Your Health Horizon

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By Mark Lundegren

If you are willing, I would like to spend a few minutes with you looking into the future, into your future in particular, and your place and future health in it.

As you have probably noticed before, whenever we talk or think about things in the future, it is inevitably with some time horizon in mind, whether this horizon is expressly stated, or left unsaid or even unnoticed.  When we say we have some errands to run, for example, we are probably thinking two or three hours into the future.  When we think that we or someone else needs to make changes to our lives, our time horizon may be in weeks or months, or years.

Depending on the topic, our future time horizon may be very short, perhaps just a few minutes or even only a few seconds.  Or our horizon may be very long, perhaps hundreds or millions of years, especially when the topic is an abstract one.  Our human minds are quite powerful and capable of embracing both expansive and minute frames of reference.

Today, I would like to help you to see, as clearly and carefully as you can, the time horizon that underlies your ideas about your health and that you are using to influence your future health.  Let’s call this exercise together, “seeing your health horizon.”

Our Naturally Near Horizon

Whenever we seek to balance the demands and immediacy of the present with goals for the future and their more intangible nature, it is very easy for us to end up with a less than ideal timeframe, or time or health horizon, especially one that is overly and undesirably biased to the present and to ourselves as we are today.  While this is a fact of life, rooted in the demands of our original life in nature, it is also a limitation that we can better understand and at least partially overcome, with many benefits to our life and health over time. 

You might be tempted to think that it is fairly easy to catch ourselves in a misalignment of our short and long-term goals and actions, and to adjust our frame of reference, our health horizon in this case, to make it more optimal.  It is true that we can do this, but it usually entails more work and more expansive self-awareness than we may intuitively realize.  We should recognize that all of us are fighting against our basic nature, to some degree, whenever we seek to optimize our health horizon in a more objective sense – and we can and should derive a sense of both humility and new opportunity from this recognition. 

We are evolved by wild nature, after all, to function in wild nature.  Ten thousand years of settled life have done little to change this long fact, one that is at least a billion years old (or one hundred thousand times the duration of settled human life).  In our lives today, our evolved nature may mean powerful natural biases and shortcomings in our time or health horizon that we must confront, especially as we seek to optimize our health and lives in the complex new setting of industrial society (roughly one hundred years old or 0.0001% of our history) and increased individual longevity.  So often, we are overly and unconsciously biased to the short-term and to the present, forgetting our past and inadequately attending to the now far more certain condition that is our future.  We perhaps have longer-term goals but often can fail to adequately focus on them each day, or we really may be immersed in the present and have not carefully considered our future or assume it will be much like today.

Two examples will help to make clearer this natural bias of ours toward the short-term, especially as regards our health.  One example is the very common case where we have sound and realistic long-term health goals, all the right ideas, but poor to non-existent fulfillment of these goals day-by-day.  Something always seems to come up, or is brought up, to prevent us from working on our health.  As the days combine to form months and then years, a consistent pattern of inattention to our long-term health emerges in our lives – and we may only partially see this pattern and really need new perspective and motivation to change.  Good intentions alone, of course, only rarely lead to good health over time.

Another example of having too short a health horizon occurs when we successfully adopt health practices, but see them without a long-term or broader context.  In this case, we may view our health in a way that is biased to the moment and the particulars of our circumstances, even as a set of urgent activities to be completed at all costs.  We often can see this variation on a short health horizon take the form of our having rigid ideas about our health or our being dogmatic with others about specific health practices and lifestyle choices.  In this overly myopic focus on specific elements of our health, we may fail to see new and more open-ended dimensions of our health, perhaps jeopardize long-term relationships with others that are essential to our health over time, and even miss important opportunities to advance the health of other people and improve the quality of our communities (and thus support for our health).

Sustained and optimal health enhancement, of course, inevitably involves a health horizon somewhat longer than these two intentionally extreme examples, or more precisely, creating a health horizon that consciously integrates short, medium, and long-term perspectives.  It is really only by mastering all three timeframes – by having a balanced set of personal goals and actions for short, medium, and long-term future – that we can optimize our health horizon and use it to drive sustained progress towards the higher states of health that are available to us.

Why is this?  Because short-term success is always essential to tangible progression of our health at any point in time, as well as to high motivation to pursue our health, while long-term goals are equally important to inform and inspire our present actions, and to make our health plans true plans and not just a static set of practices.  Mid-term goals thus form a bridge of sorts between what we must do today, and perhaps every day, and what new things we must eventually do to become what we want to be and shape our future health and life. 

For example, suppose we want to be optimally healthy and well throughout our lives and enjoy a long and robust elderhood that includes teaching and frequent wilderness experiences with others.  Such mid and long-term objectives beg shorter term goals and actions to make the future more tangible, give us feedback and allow us to revise our plans, and make our plans more likely to become our result.  Consideration of the near and more distant future requires us to articulate what we will do today, this week and month (diet, exercise, etc.) to advance to our personal vision, and to think about larger changes we must make over the next year or more (changing jobs or locations, education and personal development, new relationships, etc.) to better position ourselves to realize our aims.

Seeing Your Own Health Horizon

So, with this background as perspective, are your ready to view your own health horizon?  I will warn you up front, it may not be elegant the first time you do.  But seeing our health horizon is important, an inevitable first step to optimizing it, so let’s take a deep breath together and have a look at this key feature of our personal landscape.

To see your health horizon today, I want you to do an exercise over the next few minutes.  The scope of the exercise is to list your primary health and well-being goals, whether on a sheet of paper or in word processing or spreadsheet program.  Start by brainstorming and free associating, writing whatever comes to mind without editing for a few minutes, the key health outcomes you want to achieve in your life.  When you feel you have made a good start, go ahead and have look at your list, and add to and edit it as needed. 

When you have a good rough list, next try to get the list down (or up) to the ten or twelve things you most want for your health, or that you want to accomplish in the realm of your health and wellness.  Keep any extra goals in an “other” category so you can come back to them later.  When you are done, you’ll know it.  You will look at the list and say, “this is what I want, ideally.”  Your list might involve weight loss, physical fitness, relationships, stress, occupation, location, really whatever it is you want to enhance the health and well-being of your life.  It may include some items that seem a real stretch today too.  All are fine, as long as they are real priorities for you and your list is not overly long.

When you have your health wish list in reasonably good shape, knowing you can come back to it whenever you want, go back to your list again and put one of the following numbers next to each entry, corresponding to when you realistically will act on or accomplish the health goal or priority: “1” for action or completion in the next one to three months, “3” for action or completion in the next three to six months, “6” for action of completion in the next six to twelve months, and “12+” for action or completion in the next year or more.

Now, have a look at the numbers you wrote down.  Ideally, you should have a nearly equal number of items for the one, three, six and twelve-plus month categories, but as I warned you this may not be the case the first time through.  Often, as we consciously look at our health horizon for the first time, we may see a bunching up or clustering of our goals in either the near, mid, or long-term.  This is very common and nothing to worry about, since you now have new information you can use to adjust and optimize your horizon to make it the way you really want it to be.  Two common patterns are a clustering of goals in the long-term and in the short-term.  Long-term clustering suggests the archetype we discussed already of good intentions but less than stellar execution day-by-day.  Short-term clustering suggests the other archetype, excessive pragmatism and the potential of health myopia, and an opportunity to recast our health (and perhaps our life) from a familiar and comforting routine to a more open-ended progression that continually challenges us to discover our health and life in new ways.

I should note that a common question is why 12+ months is considered long-term.  It is possible that some actions or goals that fall into this category may feel more mid-term to you.  My experience is that we want the center of our health horizon to be squarely in the realm of actions we will take in the year ahead, with some short-term actions to show ourselves we are serious and build momentum, some actions requiring changes and experiments over the next few months, and then some long-term actions teed up for once we get past the hump and likely learnings of the next six to twelve months.  You may well find that we often do not act directly on goals that are more than a year away, but there are exceptions of course.  If you want to adjust your categories, feel free to do so.  The goal here is self-awareness and a more balanced and informed action plan aimed at sustained and progressive health in our lives.

Because of its simplicity, the health horizon exercise is a great tool to help you better see your personal time horizon with regards to your health, and to evaluate or formulate your actions and plans against what may be a more ideal timeframe.  You can of course also add in goals from other areas or dimensions of your life and thus have a single list of actions and plans for yourself – see the HumanaNatura article, Bending A Spoke Into Your Hub, for a list of other life dimensions.  Questions to ask, in reviewing any and all of your goals and plans, include: Do I have the right number of goals, neither too many nor too few?  Are my goals really what I want, are they compelling and heartfelt?  Are my goals realistic for their time periods, neither too easy nor too difficult?  And do I have a good mix of goals for each time period of the exercise?  If your answer is “no” to any of these questions, or if you are not sure, definitely spend some more time, now or in the next week, refining your list and the scope and timing of your goals and actions.

As you begin to perceive and reflect on your health horizon today, you almost immediately will begin to envision what a more ideal and balanced personal health horizon might look like for you.  Our minds are funny like that.  Though they are naturally biased to and preoccupied with the present and our present circumstances, our minds will work more optimally and quite diligently for us to examine and improve our plans – once we reframe issues in ways that make such natural human calculating more objectively and ideally focused (the importance of consciously framing issues is an extremely important point, perhaps the most important of our discussion today and one that has many applications in our lives). 

With your health horizon reframed and made more explicit, you will likely begin to naturally and perhaps surprisingly consider and re-consider the objectives and goals you now have, how your actions today serve and do not serve them, the time horizon implicit in your life and in your current uses of your time, and the alternatives you might have for the future. 

Moving Up And Over Our Horizon

I would encourage you to come back to your goals worksheet over the next month, and then again at least twice a year, so that you are always actively aware of and managing your time and health horizon.  Naturally, as we complete or implement today’s short and mid-term goals, we learn and grow from these experience, and new ideas and challenges inevitably surface.  Our set of goals and priorities can and should always be in motion, reflecting the healthy tension between reality and ideality that our open-ended life as thinking, forward-looking humans is inevitably.

Today, and over time, I would encourage you to see and define your own health horizon, especially through the timing implicit in your own goals and action plans (and to make your goals and plans more explicit in the process).  You may be surprised at what you find in this process, especially over time. You may discover opportunities to see and adjust your health and life horizon in new ways, to add new goals and work around barriers to them in more creative ways, and to find an ideal balance between the near and far, all combining to bring new and greater health, growth, and fulfillment to your life.

As you better see, understand, and then actively shape your personal horizon, you may find that your vision, your health, and your life are all brought into greater focus and better integrated to form the unique whole that you are, and that you can envision and become in time.

Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.

Tell others about HumanaNatura…encourage modern natural life & health!

Drop & Give Us Thirty

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By Mark Lundegren

If you are new to HumanaNatura and curious about the benefits of our scientifically-based natural health program, I want to propose a fairly simple, but potentially life-changing next step for you. 

I want you to drop, right now, and give us thirty.

Do you know what I mean by this?  Are you sure?  In the United States, where I live, this expression will have an immediate and all-too-clear meaning, even as I intend a different one with it.  In other parts of the world, the expression may not be as clear, but this has the advantage of not requiring you to learn a new meaning for an otherwise familiar phrase.

Drop What And Give What?

Though I can’t be sure how you initially reacted to my suggestion, what I am certain of is that it can be the difference between the life you live today and a life you might want much more and can soon have.  My request may be the beginning of a new way for you, a way to a new and fuller life that waits for you in the exploration of your natural health.

As you might have guessed, the image I hoped would come to mind with my proposal to “drop and give us thirty” was of a drillmaster at a military boot camp.  Perhaps you can picture the image now:  a tall figure with pressed fatigues, granite faced and crew cut, steel-eyed, a ton of attitude, shouting at a new recruit to drop and give him thirty push-ups.

It’s a funny image for me, partly because I am not especially militaristic as health advocates go, and partly because I don’t think it is important that you to do a lot of push-ups (though at least some each week is desirable).  In truth, the image of the drillmaster first came to me because I catch myself asking people for something very similar to this all the time, if in a softer tone. 

Though I am soft-spoken, the really funny part is that I ask for more than a few push-ups.  Despite my civilian tone, the scope of my request and the goals I have in mind for you are much larger than the drillmaster’s.  Instead of asking you for thirty push-ups, after all, which is a simple enough request once we are in shape, I want thirty days from you.   That’s right, thirty days, and beginning right now.

HumanaNatura and I want you to use the next month to explore our natural health program, which is always free and without obligation, and to experience for yourself the differences this approach to daily life can begin to make for you personally.   Instead of a body and mind conditioned for war and hardship, of course, we offer and want you to become better conditioned for life – and for a new, healthier, and much larger life at that. 

A few push-ups might suddenly seem like a smaller and easier request.  I know I really am more demanding the drillmaster in many ways.   And I know, unlike a military recruit awaiting orders, that you are likely busy with your life and have many pressing demands on your time.  But I hope you will consider that the drillmaster’s request, though it might be smaller and easier, might also offer smaller benefits and opportunities for you too, and lead to much less challenging and interesting life outcomes over time.

So, will you consider my thirty day proposal?  I do realize that a day is more than a push-up, and that thirty days is a serious stretch of time to ask from anyone.  The HumanaNatura program, and your own underlying and perhaps untapped natural health, had better have a lot to offer, which is in fact the case. 

Just as importantly, I also understand that I ask for thirty days in a world where our health is both a frequent and frequently frustrating topic, one with many competing ideas and voices clamoring for your attention, and so much poor health and false hope.  Do you ever wonder why this is?  In a few words, it is because our world is one where our natural health is still a relatively misunderstood topic, and thereby a topic that is heavily misguided and even exploited, an area of life where few people can claim true mastery. 

Our Health Today In Context

If you are regularly exposed to our modern mass media, as most of us are, you know the enormous numbers of offers for health information, diet plans, exercise programs, gadgetry, and pills and miracle cures we all receive. 

You know that we are encouraged to eat differently, to exercise in new and more exciting ways, to take supplements, to watch the newest spokesmodels, to listen to motivational lectures, and, almost always, to buy things.  In truth, HumanaNatura and I will do some of this, but we will never ask you to buy anything, since nothing need be bought to explore and realize our underlying natural health.  We really just need new ideas, directions, and who charges for directions?

With our modern mass media and modern health spectacle as our almost universal background today, we all come to the subject of our health with a high degree of caution and skepticism, and frankly, we should be skeptical of our current state of health.  The truth is that many of the people around us are quite unhealthy in our time, and all of us are often poorly-served in this critical area of life by both governments and businesses. 

Even many people working in the natural health sector itself do not yet understand the true scientific foundations of our health and well-being, as you will learn through HumanaNatura’s simple and easily-employed formula for the reliable advancement of our health.  And even fewer of us yet see that our personal health is a public or social good, a condition of individual life that either benefits or harms us all as it is increased or decreased. 

In my role as a natural health advocate and the founder of HumanaNatura, I face this confusing health landscape of our time every day, just like you.  And I work with skeptical, but health-curious and health-hopeful people every day.  With people who are perhaps much like you too.  Many initially assume HumanaNatura is trying to sell them something, so conditioned are we all now to expect this whenever we see anything remotely associated with our health and well-being. 

As I said, HumanaNatura has nothing for sale.  We are a cooperative, not-for-profit organization, working to promote health in people and communities, rich and poor, around the world.  And we are an organization that views our health as far too important to be relegated to self-serving commercial organizations, or to nearsighted and preoccupied public officials – in other words, to people who may be unhealthy or at least not as health-seeking as we need to be right now in this dawning scientific and global age.

When people realize that HumanaNatura is a cooperative organization that uses science to promote greater health, that we are non-commercial and our information is free, most generally become less guarded, but only somewhat so.  I mean, there still has to be a catch, right?  There must be a product or service offer coming.  Or we must have esoteric principles or a crazy philosophy hiding beneath our seeming advocacy of scientific method. 

HumanaNatura can’t be that straightforward, can it?

The HumanaNatura Approach

As I suggested before, you are right to ask what sort of people would give valuable health information away for free, and whether the information is credible and truly rooted in the latest science. 

HumanaNatura’s answer:  we are a global community of practitioners who have restored our natural health, using remarkably simple and progressive techniques derived from modern science, and who now wish this same transformative change for others and in our society generally.

Perhaps with your guard lowered just a bit, you might now browse HumanaNatura’s natural health program and try our online health quiz and assessment tool.  I only half-jokingly imagine this might be with your fingers light on your keyboard and your body in a defensive posture – so you are ready to click away, just in case something “typical” happens: a pop-up, a password or credit card request, or an idea that is simply not rooted in logic. 

But nothing like this will happen at HumanaNatura.  You can relax and be confident on our website, and become more informed through it.  And you can leave and return to our community whenever you want. 

As you and others gain a basic understand the HumanaNatura program, quite often our skepticism returns and even finds new footing.  With a quick survey of our ideas about natural health and quality of life enhancement, several common objections sometimes come:

  • This approach won’t work – it is too simple. 
  • Your three steps can’t be the path to optimal health – they are very different from ones I or others have already about natural health. 
  • HumanaNatura’s ideas are very different from what most people are saying about our health and natural health.

I might rest our case with that last objection, since the fact is that most people today are not especially healthy, but I also understand it can seem there is power in numbers.

As a health advocate, I have learned over time not to feed these objections with extended explanations of our ideas and scientific principles.  Long, involved explanations can be like swatting at bees, and no one benefits from this. 

The simple, quiet truth is that true, scientifically-based natural human health is a revelation in today’s generally unhealthy world – in a world that has been unhealthy and operating below its potential for a very long time.  The truth is that the pursuit of natural health is based on and involves progressing in an ancient way of human living, a way of life that involves and is accessed via new knowledge, long buried and only just unearthed by modern science. 

As an ancient way of living, and as only newly regained human knowledge, it is inevitable that our natural health is misunderstood today and will remain this way for some time.  It is equally inevitable that our natural health will be revolutionary and transformative to people and society, as our understanding of our natural health improves and as our health improves from this new understanding. 

And our natural health will be looked down upon and derided by many people, for a good deal of time to come, by people who lack and have lived without this knowledge, and without their natural health, for so long.  In the end, I have learned that our natural health simply has to be experienced to be believed, to be embraced, and to be truly understood. 

Which brings us back to my earlier proposal – that you drop, right now, and give us thirty days. 

Why Thirty Days And Why Now?

I hadn’t forgotten about my potentially life-changing request to you, in case you did.  If you are especially skeptical, but genuinely health-curious and hopeful, I will just highlight two words and encourage you to stop reading – “thirty days” – nothing less, and nothing more. 

If my proposal seems too difficult, then I will even narrow my request and ask you to follow the HumanaNatura diet only for thirty days, only our natural eating program and nothing else.  No push-ups or walks in wild nature, or extra time with health-oriented friends, at least for now.  I will leave and trust you to assess your ideas, and ours, about the transformative potential of our underlying natural health and well-being.

However you take it up, my thirty-day proposal does come with two conditions, but only two.  The first is is that you get your physician’s consent to begin the HumanaNatura program.  Our program for natural eating, and natural exercise if you decide to try it as well, is a simple but still significant change for most people, more than people generally realize, and it is worth weighing this change against any medical conditions you might have.

My second condition is that you follow the HumanaNatura program faithfully, especially the diet – 100%, full on, with little or no cheating during the thirty days.  Just as our imaginary drillmaster wants good, clean push-ups from his recruits, I want good, clean natural eating from you for the entire thirty-day trial period. 

Your commitment is not just to give the HumanaNatura program a fair test, which we do want you to do.  It is also because of the often remarkably fine line that exists between conditions that foster or fail to foster progress toward more natural states of health.  Often, even small amount of unnatural food can inhibit the substantial health progress you should expect from our program, especially in the first thirty days.

HumanaNatura very much wants you to cross that line, to experience and achieve more natural health as quickly as possible, so you will understand the power of our ideas and the potential for still greater health waiting in other aspects of your life.  After all, while critically important, a natural diet and natural exercise are only the beginning of our natural health, not its end. 

We’re Waiting

If you have come to the HumanaNatura community for the first time, perhaps at the suggestion of a friend, we promise you will not find strict drillmasters, pushy spokesmodels, or products or services of any kind for sale.  We ask only that you holster your skepticism, just long enough to give our diet program a fair trial. 

We are confident you will discover that much more waits for you in your health, and you will gain new openness to your natural health and the caring community of practitioners that is HumanaNatura – people who genuinely want you to discover what they have about our natural health.

So, if you will lower your guard to HumanaNatura and open yourself up to the possibility of new health and vitality in your life, in the days and weeks ahead, we will ask only one thing of you – to drop and give us thirty, right now.

We’ll be here in a month, and during the month, waiting for you.

Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.

Tell others about HumanaNatura…encourage modern natural life & health!