What is up with men’s health? Why is it that in a country with the best health care in the world we have so many unhealthy men? The problem gets worse as we age. Men who are 50+ are the worst offenders. Just when they have the time to enjoy their lives, travel with their spouses or partners, enjoy their grandkids, take time for hobbies, whatever, everything goes down the drain. They become sedentary, neglect their health and, as a result, die younger than women and experience more chronic disease.
Working in the health care field, I’ve seen so many men out of shape and in poor health, especially after 50. I wanted to know what made the healthy men tick. How did they stay focused with all of the complexities of their lives and still find time to take care of themselves? In order to answer this, I designed a survey asking 1,000 healthy living men across the nation what motivated them to carry on.
The answers across the board were about the things most of us value the most: wives, partners, spouses, kids, grandkids, friends, hobbies, and careers. As it turns out, our social connections are what motivate us to care about our health and take the necessary steps to get healthy and stay healthy.
This discovery inspired me to write a book about men’s health and social motivation. In my book, Crack The Code, I offer 10 strategies to help men over 50 both understand and use their own social connections to achieve their goals, both in health and in life. Remember, you can’t achieve your life goals if you are not healthy
Broken down below are the 10 strategies featured in Crack The Code that can help men create their own secret sauce for healthy living.
All good plans start with a candid and introspective assessment of your present state of social circumstances and health behavior. Answering the question “Where are you now?” is fundamental to a successful plan.
Once you acknowledge your current state, you can consider, “Where do you want to be?” Goal setting is the first step in translating your social vision into concrete, measurable actions that will form sustainable inspiration.
Your implementation strategy, what I characterize in the question: “How are you going to get there?” is where the rubber meets the road. It’s your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual action plan, which fuels your inspiration and implements your plan.
Partnerships and social engagement are a common theme among men who live healthily. This strategy guides you in the development of your own social network.
Contingency planning is common in business and life. It should also be part of your personal health behavior. The healthily-behaving men have a plan. You’ll need to consider this for your lifestyle design.
While your lifestyle design appropriately starts with consideration of your biggest, or macro, values and priorities, your micro motivators are what serve as the support structure in the practical details of your daily routines. I’ll offer several perspectives on identifying micro sources of inspiration.
Just like your financial portfolio, a diversity of social and behavioral tactics adds strength and security to your lifestyle architecture.
There is a link between optimism and good health. I’ll explain the value of optimism and show you how you can learn to be optimistic.
Life is not a stagnant proposition. Circumstances, values, and behaviors can and sometimes need to change, particularly as you age. Adjusting to new ideas and circumstances is a key factor in your design.
Knowing that we can influence the behavior of others by our actions, whether they are our 50+ brothers or the next generation of men, can be a powerful motivator. So, get out there, make your plan, and live your healthy life!