Most resolutions take the shape of exercise, diet, weight loss, and the like…self-improvement. We should all be trying to improve ourselves all the time but it is my opinion that we will be more successful if our self-improvement is done to help someone else we care about, or perhaps everyone else we care about. Without giving to or taking care of others, self-improvement is, well it’s selfish, it’s vanity, it’s air, it’s nothing, and it generally won’t last. Like helium in a balloon, it will give the balloon shape and lift for a time. But soon it will be gone, floating up and up and up into outer space, off our blue planet, gone forever.
“Nice philosophy lesson Doc, what’s that got to do with my weight?” you ask. Answer, accountability. When I was 240# I decided I needed to lose weight, but I didn’t do it just for me. I did it so that I would be better able to play with my kids, to hike with the scouts, to live longer for my wife, and to be a better example for my patients. And then by being a better example for my patients, I could bring more patients to a healthier life-style. And by losing the weight for everyone else, failure would have far greater consequences than if I’m just doing it for me.
This philosophy works for every aspect of self-improvement. Do what you do TO yourself, but do FOR someone else. Stop smoking to help a friend stop. Take vitamins because you want your spouse to. Get your adjustments to play more with your kids, or grandkids. Do your disc pump exercises to convince your boyfriend to get on the floor to do them with you. Make his spine healthier. Drink more water to be an example to that co-worker who is chronically dehydrated. You don’t have to look like and act like Jack LaLane to be a beacon of health for your family and friends. You just have to do something different than what you are doing right now. You just have to show that you are making a change, any change, and you have to announce it to those whom you are doing it for. Then you are accountable. They will be watching you. And when you succeed, perhaps they’ll follow you. And even if they don’t, you can better serve them from this new found greater health. Service is why we are here isn’t it?
And if you fail. That’s OK too. We all fail. But there is no shame when you fail while trying to help another human being. You tried. You did more than most. And then when you have dusted yourself off, you try again. And perhaps this time you ask someone to come along on the ride with you. Lose weight together. Get adjusted together. Exercise together. Drink water together. But even if you are doing this WITH someone else, make sure the two of you are doing it FOR another someone else, to better serve them.
Give of your love. Give of your life. Give of your time. Give of your health. Give and serve and everything you need in this life will be given back to you.