Many people have professional goals or financial goals, but how many people do you know who have health goals? Yet when you ask senior citizens what’s the most important thing to them, many of them say their health is far more important to them than money or their careers. So, why don’t we start setting goals to keep ourselves healthier? The majority of today’s debilitating diseases — heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more — are directly related to diet, exercise, and lifestyle. That means you can prevent and even reverse many diseases.

When my father came to live with us in 1997, he had already lost one leg to type 2 diabetes, and he was in danger of losing the other one. However, by putting him on a low carb diet, we were able to get him off all of his diabetes medications, and his blood sugar stayed normal for the rest of his life. Seeing the devastating effects of diabetes, I am always surprised when I meet people who don’t take it seriously and think that they can eat whatever they want as long as they take their medication. This is simply not the case.

But you gotta die from something, right? The sad truth about most lifestyle-related diseases is that you are not living life at its best and then just drop dead one day, quickly and painlessly. Chronic disease lowers your quality of life. You may be in pain. You may be taking medications that have side effects, which may make you miserable and sometimes mean you have to take more medications to deal with those side effects. You are at higher risk for other related diseases. In the case of diabetes, you can wind up blind or with limbs amputated. If you have high blood pressure, you could find yourself debilitated from a stroke. And the list goes on.

This may sound like a morbid question, but how do you want to die? Do you want to be living life to the fullest until the very end? Or do you want to gradually have one body system after another fail until you are incapacitated and living in a facility with 24-hour nursing care? I don’t know anyone who would choose the latter.

What are your health goals? What do you want your health to be like in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? And what are you going to do to reach those goals? Just as you will find yourself financially broke without planning, you will likely find your body broken down unless you make a conscious effort to keep it in top shape.

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