Author of the award-winning book, Live Long, Die Short: A Guide to Authentic Health and Successful Aging and President of Masterpiece Living.
Dr. Landry, the title of your book is Live Long, Die Short. What exactly do you mean by “short?”
“Short” in this context has a meaning more like “quickly.” The public health term for this concept is compression of morbidity. So, let’s explain what that means.
Currently, in our country the usual lifespan is characterized by growth, maintenance of function, and then decline… or morbidity. This period of decline can be long, painful and expensive… but it doesn’t have to be!
The most current research tells us if we pay attention to our lifestyle and keep moving, learning, connecting to others and having meaning and purpose in our lives, we can limit the period of decline … we can compress our morbidity. The result of this would be to make the time we’re sick, impaired and dying … shorter.
So, come on everybody. Get out there and compress your morbidity! Let’s put the squeeze on sickness.
We’re starting a new year and I’d like to make some changes in my lifestyle so that I can age in a better way. But, I’ve tried that before and haven’t been very successful. What do you recommend?
You’re not alone. Most of us have made resolutions to move more, challenge our brain, be more connected or find a passion that’ll get us out of bed in the morning. But these changes didn’t stick. The reason? We think too big.
As humans, we’re wired to react to large change with a response that actually dooms us to fail. That’s right. We inherited this from our ancestors. So when we try to change too much too soon, we ultimately fail. So what’s the answer? KAIZEN.
Kaizen is a Japanese approach to any change that is based on the principle of small steps to changes that stick. Here’s how it works…
Say you want to lose 15 pounds so you can ease the pain on your joints, or have more energy, or travel, or even just to get a few compliments on how great you look.
So, now ask yourself: What’s the smallest thing I can do to begin? That’s right … the smallest thing. Maybe it’s walking 100 more steps a day. Or, eating only half a candy bar, having one more helping of vegetables each week or not eating after 7PM. Whatever it is … that’s your change, not the 15 pounds … only this small change. When the small change gets easy, then ask yourself what the next smallest thing you can do … and do that, and so forth. And, if you can’t quite make the change you decided on, then you took too big a step and ratchet back a bit. You cannot fail with this approach!
The point is, be patient. Set tiny goals. That will lead to success after success and to change that sticks.
So, ONWARD … in small steps.
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