Living Your Eulogy Virtues

Eulogy Virtues

Awhile back in our piece on Minimalism we touched on the topic of death. Inspired by John’s January newsletter reflections on the passing of both John Madden and Betty White, let’s take a moment to reflect on our own mortality.

After noting “be proactive” as habit #1, Steven Covey, author of the “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” suggests in his 2nd habit that we “begin with the ultimate end in mind.” The ultimate end being our funeral.

This advice is not new.

Seneca, the ancient Stoic, tells us something similar. He famously suggested that a helpful way to understand if we’re living in integrity with what we know to be true is to rehearse our death.

Enter the eulogy virtues.

Let’s flash forward to the future.

You walk into a funeral and realize it’s your funeral.

You see people there to celebrate you and your life. You take a seat and listen to the eulogies.

Who says what? What would your spouse or significant other say? Your kids? Your friends? Colleagues? Random people you may have helped at some point in life?

What qualities would they mention? And what virtues would you hope to be remembered for?

Your kindness? Your courage? Your generosity? Your commitment?

How would your life change if you embodied these qualities and began living in integrity with your virtues today?

 A Quick Trip to Hell

Now, imagine you’re sitting there listening to these eulogies and a door in the back of the room opens and someone walks in.

You turn around to see who it is. They look oddly familiar. They have a radiance and a confidence – a grounded power that’s palpable.

That astonishingly, radiantly alive person is you.

Well, technically, it’s who you could have become if you actually lived in integrity with what you knew to be true. Some would say meeting that version you, the person you could have become had you reached your potential, is hell.

Now pause.

Picture that awesome version of you.

What is one thing they do consistently that the current version of you doesn’t do consistently… yet?

Is today a good day to get started on that? 

New Year’s Resolutions

For the 50% of your that feel like Michael Scott, this may not be for you.

However, If you’re one of 31% of people planning to make a New Year’s resolution this year, or one of the 19% that are still undecided, now is a great time to reflect on the previous 11 (almost 12) months and begin setting some intentions for the year ahead.

Some New Year’s Resolution stats:

The most popular resolutions for 2021 are exercising more and improving fitness (50% of participants), losing weight (48%), saving money (44%), and improving diet (39%).

  • Of those who make a New Year’s resolution, after 1 week 75% are still successful in keeping it.
    • After two weeks, the number drops to 71%.
    • After 1 month, the number drops again to 64%.
    • After 6 months, 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it.
    • After 1 year, 35% kept all their resolutions, 49% kept some of their resolutions, and only 16% failed at keeping any of their resolutions.

So, looking out to 2022, what are the steps you can take to increase the likelihood of being part of the 35% cohort that keeps all of their resolutions?

How to make (and keep!) your New Year’s Resolution

A recent NYT article by Jen Miller provides some helpful guidance on this topic:

“Your goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.”

  • Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?” said Katherine L. Milkman, an associate professor of operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Five pounds in the next two months — that’s going to be more effective.”
  • This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. If, for example, you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails over time so you can track your progress in how those nails grow back out, said Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.
  • Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life — and both you and your friends and family flail. So, for example, resolving to save enough money to retire in five years when you’re 30 years old is probably not realistic, but saving an extra $100 a month may be. (And if that’s easy, you can slide that number up to an extra $200, $300 or $400 a month).
  • Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.”
  • Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

New Year’s resolutions not for you?

Consider setting some basic intentions.

11 ways to make the most of 2022 (written by Diego Perez, @yung_pueblo):

  1. let yourself change
  2. make rest a high priority
  3. say no without feeling bad
  4. stop jumping to conclusions
  5. do not rush important things
  6. build your own idea of success
  7. make more time for key friends
  8. appreciate the small steps forward
  9. stay aligned with your highest goals
  10. take the risk when your intuition says yes
  11. build with people who are open to growth

Godspeed and good luck.

IG Live: wHealth Advisors speaks with The Wisemen Project

Wisemen

wHealth Advisors co-founder, Dennis McNamara, recently spoke with Christian Valeriani of The Wisemen Project regarding men’s health and the constant juggling of priorities men face as parents, partners, and professionals.

The conversation centers on the intersection of health and habits and making “investments” in your health to maximize your long-term ROI (both personally and financially).

Instagram Live: Dennis McNamara & Christian Valeriani talk shop

NOTE: Conversation gets going around the 4-minute mark.

If this conversation piqued your interest be sure check out the upcoming Wisemen Experience and note that the early bird discount has been extended to January 1st, 2022.

Four simple tips to take back your health

Take back your health

While genetics certainly play a role, the overwhelming majority of our health outcomes are a product of our nourishment (including the content our brains consume!), rest, activity, and habits. Wherever you are in your health journey, consider these four steps to improve your health.

1. Eat The Rainbow

Phytonutrients—special plant chemicals that interact with your biology – can act like switches on your DNA to heal your body (called epigenetics). Phytonutrients can be found in blueberries, arugula, broccoli, bok choy, raspberries, purple cabbage, and more. Functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Mark Hyman, suggests making vegetables the bulk of your meals, and add in a small serving of quality protein, like grass-fed meats, organic or pasture-raised poultry, or wild-caught fish, while also being generous with healthy fats (think: avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil).

2. Do Not Neglect Your Sleep

Our screens (TVs, laptops, smartphones etc.) all emit blue light. This confuses our body and suppresses melatonin which impacts the quality of our sleep and can disturb our circadian rhythm. Consider purchasing blue light blocking glasses and/or not looking at your phone or TV for at least one hour (ideally two) before going to sleep.

Upon waking up, consider starting your morning with meditation/journaling, 15 minutes of sunlight, and a tall glass of water.

Keeping your room cool and dark and maintaining a consistent sleep and wake schedule also help support a healthy sleep routine.

3. Move Your Body

No, you don’t need a gym. All you need is your body and a little bit of space for some HIIT, yoga, or stretching. Exercise increases the number of mitochondria – or the “powerhouse” of the cell –  improving your body’s ability to produce energy. In other words, the more mitochondria you have, the more energy you can generate during exercise, the faster and longer you can exercise, and the more resilient you become to aging, illness, and disease.

Here are three workouts on YouTube. They are for different levels of fitness, so be sure to consult your trainer or physician if you’re just getting started:

4. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

One of the risk factors for worsened COVID-19 is fear and anxiety, which, let’s face it, most folks have been struggling with throughout 2020 and 2021. We can’t change the facts, but we can change our response to what is happening around us. Just taking the time to breathe, do a digital detox, spend time in nature, connect with loved ones, and do joyful things can significantly reduce anxiety. Eating whole, balanced meals reduces anxiety because it keeps our blood sugar balanced.

Take note of how you spend your time daily and what sorts of inputs you allow into your life. If you are constantly doing things that feed your anxiety, it’s time for some habit changes. Make a list of things that reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and make time for them daily.

Takeaway:

Start with these four simple strategies to improve your health, and you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel. For the men, also be aware of the upcoming Men’s Health Retreat with The Wisemen Project.

Men’s Health: The Wisemen Retreat

The Wisemen Retreat

About The Wisemen Project

The Wisemen Project is a men’s holistic health group that melds proven, ancient techniques of movement, breath work and meditation with cutting edge scientific research. The group was formed as a powerful antidote to the seemingly endless noise, stress, disease and disconnection in our modern world.

The primary pillars center around:

  • Fuel: Our food and what we “feed” our brains.
  • Mind: Cultivating resiliency and proper brain function.
  • Move: Movement to heal the mind, body and soul.
  • Rest: Dialing in the proper amount, type, and frequency of rest to allow mind and body to recover and grow.
  •  Social: Community is interwoven within the fibers of our ancestral DNA, helps to reduce stress/anxiety, improve mental health, and increase our lifespan.
  • Wealth: Perspective, action, discipline, and reflection to cultivate an abundance mindset.

About The Retreat:

Tucked in the northern-most terrain of the Pocono Mountains, situated a couple of hours away from NYC and Philadelphia, the retreat will be hosted at The Barn at Boyd’s Mills.

The retreat aims to be an opportunity to disconnect from modern stressors and practice proven principles to optimize your health.

Activities:

  • Exercise, functional movement
  • Daily hikes
  • Deep & extensive breath work
  • Cold baths & fire
  • Grounding/earthing
  • Stress reduction modalities
  • Qigong/meditation
  • Nourishing and sustainable foods, chef prepared meals
  • Human connection/reconnection

Why wHealth Advisors is sharing:

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

– Mahatma Ghandi

Our long-term goals, visions, and portfolios are more likely to be derailed if we neglect our health. Health itself is a priceless wealth and we strongly support investing in it while you can.

As someone who is personally passionate about men’s health and follows evidence-based protocols for personal health optimization, I (Dennis) am very much looking forward to the activities and connection that this retreat is sure to offer.

Please feel free to pass this info along to anyone you think could benefit. There are 16 seats available and the early bird discount ends in December.

SIGN UP:

The early bird discount ends on 12/1/2021 – sign up now while seats are available.

Disclaimer:

There is no financial incentive or underlying remuneration for wHealth Advisors in promoting this event.

 

Seven Types of Rest You Need

Rest Wheel

In a perfect world, we’d all get 8hrs of quality sleep each night. In reality, many of us fall short on this – either in terms of length (i.e. getting more like 6-7hrs) and/or quality (i.e. restlessness).

However, according to physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest, “If you’re waking up (after sleeping) and still exhausted, the issue probably isn’t sleep. It’s likely a rest deficit.”

Listening to your body, and getting a better understanding of which type of rest you’re in need of is essential to recharging your battery and feeling your best.

Physical Rest:

Sign you need it: Physically exhausted, struggle to keep eyes open.

Rest to get: Go to sleep 30mins earlier, swap out the morning HIIT class for some restorative yoga.

Mental Rest:

Sign you need it: Brain feels like it’s going to mush. You’ve been staring at the same page for 10 minutes. You just sent a barely comprehensible email.

Rest to get: Turn off your screens. Repeat a calming mantra. Meditate or follow a guided meditation via Youtube or a meditation app (i.e. Calm, Headspace).

Social Rest:

Sign you need it: You feel alone, or disconnected/disengaged from friends and family.

Rest to get: Social rest feels like interacting with another person and leaving fuller than you started. It comes from meaningful interactions where there is no fear of disapproval or rejection – to be completely authentic with another human.

Social Rest – ideas to consider: Talk to a friend or close family member on the phone (NOT via text). Set aside time (15-30mins) to discuss day and emotions with spouse or partner. Go on a walk (or schedule one!) with a friend. Join a book club. Setup a coffee date with a friend. Plan a double date with another couple. Plan a getaway with your spouse or a friend.

Creative Rest:

Sign you need it: Sluggishness in solving problems or brainstorming new ideas.

Rest to get: Take some time to STOP doing and instead to observe, to think, to journal, to explore. Go on a walk in nature, or read an engrossing book. Anything to take the pressure to create off your mind.

Emotional Rest:

Sign you need it: Tolerance for strong feelings is a lot lower, you lose your temper more easily, you reach the tears threshold faster than usual.

Rest to get: Remove emotional triggers (like social media), give yourself space where you don’t have to react to others’ emotions and where you can be alone to process your own. Schedule a regular therapy session. Find people with whom you can be 100% yourself.

Spiritual Rest:

Sign you need it: Feeling afloat or unanchored. Feeling a lack of purpose or fulfillment.

Rest to get: Engage in something greater than yourself. Consider adding prayer, meditation, or even volunteerism/community involvement into your routine.

Sensory Rest:

Sign you need it: Your senses feel overwhelmed. This can be due to bright lights or noisy places, too much screen time, too many people talking to you at once etc.

Rest to get: Intentional sensory deprivation. Close your eyes for a minute in the middle of the day. Put down the screens past a certain time. Try to get yourself to a quiet place with minimal sensory distractions and let yourself take deep breaths away from all the input.

Minimalism: Financially prudent, environmentally responsible… the shortest route to happiness?

What could eschewing the non-essential mean for your life? A quicker path to financial freedom? A reduced environmental footprint? More joy while living and less regrets on your deathbed? Yes, yes, and (hopefully) yes.

In the most basic sense, minimalism is about intentionality: promoting the things that matter most while discarding the distractions. It’s a way to help us identify and actually prioritize what we deem to be of utmost importance.

Finances: A minimalist lifestyle is less expensive and creates room to either earn less or increase savings – both paths that speed up the journey to financial independence. A less expensive lifestyle means it’s also easier to create, and alter, an intentional/purposeful budget and to payoff bad debts (i.e. credit card debt).

Environment: Financial minimalism and environmental stewardship are often (but not always) intertwined. When you need less, you buy less. By buying less, you consume less.

A minimalist lifestyle should naturally lessen your environmental footprint, however completely abstaining from new purchases is not realistic for most. So, when buying, consider prioritizing quality over quantity and purchases that are energy efficient. While not always the case, these buying strategies can also be f inancially prudent ones over the long haul.

Happiness: You can’t buy your way to happiness. Minimalism is simply a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from avoidable stresses, burdens, and fears. Freedom to prioritize your health and relationships. Freedom to reclaim your time, or to live in the moment. Freedom to create more, to grow as an individual. Real freedom.

Final Thoughts:

Minimalism is not about searching for happiness through things, but through life itself. Thus, it’s up to you to determine what is necessary and what is superfluous in your life.

Additional Reading:

5 Things People Regret Most on their Deathbed