If you did not read through your New Year’’s resolutions this morning, do so now. If you did, do it again. And congratulate yourself, because you are one step ahead of half of the rest of the people in this world who made promises yesterday. It’’s unbelievable, but true. More than 50% of yearly objectives are abandoned the day after they are made. Remember that your list is not final and will not be final until a week from Friday.

Meanwhile, I’’m going to be making some suggestions for you each day – recommending resolutions based on the experience I’’ve had in making promises to myself and helping others fulfill their own promises. Today, you are going to make yourself a promise about your health – and put it on your list of New Year’’s resolutions.

Here it is: “A YEAR FROM NOW, I WILL BE AT LEAST ONE YEAR YOUNGER THAN I AM RIGHT NOW.” By “younger,” I mean leaner, fitter, stronger, and more flexible. I mean healthier inside and out, physically and mentally, in habit and in performance. It’’s amazing what you can do in a year.

Here’’s what I accomplished last year (Excuse me for tooting my own horn –I can’’t resist):

* went from 220 pounds to 195

* decreased my body fat from 22.3% to 16.8%

* lowered my cholesterol level from 250 to 160

* became flexible – more flexible than my 18-year-old son

* achieved a brown belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu

The most important thing you can do for your health – by far – is to improve your eating habits. And the two most important advances you can make in your diet are these:

1. Eat little or nothing in the way of wheat products and sugar. And, yes, that does include whole-grain bread and pasta. (I am told that when I made this particular suggestion in Message #235, it made some of my low-fat, high-starch readers crazy. Sorry, guys, but science has passed you by. Care for a pose down?)

2. Don’’t eat anything after dinner. Nothing. It’s also important to exercise. You don’’t need to spend an hour or two in the gym every morning. You can get dramatically good results in minutes a day. That’’s 15 minutes devoted to strength training, 15 minutes on cardiovascular, and five to 10 minutes of serious stretching.

If you are over 40 and haven’’t been to the doctor in a while, get a good checkup. Get your blood work done. Have your doctor check your insulin levels, your hormone levels, your cholesterol levels, and so on. Start learning about health (especially if you get most of your medical advice from a heart surgeon or other specialist). And spend at least an hour a day (on average) playing. For me, play is Jiu Jitsu. For you, it may be golf or tennis.

For more specific suggestions, go back and review Message #235 Your health is your most precious possession. It is not something to be casual about. Make yourself a solemn promise today that you will get younger this year. Create a list of specific things you will do. You absolutely, positively must start your eating and exercise program today. Today! Not tomorrow!

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

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