In my first post, I mentioned that I was unhealthy. I need to expand on that, as this idea of health underpins a lot of what I have done, and continue to do. In high school, I was taught of health having 3 components. Physical, Emotional, and Mental. I used this foundation for my 2019 goals, basing them simply on what aspects of my health, or lack thereof, in theese areas that I hated. I say hate, because that’s where I was at. Each of these things drew contempt when I thought of them. Since doing this, and in my 2020 goals, I expanded the list to include Social and Financial health, which I’ll explain down the line.
This is what we most often think of when we think of health. All other elements need a qualifier added; “Mental Health”, “Emotional Health”, but physical health is simply “health”. It’s my weight, my diet, my fitness, how well I sleep, all the physical components, obviously. The biggest issues I had with my physical health were:
- I felt like I was overweight, 90kg at the time
- I drank too much. Like, a lot. Even for a student living on campus. Every other morning was a hangover.
- My diet was not great. Access to UberEats and frozen meals (and alcohol) were obviously taking a toll
- Tying into the first point, I felt weak. I wanted to get stronger, to get in shape
- My cardio was horrible. At the time, I was recovering from a self-inflicted dislocated knee, which further exascerbated my issues.
Mental and emotional health are closely linked, and can be hard to differentiate. For me, it came down to “how do I think” and “how do I feel“. A lot of my thoughts were stuck in cycles, dwelling on what was going wrong, how I was a failure, that I’m wasting my life, that I don’t deserve the opportunities I have. The things I didn’t like regrding my mental health were:
- I was antisocial. First semester at uni, my housemates barely saw me, I lived in my room between classes. This was a waste of my time on campus.
- I was unproductive. Nothing I did felt like it was of any significance, I was only doing the bare minimum to get by
- I read next to nothing by choice. I used to love reading, and I missed it.
- I had too much stuff. I just accumulated things I didn’t need, online shopping was a vice.
- I spent too much money. What it says on the tin, I wasn’t remotely responsible with my money, and it was quickly running out
I would say this is one of the most important areas of health, especially for men. I know I had to work long and hard to get to a point where I could understand my emotions, after almost 20 years of ‘manning up’ and ignoring them. It doesn’t take a genius to look at the wide range of mens issues today to tell you we are not emotionally healthy. The biggest stand out in this list, for me, is the simple fact I was so out of touch with my emotions. I knew I was out of shape, and what that meant. I knew I was in a bad place mentally, and what the signs of that were. But I didn’t even pick up on how I was failing myeself emotionally.
- I bottled up my emotions. The classic. Not talking, not expressing, until it got too much and I would snap: binge drinking, binge eating, isolating myself from the few friends still in my life from high school.
- I didn’t know what my values are. These should underpin everything I do, if I don’t know what I value, how does anything I do have meaning to me?
- I didn’t know how to be happy. I didn’t have things I could rely on to spark some degree of joy, to lessen a bad patch.
- I didn’t know who I am. Simply put, I was a stranger to myself, and this had left me shuffling through life without a real sense of purpose or aspiration.
So I built this understanding of health, which I stress is just how I view my personal health, it may be wildly different to how you do, and I’m not trying to dictate that this be the lens everyone looks at health through. This helped me, and it might help others.
“Set Your House In Perfect Order Before You Criticize The World”Jordan Peterson, Rule 6
I had these key points in each category that were dragging me down, and were almost entirely within my control to remedy. And that is the key part to all of this. I focused on what I had power over, things that I could directly change. Now, I just had to write goals that I could aim to achieve.