So many people today take their health for granted, and this is one of the reasons why many people cannot seem to find the happiness they desire in life.

I like to consider health THE number one fundamental aspect in building a successful, fulfilling, and happy lifestyle.

Why? Without health, you cannot enjoy or expand any of the other areas in your life.

Treating your body like the million dollar race horse that it is seems like an obvious thing to me, but I want to hone in on a few re-framing points here that will make it more obvious.

What good is a million dollars if you’re sick every other day? Or if you feel like you’re run down all the time?

What good is success in the office if you’re 30lbs overweight, have trouble breathing and sleeping, and get tired walking up a few flights of stairs?

It seems as though giving up your health for success is a given trade-off, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

All it takes to live a healthy lifestyle is a few changes to your schedule. If that seems like a daunting task, ask yourself this:

Whats more important: Getting up 30 minutes earlier to appear slightly more productive, or giving your body what it needs to live an extra 10 years?

Everyone can make minor changes in their life that over the years compound and have amazing effects in the long term.

The concept of this growing and expanding level of success, through minor habit changes, is outlined in two amazing books: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen, and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.

The Three Keys To A Healthy Life:

  1. Nutrition

  2. Exercise

  3. Sleep

I put nutrition first because this is the area that most people just blatantly overlook, so it is the area that most people would benefit from changing the most.

I personally follow a higher-fat, low carb, medium protein diet under the Paleo-esque umbrella. This involves eating mostly Grassfed or Pastured meats, non-starchy vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Asparagus), and healthy low sugar fruits (blueberries, blackberries, occasional apple) and nuts/seeds (almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds).

One important thing for nutrition is the fact that most of the foods we eat have a ton of chemicals, additives, anti-biotics, and other harmful toxins added to them. There are all sorts of things you do not want in your body, and there are so many nowadays that the easiest thing I found to do is to stick to Organic and Grassfed meats.

Yes, eating healthy is more expensive than eating “average”, but I consider it an investment in the only thing that makes life possible: my human body.

Without great health, we end up just deteriorating and living a less-than-fulfilling life.

Since Authentic Growth is all about living the most fulfilling life possible, we must consider health a key facet in our own personal and spiritual development.

I think we all know the importance of number 2 on the list, Exercise, because it has grown to be such a discussed topic on news channels and articles around the web.

Here’s my take on exercise:

Get movement in throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if its walking, running, climbing stairs, or Olympic weightlifting- Just MOVE.

I love going to the gym everyday, with a few off days here and there in which I still maintain somewhere near 10,000 steps a day or more.

I gained so much more awareness of my fitness activity levels when I purchased a Fitbit One device to keep track of how much I moved throughout the day.

I used to love the wrist trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge or Nike Fuel SE, but now I prefer not to have something on my wrist to track movement and the Fitbit One fits this role incredibly well.

Even if you’re not weight lifting, which I suggest you attempt to include in your life, just starting out with the aim to hit 10,000 steps a day will make your life that much better.

Also: Willpower comes into play here. Do not let yourself counter-act your life improvements by saying things like “Well, since I walked 10,000 steps today I guess its alright to eat this donut”

These are tricks the mind plays on itself to keep you in homeostasis, to prevent you from shaking the boat too much and changing for the better.

You have to realize your own mind will play games like this with you, and learn to resist these temptations. The more you resist these temptations, the quieter they seem to be, and the better you get at resisting them.

Finally, the most often neglected part of every person’s day, its time to talk about sleep. I used to be a terrible offender in this area, even if I like to think I’m doing great in my pursuit of Authentic Growth.

For the last year I often thought I was getting around 7 hours of sleep, but in reality I was probably getting more like 5 1/2 to 6 hours of sleep. Why? Because laying in bed awake doesn’t count as sleeping.

**I was counting time that I spent laying there in bed before I actually fell asleep as real sleep, which it isn’t. **

Your body needs 7 to 8 hours of shut-eyed, quality sleep to function and feel great every day.

I recently upped my sleeping hours to 8 hours a day, by going to bed earlier (9:30PM now) and waking up 30 minutes later than before.

If I happen to catch myself waking up anywhere between 5-60 minutes before my usual wake up time (and I’m feeling well-rested), I get up anyway. That’s how I roll.

I’d rather wake up feeling great than try and catch an extra 20 minutes of snooze-time and wake up feeling groggy because I messed with my circadian rhythms.

Get your sleep in. The benefit you will receive towards your well-being, sleeping 8 hours versus the 6 hours, is incalculable.

That last sentence sounds grammatically incorrect, but I’m serious- I feel fantastic now that I get 8 hours of sleep.

And you can too! Look at your life seriously and stop making excuses for why you can’t sleep more. I bet you can wiggle something in if you dedicate some thinking to it.

If you have any questions about my personal routine, how to eat healthier, or anything else related to this post- drop a comment below and share this with a friend.

**-Anthony From