A few months beyond my 40th birthday, I discovered the first secret to aging well.
It was to stop dwelling and start doing.
How often do you hear someone with an ache or a health setback say, “I’m just getting old,” or make some derogatory remark about their body? Are you one who complains about getting old?
Well, if you say so!
That’s how to counter those remarks and thoughts, because whatever you tell yourself repeatedly eventually becomes reality.
And I simply refuse to accept thinking that “it’s inevitable.”
This reaction is not sticking my head in the sand and ignoring the passage of time. It’s a mental trick to help keep me young. I know that once I give in to that way of thinking, the slide begins. Is it inevitable that I’m going to be in pain because I’m just getting old? Is it inevitable that I’m going to get flabbier and weaker with age?
If I begin to think that, then I’m more likely to relax on the lifestyle choices that I make, to think that there’s no use. And then the aging process really sets in, because I’m not taking good care of myself.
Little decisions start to add up, whether they’re bad ones or good ones.
So as much as possible, choose the good ones.
My great Life Reboot started the year I turned 40, and as part of that, I began walking a couple of miles each day. I reduced my stress and cleared my head just with that one decision, to get outside and walk every day. My doctor used to ask me if I exercised, and I would say, “yeah, some.” But really, I didn’t, and my lie hurt me and those around me who suffered from my moodiness and poorly managed stress.
The next spring, I tried out a gym and decided that while I didn’t always like working out – I liked having worked out. As I started to feel stronger, happier, self-confident, and younger, exercise became more and more part of my routine. Today, I consider it my sanity-saver.
I also discovered a book that helped me turn my life around, “Younger Next Year for Women,” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge M.D. What they wrote made a lot of sense, and I since then have recommended it to many others.
To be sure, getting older is not for sissies. It’s hard to get up earlier and exercise, or to take time at lunch to do it. It’s hard to choose the apple over the cookie and the salad over the burger and fries. Many of the little choices that lead to a better life are hard. But they’re also worth it in the end.
Are you ready to stop dwelling and start doing?
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