Lifestyle Changes?

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 edition of Delaware Communion

Lifestyle Changes?

Praise the Lord; the gym is empty again! It’s getting to be the time of year when the New Year baby is entering the toddler phase, meaning most of us have already shrugged off those lofty resolutions and moved on with our lives. And why not? Those pesky resolutions really get in the way.

I absolutely dread going to my fitness mecca after the ball drops. The first week it’s jam packed with well intentioned folks wearing fancy new Spandex outfits going at the machines and weights with reckless abandon, squeezing out the regulars. So, us regulars muddle through and bide our time. By the second and third weeks the herd has thinned, and by the last week in January only the diehard New-Years-Resoluters are hanging on (by their fingernails, dare I say). But they too drop off by the end of the month and homeostasis is restored by the feast day of St. Valentine.

Now I realize fitness isn’t everyone’s thing, but I think my little gym analogy applies to most of the resolutions we set. At first we’re all gung ho, but then life gets in the way and we return to our old patterns. It seems, at least to me, that resolutions are a lot like diets: one can see some immediate change but as soon as the diet ends we’re back to where we started…or worse. So, what’s the answer? I think instead of resolutions and diets, which are usually temporary, the answer is lifestyle change.

A lifestyle change? I can almost hear the gasps. “But Todd,” you say, “that’s something I have to do every-single-day-world-without-end!” Yes. Yes, it is. “But how?” you ask. “I don’t have the time. I’m simply too busy!” Hogwash. I get tired of hearing that excuse. I’m busy. You’re busy. I get it, everyone is busy. We make time for what’s important. Instead of binge watching a season of some mind-numbing show on Netflix, compliment your spouse or say a quick prayer on a daily basis. Those resolutions cost nothing, and can be accomplished in under a minute. The trick is not to shoot for the moon with something too lofty. Start small. And, if you’re still deciding on your resolution for the year and need an idea, I’ll fill you in on mine (plus it’s never too late to make resolutions!).

I was huffing and puffing at my gym of the aforementioned fame, and on one TV was an inspirational quote to achieve “well-th” in 2018. Well-th is a clever amalgam of wellness and health. So, I decided that my resolution, er, I mean lifestyle change, for 2018 would be: achieve well-th. But what exactly does that boil down to? Seems kind of ambiguous, like the classic resolutions of “get fit” or “eat healthier.” I needed something concise to know exactly what the endgame is and how to get there. I turned to good ‘ole Merriam-Webster to define well-th. According to M-W, wellness is defined as, “a quality or state of good health especially as an actively sought goal” and health as, “the condition of being sound in mind, body, or spirit.” So, my takeaway is: well-th is defined as: actively seeking a sound mind, body, and spirit.

I believe Gieco has a commercial tagline about how easy it will be. Every day I’ll do one thing to improve either mind, body, or spirit. This year I plan to travel, read more books, do random acts of kindness, meditate, go to church more, volunteer, and, yes, go to the gym. I may even take a class. I hear colleges have started these new things called online courses where you can learn from the comfort of your own home. By the end of 2018 (and beyond), I may not be well-thy, but it certainly won’t hurt. I bet a caveman could do it.

I was trolling around on social media recently (yes, wasting time and not being well-thy) and saw a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The first wealth is health.” Today’s society is so focused on our careers, kids’ sports schedules, possessions, and whatever else jumps up on our phones we lose sight of what’s really important. Give yourself the gift of well-th in 2018.