Deuteronomy 5 gives the account of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments from God. At the time, the commandments were given to protect God’s chosen people and bring life to the community, but, ultimately, all of the law was given to expose human sin and our need for a Savior.
With that concept in mind, I decided to survey some of the healthiest and most productive leaders I know and ask them to list their top 10 practices for a healthy life. The only caveat was this: They actually had to live by the practices they gave me. There could be no “you should do this even though I don’t” principles. They had to practice what they preached (or preach what they practiced).
Some of the responses I got were so good that I actually had to expand my top 10 list to 12. In the end, it all added up to what I call the 12 Practices for a Healthy Life. I’m certain that if you hit a few on this list, you will get healthier. If you’re bold enough to follow the whole thing, you’ll enjoy tremendous health. I guarantee it.
While this is not a magic formula for success, it should give you the guidance you need to pursue a healthy life. I have personally experienced the benefits of these principles and practices and have observed them in the lives of others. The closer I stick to them, the more life and health I enjoy, and the more effective and productive I become.
It’s time to live a fit life. Come on, you can do this!
1. Believe it. Belief is the starting point. If you believe that you can live a healthy life, you can. If you don’t believe it’s possible, then you are likely to fail. As Mark 9:23 tells us, nothing is impossible for him who believes.
2. Value it. We take care of whatever we value most. Most people treat their cars better than their own bodies. We also tend to value stuff over people. It’s important to actually prioritize and place a high value on healthy relationships with God and others, as well as on our physical bodies.
3. Evaluate it. Assessing where you are when you begin and then measuring your progress is a must. Evaluate your current condition. If you don’t know where you are, you’ll never get where you want to go.
4. Plan it. Going through life without a plan is like driving a car without a steering wheel. Write down your plan, post it in plain view and revisit it every week. This leads to success more than 90 percent of the time.
5. Begin it. Like faith, a plan without action is dead, and procrastination is a guaranteed plan-killer. Take the first step and get started! Don’t put it off until tomorrow; that always turns into next week or next month.
6. Fuel it. Give your body, your relationships, your mind and your spirit what they need for optimal performance. Bad food produces bad health. Your body and your spirit both need living water. Don’t destroy your health with bad choices.
7. Exercise it. Everything needs exercise in order to get stronger. Your mind, your muscles and your faith all need to be trained, stretched and tested in order to grow. Laziness leads to atrophy and weakness. Find the things you like to do and get moving!
8. Simplify it. Complexity and clutter bring confusion and drain energy. Making decisions that simplify your life will energize you and give you margin, focus and success.
9. Control it. Consistency is the key. Get a routine that works, set some boundaries and do the little things consistently. Avoid wild swings.
10. Connect it. If we want to succeed at living a healthy life, we need encouragement from others, and it certainly helps if your core group of friends is pursuing a similar way of life. Engage with others. Tell them your goals and give them permission to keep you on track.
11. Do it. Intentions are like treadmills that become clothes hangers: they look good, but they are worthless and take up a lot of space. Like I said in No. 9, do the little things every day; they always become big things.
12. Live it. We’re talking about a lifestyle of good health. It’s not a start-and-stop thing. It’s not a fad diet or a new success formula. This is a way of life—your every day. Let it become just the way you do it.