviors create health debts that cannot be neutralized by a pen stroke. 

What are these health debts? The things that matter – quality of life, longevity of life, emotional health, disease prevention, psychological health, physical health, overall wellness, and more. These debts corrode your life as it’s happening. And no bailout later in life can reverse time.

The Eureka! Lesson:
Your health is not “too big to fail”. So don’t wait! If your health needs bailing out, then bail it out NOW before things get worse. The rest of your life’s health and happiness depends on it.

“Do not take life too seriously. You will not get out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard

Context matters. Yes, these harsh truths are, well, harsh. Hence, I hope you regard them as calls-to-action to improve the awesomeness of your life. Your health is that powerful.

But don’t go mental. Life is too precious and delicate to take too seriously. Enjoy your health and your life. Be creative. Be bold. Be unconventional. And (perhaps above all else) be a kid! If you unleash your inner-child you’ll discover that a happy, healthy, and spectacular life is rather easy.

I don’t contest that these seven truths represent an exhaustive list. But I have learned them from my own health adventures, many the hard way. I share them in the hopes that they help you with your health adventures!

Yes, you may disagree with a few. I hope you do and that you share your comments because health is too important and personal to be passively accepted and rendered mundane.


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