Manage Your Health Like an Asset


What do you want from your health? Have you really thought about why you value good health? Many people don't think about their health until there is a problem which starts to limit what they can do and accomplish.
I think we should take a different approach. I like to think of health as an asset that we need to manage. Try a thought experiment with me. Think about money. Why do we want it? It is not so we can have a big pile of $100 bills to look at. The actual currency has no real value to us. We value it because of what it lets us do - live in a place we find beautiful, have great experiences with family, explore the world. Whatever your goals in life, money helps you reach your goals. And you likely have a system for managing your money - following a budget, saving for vacation, seeking advice about retirement planning. These are strategies to manage your money to help you reach your goals.
In the same way, your heath is valuable because of what it lets you do, and how it makes you feel. If you don't have the energy to go to work and be productive, you can't save enough for your dream house. If you're in pain, you can't enjoy experiences with your family. If you can't walk without getting winded, it will be hard to explore the world.
Take a minute and think about your goals and desires in life. What do you enjoy? What makes you feel alive? Where are you dreaming about traveling next summer? What do you want to be able to do when you retire? Now, think about the assumptions you are making about your health in these plans. What are you assuming your health will be like? What will you need from your body and your mind to fulfill your dreams? Do you have a strategy to manage your health to help you reach your goals?

I believe we all should have a strategy to manage our health. Here are the fundamentals of my approach:

  • Prevention is Better than Treatment. Making a little effort now to prevent a problem is better than needing a bigger effort later to treat a problem.

  • Find a Trusted Advisor. There is so much information available to us, it can be hard to separate the truth from the noise. Find a knowledgeable person you trust to help you find the best information.

  • Set Goals. What are you doing well? What do you want to change? It can be helpful to pick one or two trouble spots to start and set a specific target.

  • Take Action. Now that you've set a goal, write down a plan to achieve that goal and immediately start taking steps to make the changes you need to succeed. Don't wait!

  • Measure and Track. You cannot see if you are making progress if you are not taking measurements. Once you set a goal, figure out what you will measure, and track if you are making progress.

  • Be Flexible. You want to be clear on your goals, but be flexible in your approach. If you are not making progress, try a different approach.

  • Understand Yourself. We often know what we should do, but we have trouble following through. Understanding your psychology can help you see why you make the choices you do, and how to learn to make different ones when needed.

Whatever your situation, you have the power and control to make it better. Take action today!