This week I’ve coined a new term to help my clients better understand how I like to work with them. I’m calling it a “pre-mortem”. A post mortem is a medical examination to determine the cause of death. My “pre-mortem” is a medical assessment to determine the most likely cause of death or disease. It’s not the most pleasant thing to talk or think about but it might just be the most important conversation you will ever have with yourself. Once we have determined this through assessment we can work backwards to decrease the risk of death or disease. Then comes the hard part – making a change.
Contrary to popular belief, most of the things that are likely to end your life are highly preventable. In Australia, you are far more likely to die from a preventable disease than from one that is completely out of your control . I’ve blogged before about my top 10 factors to prevent disease and here is a reminder:
- Be physically active
- Quit smoking
- Eat a healthy diet
- Limit and/or eliminate alcohol
- Maintain intellectual stimulation
- Sleep 8hrs per night
- Maintain healthy blood pressure
- Maintain a healthy weight BMI<25
- Maintain a healthy blood glucose level
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
You’ll notice that the first 6 factors have a significant effect on the final 4. In other words, the first 6 are behavioural choices and the final 4 are often achieved as a result of those behavioural choices. Certainly, there are other factors but you can make significant inroads by changing your behaviour.
So back to the pre-mortem. I would like to challenge everyone reading this to take a look at their health trajectory. Where are you headed? What risk factors do you have? What is your family history? What is your current health status and what is your medical history? If you would like a hint or if you aren’t sure where to stat this might help: most Australians will die from either heart disease or cancer. Focus on the factors that are linked to those and you will already be well ahead of the rest of the population.
Once you have conducted your pre-mortem, consider the factors that could have the greatest effect on your health trajectory. Start with all of the factors and then I want you to pick just one. You can go about this in two ways. The first option is to choose the factor that will make the most significant impact on your health. If the first option is too big to tackle or if you are not ready for it, choose a smaller, easier target and use it to build your confidence and create a new habit before you move onto the next one.
Over the next week I’ll be having this discussion regularly with clients. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing a story of someone who has chosen to make a change and succeeded. Good luck everyone!!