Both of my parents died within a couple of years of each other before they could meet all their grandchildren.
It wasn’t a story of one passing away right after another out of loneliness or grief. Nope — they had been divorced for decades. They both had cancer. One died from it and the other from complications due to many poor lifestyle choices.
Some of my other immediate family also battled the Big C, had cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and although it was never the cause of death, I’d bet the farm that there was an underlying metabolic dysfunction (diabetes or pre-diabetes) in all of them. I wish they were the outliers, but these four slow deaths account for over 80% of the demise of those over 50 — who do not smoke.
“Well that’s just how it goes, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
That’s what I thought for a very long time, but it isn’t true.
Sure- there are no guarantees. These four maladies are often spooky and will sometimes strike the most unlikely people. However, there are now enough compelling data to demonstrate that even modest changes to one’s lifestyle can dramatically shift the odds in their favor when it comes to not just living longer but healthier and happier.
Today I’m inviting you to make some of those changes with me.
September is often the gateway to the demise of our health for the rest of the year. Summer is over so who cares how I look in a swimsuit? School is back in session, schedules are hectic, colds and flu cases are on the rise, the days are shorter, and guess what? The bridge is so short from Halloween candy to the holidays that most people shrug and sigh, “screw it.” They slide into the holidays with family stress, drinking, and crappy eating. Then comes January 1st. The time for recommitting once again with four months of momentum in the opposite direction at your heels. Sound familiar?
But what if this year was different?
What if September was when you committed to doing something you’ve never done during the fall? Something consistent. Something that reset your expectations of how you could feel and put you on a new trajectory of possibility in the world of healthspan and longevity?
For the 30 days in September, I’ll be doing this:
- 💬 Inviting all accepted registrants into a private WhatsApp accountability channel
- Every day I’ll share something I have learned about either:
- 🏋🏻 Exercise
- 🥗 Nutrition
- 😴 Sleep
- 🧠 Emotional Health
As a participant, I will ask you to do this every day in September:
- 🏃🏽♂️ Move for an hour every day.
- 📝 Be mindful of what you eat.
- 🛌 Protect your sleep and recovery.
- ❤️ Love yourself unconditionally.
- 👏🏼 Post once a day in the chat about your progress, aspirations, or struggles with any of the above.
Upon registration, you’ll get details on the above, including the shades of gray for each ask (each “level” of commitment will be explained in a PDF).
So why am I doing this and am I qualified to lead this challenge?
Probably not. I’m not a doctor, a coach, or anything in-between. Although I have a professional background in fitness, it’s pretty dated since I’ve been in tech for 25 years since making a living there. But I do have two things going for me:
Purpose and passion.
I am 52, and I love my life. I love my wife and three children. I love my work, creative pursuits, bicycle riding, and exploring this amazing planet. My youngest is three years old, and when she’s approaching college, I’ll be approaching 70 🤯. If I’m lucky enough to have grandkids, I’d like to be healthy enough to do some of the things I love with them. For most of my life, my wellness pursuits have been fueled by the desire for better aesthetics, which is a bit of a Sisyphean task. However, this year has been different.
This year I’ve committed to deeper learning about wellness through the lens of longevity. I’ve put more stock in understanding what’s happening on the inside (both emotionally and physically) and not just on the outside. I devoured Peter Atilla’s book on longevity, have been taking feverish notes on the Huberman Labs podcast, and keep up on the eccentricities of Bryan Johnson’s $2M/year experiment to reverse biological aging. I’m figuring out what works best for me and sharing those findings with others.
That part about sharing brings me to the why part. I work with some of you, am friends with others, and may have never met many of you. But for every one of you that this reaches, I want you to have a long and healthy life, as free as possible from unnecessary suffering. Earlier in the year, I started a small accountability group for exercise, and more than I expected, it helped everyone who participated. I’m hoping this one goes even further.
So what’s the catch?
No cost, no catch. This is 100% free of charge. Here’s the ask: at the end of this challenge, ask yourself what the monetary value was of what you learned and experienced over the month. Then commit to reinvesting that into yourself each month in the future. Maybe it’s getting that bloodwork your insurance doesn’t cover, finding a great therapist, spending more on higher-quality food, or finally joining that gym. Are you already doing all of that? Amazing. We’ll post a donation link to the American Cancer Society, and you can give whatever amount you feel good about.
Still on the fence? Here are just a few of the many reasons why I almost didn’t present this challenge and why I’m committing to doing it anyhow:
- 📆 This is arguably the most hectic time of the year, with the last quarter of work and kids starting school.
- It’s never a convenient time to take care of yourself, but if you cannot manage it, how can you ever expect to care for others? If you can do something difficult under challenging conditions, it will only improve when the conditions shift in your favor. “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
- 😷 This is the precipice of cold and flu season. I don’t want to start this and get derailed for a week.
I’ll likely get something from my kids at some point. I hope it’s not COVID again, but it just might be. That’s okay. Maybe I won’t be able to exercise for a week or even two. Still, I’ll stay committed to the other three pillars of this wellness challenge and feel encouraged by those in the group who are getting after it, returning to the physical aspect when possible.
- ✈️ I have travel coming up.
If I can manage this while on the road, I can manage it anytime. What a great opportunity to stick with a commitment.
- I am too self-conscious to post anything on this topic to a group of strangers.
Like the varying depths of this challenge, there is a scale for what you may feel like sharing. If any part of the challenge, including sharing feels overwhelming, reduce the scope and stick to the schedule. The guy who went for a walk with his family after dinner instead of turning on the TV will be just as appreciated as the girl who posted the video of herself finishing her first marathon.