Be it in marriage, business, parenting, sports, or any other endeavor in life to which we strive to be prosperous, one of the key ingredients to sustainable success is developing, following, and maintaining a process that informs individual habits toward attaining goals. Nick Saban, one of college football's all-time greatest coaches, has made the phrase “the process” famous in the sports media, and he has excelled to levels unparalleled in recent generations on the collegiate gridiron because of that process. Currently in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers are putting their own spin on the phrase, having taken an unconventional approach that, while still on-going in terms of the results it hopes to produce, has been reinforced by the franchise with Saban-esque belief.
A synonym of “formula for success,” the process is an outline needed to give hard work and goal-orientation direction, and it is important to recognize how vital it is to being healthy. Your health is your responsibility, mostly under your control just like your relationships with your loved ones or your work-related achievements; neglect your spouse, your duties, or your health, and prepare for the consequences. To embrace that fact can, for some of us, come with a couple of tough pills to proverbially swallow, for example that we have for far too long ceded control over our health to others, that we may not be nearly as healthy as we thought we were, or that we have taken our health for granted, thinking of it as a mere unalienable right minus the requisite hard work that comes with it. However, until that realization has been reached, health will be a very challenging thing to come by.
On the one hand, it is a real shame that we have been given so little education on how to be healthy; it has made us a very sick nation with all its resources for healthcare tied up in fighting disease instead of willingly acknowledging the body's ability to largely prevent disease, then age gracefully, and eventually expire. On the other hand, truthfully, we have never collectively put together a process for how to be healthy in recorded human history; so, one could argue that, when it comes to health compared to other advances, humans just are not as smart...yet. The good news is that various cultures worldwide have been piecing together the makings of a big picture healthy blueprint for centuries. From sanitation to meditation to energetic understanding to birthing procedures to vitamins and supplements to knowledge about the nervous system to psychology to sociology (etc. etc. etc.), we have identified so many pieces of the healthy puzzle; now all that we need to do is put the pieces together into a constructive process and success will naturally follow.
Nutrition, exercise, stress management, proper function, and structural integrity form the backbone of healthy living and the basis for the aforementioned process. Without these elements (and their various sub-categories), health – defined as a state of complete physical, emotional, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity – cannot be achieved. If you want to feel well, if you want to genuinely be well, and if you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be, you have to be willing to put in the necessary effort. As the classic saying goes, “success is not given, but earned.”
Ideally, learning how to be healthy would be a skill unlocked at the same time that we learn to read, but until that day comes, the reality for many will be the equivalent of not having learned to read until a third to a half or more of their lives have already passed. Such is why it is important to separate the instant gratification mindset associated closely with the medical model, designed specifically to treat your symptoms and pry you away from the jaws of death, from the holistic model, which aims to help you get legitimately well and keep you thriving at the peak of your life. To expect a multi-decade old structure with a foundation proven faulty for most of its life to be quickly restored to its apex makes how much sense? Similarly, why would you expect your body to restore even a semblance of normalcy in just a few weeks or months under comparable conditions?
After winning the 2018 National Championship, Saban had this to say about Alabama's success: “The process is really what you have to do day in and day out to be successful, we try to define the standard that we want everybody to sort of work toward, adhere to, and do it on a consistent basis. And the things that I talked about before, being responsible for your own self-determination, having a positive attitude, having great work ethic, having discipline to be able to execute on a consistent basis, whatever it is you’re trying to do, those are the things that we try to focus on, and we don’t try to focus as much on the outcomes as we do on being all that you can be.”
Like learning to read, learning to be healthy has no age limit. Some may pick up healthy living faster than others just like some picked up reading faster than others and some may find it incredibly frustrating and want to give up at times, but all who want to change their circumstances would be wise to embrace the process, recognize that there is no quick and easy path to well-being, and put the work in. Trust the process of getting and staying well and there are few limits as to what you can achieve with your health.