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This post is Part 7 in a 12-part blog series on humility and growth. (If you missed the first post, you can find it here.)

In the next few posts, I will explore how the model of humility and growth can be applied in a few key areas of life. In this first post, I will look at physical health. We all know that physical health is important, but often this knowledge doesn’t really impact our behavior until we have a major problem—like a scary diagnosis or an injury. Maybe this is your situation, and you want to get back to baseline. Or maybe you have a particular physical health goal, like getting in shape or losing weight. How can humility help us make changes in our physical health?

Humility and Physical Health

  1. The problem is inside you. The first step is to take responsibility for our physical health problems. Sure, we might not have the best genes, and diabetes might run in our family. We each have certain biological realities that we are working with. But the good news is that there is enormous potential within each of us. The starting point is acknowledging and owning that our physical health problems are our responsibility… and we can do something about them.
  2. The weakness finder. Be ruthless in your inventory of your physical health. Sure, go ahead and identify your strengths, but even more importantly, be honest about your weaknesses and limitations. Is self-control an issue for you? Be honest about that—maybe it’s not a good idea to have a bunch of junk food in the house. Is it tough to just have one drink? Maybe it’s best to avoid the bar for a while.
  3. Get a coach. Physical health is one of those areas that is pretty advanced, meaning we have a lot of science and knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. Medicine and health science are rapidly advancing fields, which is a good thing for us. But the downside of this is that we often struggle with information overload, not knowing how to differentiate good information from bad. This makes it even more essential to get a coach. Find a doctor you trust and talk with them about your health goals. Recruit a personal trainer or dietician to be part of your team. Get the information and support that you need.
  4. Feedback, feedback, feedback. It’s amazing what you can measure nowadays in regard to your physical health. It is essential that you get regular feedback on the numbers that are most important to your physical health goal. Are you trying to lose fat? Measure your body fat percentage regularly. Are you trying to improve strength? Keep track of how much you can lift on various exercises. Are you trying to keep your blood sugar levels in check? Measure, measure, measure.
  5. Work at the edges of your ability. Nowhere is the principle of working at the edges of your ability more important than in the area of physical health. If you want to improve anything—your strength, endurance, stamina, etc., you have to push your body to the edge of what it is capable of. That place on the edge, where you can’t lift one more rep, or run one second faster, is where your body realizes it must change and adapt. Otherwise, your body stays at homeostasis and no growth occurs.

Discussion: What is one thing you would like to change about your physical health? How could you use these humility principles to help you reach your physical health goals?

Click here to read Part 8: Humility, Growth, and Emotional Well-Being

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