The Five Foundations of a Healthy Life of Excellence.

There are five elements you need that, if you make a non-negotiable part of your life, you will move towards achieving a healthy physical and mental life of excellence and goal achievement. These are simple, time tested parts of life that anyone can do with just a little self-discipline and purpose.

What are they?

Sleep, diet, hydration, exercise and planning.

The problem in society is we are squeezing tasks and commitments into our available time (those unalterable twenty-four hours we all get each day) that do not benefit us in either the short-term or long-term. These are quick dopamine hits (the pleasure hormone) like checking our social media feeds for likes and comments or ‘busy tasks’ that do not move our projects or goals forward and make us feel more overwhelmed and busy.

As a result, these five essential parts of a healthy life get shifted to an “if I get time” category and we all know you will never have time.

If you truly want to feel stress-free, less overwhelmed, in control of your time and the direction your life is going, a part of that means you must prioritise these five fundamental building blocks of health and excellence. These foundations must become a non-negotiable part of your life. They must become a part of who you are and prioritising them is something you do before you even look at the work you feel you need to do.

Here’s why:

Sleep

If you are not getting enough sleep each day you are never going to perform at your best. Full stop. We all know this and the science is not in question. Yet, so many people continually neglect to go to bed at a reasonable time. Instead, they sit up watching TV or shows on Netflix or consume social media and YouTube videos.

A lack of sleep depletes your ability to concentrate, make decisions and be creative and at the same time makes you more error-prone, irritable and causes you to procrastinate. Why would you ever want to be in that state? And yet people do this to themselves every day.

If you want to wake up and begin the day with positivity, energy and purpose then you need to get your six to eight hours of sleep each night. Everyone is different and you need to find your requirements. For me, I require six-and-a-half hours of sleep each evening, I know other people who need seven or eight. Find your optimum and create a sleep routine that adds thirty minutes to that time. For example, I know I need six-and-a-half hours so I go to bed seven hours before I want to wake up. This ensures I get my minimum requirement of sleep each night.

Diet

We know refined carbohydrates (white rice, white flour and refined grains) and processed sugar are not good for us. In the 1970s, health professionals, concerned about the increasing levels of heart disease, began pushing a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet, which inadvertently led to an explosion in obesity around the world. Now, we know that these highly processed foods that contain no nutritional benefit and plays havoc with our insulin levels (leading to large increases in type 2 diabetes) are not the answer to more energy. Instead, we need to eat less refined carbohydrates and more healthy fats and proteins.

These refined carbohydrates also cause our body’s natural blood sugar levels to drop alarmingly after an initial spike and this drop causes our ability to focus and be alert to drop with it. This is why after having a large, carbohydrate-rich lunch you will often find yourself experiencing the “afternoon slump”.

Instead, eat healthy, energy-giving foods such as fruit and organic vegetables. Eat clean proteins such as meat, eggs, tofu or plant-based proteins and make sure you are drinking enough water each day.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is another area that if you are not paying attention to will cause an alarmingly drop in your overall performance. Water is essential to life and you need to make sure you are drinking enough if it. When your water levels drop so does your cognitive abilities (abilities to concentrate, make decisions and solve problems) as well as weakening your immune system leaving you at higher risk of catching a cold or other illness.

Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and make it part of your daily routine to be drinking from it regularly throughout the day.

Exercise

A regular exercise programme is a great way to keep stress levels under control, maintain a healthy weight and helps to ward off illnesses such as colds and flu. In addition to that, it also helps us focus better, maintain positive moods and be more creative.

So why are so many people not incorporating a regular exercise routine into their daily lives?

Often it is because of false beliefs about exercise, usually picked up while at school. “Exercise hurts”, “I’m not good at sport” etc. This is simply not true. Exercise does not mean climbing ropes in a school gymnasium or doing fifty press-ups or being part of a sports team. Exercise simply means you are moving at a rate fast enough to elevate your heart rate and breathing.

To achieve that all you have to do is stop taking the elevator and walk up the stairs. Or when you get home at the end of the day, go out for a brisk thirty-minute walk. Join a local aerobics or Yoga club. Anything that involves movement that will elevate your heart rate and breathing. Do this for thirty to forty minutes four to five times a week and you will quickly start to feel the benefits to your overall health, concentration abilities and emotional health.

Planning

When you have a plan for the day that is written down, you put yourself in control of the day. It does not matter what level you are in your company, whether you are the CEO or the new employee that started working last week. Simply having a written down plan for what you will do each day will put you in control of your time.

Part of the reason so many people feel stressed out and overwhelmed is that they spend the day in a reactive state. Reacting to the noisiest demands from customers, colleagues and bosses. This develops a feeling that the demands for your attention and time is never-ending and this feeds the feeling you are not in control of your time or your life.

Instead, by planning your day (the night before) and selecting a few meaningful tasks you want to complete, no matter what the day throws at you, you will feel in control. When you feel in control of what you do each day you experience better levels of emotional health, you make progress on the things you want to make progress on and your stress levels drop significantly.

Bringing it all together

As we start the new year, this is a great time to evaluate how you are with these foundations of a healthy life of excellence. If you find you have an imbalance, for example, you get plenty of sleep but your diet is bad, make the necessary changes.

You do not have to go all pro-athlete with these. For most people all that is required are a few tweaks to their diet, incorporating some daily exercise and doing a fifteen-minute planning session at the end of the day. None of these will involve a lot of time and all of them are achievable.

The key is to make these five areas non-negotiable both with yourself and with your friends and colleagues. Your exercise time has to be non-negotiable. What you eat needs to be non-negotiable (although having a ‘cheat day’ once a week is no problem — just make sure it is one day, not seven!) The time you go to bed each night and your daily planning session needs to be built in, baked in and non-negotiable.

When you have these five areas built into your life, you will very quickly start to see huge benefits to your wellbeing, health, goal achievement and mood. You will feel happier, stronger, more creative and alert and you will become a beacon of inspiration to everyone around you. Now that surely is a worthwhile goal as we begin a new decade.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

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Carl Pullein

Carl Pullein

4.1K Followers

I help people learn to manage their lives and time better so they can experience joy and build a life they are truly proud of. www.carlpullein.com