The #1 Thing You Can Do To Achieve Your Dreams

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on September 23, 2010

#1 Way to Achieve Your DreamsWhat is the #1 thing you can do to achieve your dreams?  It’s not making a lot of money.  It’s not being super smart; although I personally think being street smart helps.  It’s not being lucky; although if you are lucky and want to throw a few lotto numbers my way I’d be grateful.   No, the number one thing you can do to reach your dreams and do great things is to stay healthy.

OK, before you click away to the sports scores on ESPN, or Google the best micro-brew indulge me for a few more paragraphs and I’ll explain.  For the past two months I’ve suffered with a ruptured disc in my lower back.  The disk bulged and decided to rest on my sciatic nerve which caused intense and often debilitating pain that would shoot down my left leg.  It was painful in any position and I was never comfortable.

I had this same identical issue nine years ago and at that time I ended up having lower back surgery.  While I had insurance it was still expensive with co-pays and deductibles to consider.  This time however I didn’t want to repeat the surgery (ironically it is the exact same disc with the problem) so I chose physical therapy which seems to be working wonders at this point.  I’m confident that maintaining the exercises on a daily basis will bring about a full cure.

The main point I want to make is that our health is extremely important in allowing us to do the things we really want to do.  When I was suffering from the chronic pain of a ruptured disc I was extremely limited in the things that I could do.  I couldn’t run or even walk without pain.  Sitting caused pain. Even lying down was painful.  As anyone who has suffered from chronic pain knows when you are in pain your thoughts and energy go toward thinking about and trying to remediate that pain. It’s the primary thing that is always on your mind.  You can’t concentrate on anything else which includes making your dreams happen.

Stay Healthy, Avoid an Early Grave

So what is the best way we can keep ourselves healthy?  Maintain a healthy diet and program of exercise.  Are you working out every day?  Are you eating the right mix of foods that include at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables?  What we put into our bodies really does say a lot about how our bodies perform.

Some benefits of making your health your top priority are:

  1. More energy to do what you need to do.  Find yourself drained at the end of the day and end up putting off working on your dreams?  Maybe you just need to eat more energy rich foods.  Try it and I bet you feel better and full of energy.
  2. You will be able to live your dreams much longer if you live a healthy lifestyle.  It’s inevitable that as we age our bodies don’t perform like they did when we were 20.  But we can prolong our performance by exercising and eating the right foods.  Staying active really will keep you younger longer.
  3. You’ll have more money to live your dreams. The healthier you are the less time you will spend at the doctor’s office and if you live in the US you know how expensive that has become.  And as nice as your doctor may be you’d much rather be spending that time and money elsewhere.  Don’t make the insurance companies rich, live healthy and make yourself rich.

As I plan and prepare for this sabbatical overseas I can’t help but think about my health and the health of my family.  I’m not as young as I once was and I’ve definitely noticed that my body doesn’t bounce back as quickly as it once did.  A simple pick-up game of basketball leaves me sore and achy for a few days whereas in my younger years I wouldn’t have felt a thing.  More than at any time of my life I am aware of my physical limitations and the need to eat and live healthy.  Want to live your dreams? Live healthy!

One site on living healthy that I really enjoy and find so informational is Healthy Lifestyle Design by Matt Gartland.  Check it out!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary R September 23, 2010 at 3:08 am

This post is a great reminder to pay vigilant attention to maintaining our health and also be appreciative when we don’t have any major health problems.

Another benefit of being healthy is that we feel better and make better decisions for ourselves which leads us towards fulfilling our goals.

Good luck in your family move overseas! I’m sure it will go great,and think of all the wonderful things you can learn about health and lifestyle from living there!
Mary R recently posted..Why I Won’t Buy Carbon Offsets for Travel


matt September 23, 2010 at 10:08 am

Hi Mary! Thank you for your contribution. I love the point you make that staying healthy allows us to make better decisions for ourselves. It’s so true. On another healthy note one thing I am really looking forward to is all the fresh tropical fruit readily available in Indonesia. 🙂 I’ll be following your journey.


Michael Hodson September 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

Good post — staying healthy on the road, if you are gone a long time, is one of the main keys between a good trip and a nightmare. One thing I see younger travelers, in particular, fall afoul of is simply trying to do too much. If you are on the road for months, taking 16+ hour overnight buses, sleeping in dorm rooms, eating new and strange foods, walking miles a day….. you need some days where you simply rest. Find some air conditioning or a nice place with a breeze and read a book all day. Email and Skype friends from home (for rest and mental health). Don’t feel like you need to do it all, every day.
Michael Hodson recently posted..What I Don’t Like about Travel


matt September 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Thanks for contributing Michael. I agree that taking time for some rest and relaxation is very important for everyone. We take vacations from work so why would that change just because we travel? I know from experience that traveling with young kids can get stressful and I’ve definitely needed some time out to take care of myself. Being on the go all the time is a quick path to burnout. We don’t need to be on the go all the time…thanks for pointing that out.


Matt Gartland September 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Hi Matt!

Really sharp article. Your point is dead-on – that staying healthy is the #1 way to achieve the most out of life! Thanks sharing that message 🙂

And my thanks for mentioning Healthy Lifestyle Design. So glad you’re enjoying it!



matt September 24, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Hey Matt!! Thanks for your comment. As I’ve grown older I have realized that I need to live healthier to repent for my unhealthy sins of the past. We’re teaching our kids how to healthy as well to get them off on a healthy foot at a young age. Love your site! Your article on IBS was heartfelt and I’ve experienced much of the same. It was encouraging to know that you’ve been able to overcome that. I’m working on being much nicer to myself. 🙂 One of the reason I felt that I needed to take this sabbatical was that I felt I was doing too many things I didn’t want to be doing and not enough of what I wanted to do. I think when you find yourself in that situation you need to reflect on what is important. Being healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is#1 on my list and that involves doing more of the things that make me happy. Keep up the good work over there at Healthy Lifestyle Design!


Timothy Morris September 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm

True. I love it. Staying healthy also just helps you walk the path. Have you ever been in the middle of an absolutely incredible than just began to get really tired and then have to begin walking slower or even take a seat. The problem there is that your mind start being consumed with the thoughts of your lack of energy instead of enjoying where you are.

In the same way that you can miss the experience of where you are, the journey toward your goals is worth having your breadth for.

Matt thanks for another great post man.
Timothy Morris recently posted..Recap of Followership Mini-Series


matt September 28, 2010 at 12:19 am

Thanks Tim. Some of the most rewarding times in life are when we push ourselves beyond what we think we are capable of doing. Then the reward seems so much more sweet. But to push ourselves like that requires fitness and that’s where good health comes into play. Good points man!


Ryan October 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Matt- Your post was a great reminder, especially that with staying healthy you have more energy to do what you need to do… I had been skipping breakfast for no good reason (I guess believing I didn’t need it), but what happened was I lost energy and had to slug my way through the afternoon. I changed that habit and began to store food at my office, including healthy breakfast drinks. Now I am snacking through the day and my energy levels are much better.
Ryan recently posted..How to Learn Spanish Intonation Without Boring Yourself to Death


matt October 4, 2010 at 12:38 am

Hey Ryan! I know what you mean. I’ve never been a breakfast person and frequently skipped it just because I never felt hungry in the morning or at least until late morning. But then I did what you talked about and started packing a breakfast that I could eat at work later in the morning and I don’t get those low energy periods late in the afternoon. Snacking on the right foods is important as well. I tend to choose fruit and veggies over the junk foods and that has made a huge difference in feeling better. Thanks for the reminder that eating breakfast is important. So when are you off to Columbia?


Ryan October 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Colombia! Ah! It is interesting you should ask, as I just bought my plane ticket this weekend… I am headed to Colombia January 5th!
Ryan recently posted..How to Learn Spanish Intonation Without Boring Yourself to Death


matt October 5, 2010 at 12:28 am

Congratulations Ryan! I’m looking forward to reading and hearing more about your experience and adventures there. Definitely keep in touch.


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