My community centre, gym and pool are busiest these first few weeks of the year.
It’s time to take up a sport, learn a new language or sign up for a course, and if you’ve enjoyed some extra calories over the holidays, you could start fresh with some healthy new habits.
My friend and med school classmate, John amazes me with his passion for lifelong learning. In recent years, he’s taken up dancing, public speaking, guitar and singing. Yesterday, he asked me what new challenges I’m planning for 2018.
We can all start with that personal Bucket List – the long or short list of incredible experiences we want to enjoy before we die but rarely get around to planning and doing.
If we’re more serious, we add them to the end of the To-do List. These are the important things we really intend to do but procrastinate. We get so caught up with all the urgent activities that occupy each day and week that after another year, many of the same items remain on that ever lengthening list. Sometimes, feeling guilty, we just give up and cross them off.
A proven strategy to eliminate the To-do List and accomplish the top ten of the Bucket List is to use the calendar. We can’t wait for a lottery win or retirement to find the time to accomplish what our hearts desire. We have to set a date, schedule the time and do what it takes to make things happen.
So what will you do with this year – and the precious time of your life?
Begin with your values and where you find meaning.
To make this hit home, consider the hopefully distant future when you are lying down for your last nap or last sleep from which you will never awaken. Looking back on your life, ask: What did I enjoy the most? For what am I most grateful? What would I want to do at least one more time? With whom? What have I always wanted to do but always put off because I didn’t have the time or courage?
And very finally, ask yourself: How would I like to be remembered? Where did I commit my time and energy? When I am gone, what will be my legacy?
If it is a legacy of love and caring in which what you have given will be given forward to others in the future, that indeed would be gratifying.
So I’ll share John’s challenge with you. Make the most of this precious time of your life.
What are your greatest values? What do you need to do? Will you move it from the Bucket and To-Do Lists to your calendar this year?
To buy yourself more time and delay the likelihood that your final big snooze will be anytime soon, make your health a priority. Life can be unpredictable but of the things under your control, the best predictors of your future health are the habits you practice today. I call them the four foundations of self-care: healthy eating (everything you put into your body including food and non-food substances), healthy physical activity, healthy relationships and emotional wellbeing.
I’ll be continuing my free public talks to help you with your own self-care. The Burnaby Division of Family Practice’s Empowering Patients health education program will soon be expanding in different languages. Check our website for updates, access to practical health information and our YouTube videos https://www.divisionsbc.ca/burnaby/empoweringpatients.
Dr. Davidicus Wong will be giving a free public talk, What You Should Know About Diabetes at the Tommy Douglas Branch of the Burnaby Public Library at 7311 Kingsway (near Edmonds) at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018. To reserve your spot, register in person, by phone (604 522 3971) or online https://www.bpl.bc.ca/events/what-you-should-know-about-diabetes. For more on achieving your positive potential in life, read his blog at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.