Whether you’re tall, short, thin, curvy or stout—whatever shape you see in the mirror—the shape your life will likely take on is much the same as every other. It rises up, arcs over and slides back down.
If you were to graph the energy and vitality of your life, it would look like a cross section of a speed bump (Figure 1). You’re born weak and helpless, and then you spend the first two decades of life growing stronger and enjoying boundless energy. There’s a leveling off as you reach a comfortable cruising altitude. Then the inevitable happens: In spite of your attempts to ignore it, the gradual decline begins. You spend the rest of your life walking the “tightrope of health,” quietly hoping and praying that you don’t slip back to weak and helpless.
Here’s a simple way to gauge in an instant where you are on the curve of life. Think back to your last birthday: Was it an exciting celebration? Or has it become a dreaded annual event, similar to tax day?
Chances are that at this point your body is in the midst of some disturbing changes, which, up until now, you’ve mostly been able to ignore.
The redistribution of fat, which has been well under way for more than a decade, becomes ever more apparent. Common problem areas, like the midsection or thighs, are expanding at an increasing rate. If you’ve gotten away without paying much attention to your nutrition and exercise up until this point, the neglect is now visible for all to see.
In the absence of a change in lifestyle, the decline continues to gain speed. Anyway you slice it, though, this sort of physical morphing is a major blow to your quality of life: It’s damaging to your health, metabolism, self-image, career and relationships. And it could mean heart disease, diabetes or worse.
The way I see it, it’s quite literally a choice: You can choose to either have a life of abundant strength and energy, or you can choose to live in the gap, far beneath the quality of life you could be enjoying.
You already know the choice you’ve made up to this point. Should you desire any further evidence, here is a checklist of common symptoms you might be tolerating needlessly:
Common Symptoms Experienced in the Gap
- Gradual weight gain, especially in your problem areas
- Noticeable drop in energy levels after lunch and in the late afternoon
- Frequent cravings for snacks, sweets or other junk foods
- A reliance on coffee to get you going, and then more to keep you going
- Becoming in the evenings, yet being unable to sleep
- The feeling that you’ve aged three years in the last 17 months
Are any of these symptoms familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have come to accept this steep decline, and the needless suffering it causes, as the normal trajectory of life—the “price of aging.” We give it no more thought or resistance than we do the setting sun each evening.
I’ve got some news for you, though: If you’ve been tolerating any of these side effects, you can stop now.
This “normal trajectory of life” I’ve just described that most of us long ago accepted as a given is not accurate. It’s a myth; a story that our culture and history have given life to.
In reality, these symptoms (and the declining body that goes with them) are much more likely to be the results of physical, mental and emotional fatigue from being overworked, over-stressed, overtired, overfed, undernourished and just plain out of shape. But they are all things you can change now and at any age.
No matter where you are in life, you have the choice to stop living in the gap, create a resurgence—a new higher trajectory for your life—and start growing younger, stronger and leaner today and each day forward. I call it creating the “S curve” of life (Figure 2).
By answering the 90-Day FIT for SUCCESS Challenge and with the Strength for Life program, you can create a second coming—a “new you”—and choose a future more brilliant than your past.
Watch Shawn’s interactive presentation of this model: