My son used the expression “give it a real go” when we were together celebrating our family Christmas, so I cannot claim that it’s an original expression: but it does crystallise my thoughts for this coming year.
For myself, and I suspect for so many of my readers too, not only can we sometimes feel powerless over our own lives, but also powerless over the obvious suffering of others - both near and far - and which we see so often in the media.
Many people struggle with weight problems, many continue to struggle with addiction to cigarettes and to other chemicals of addiction such as alcohol and other so-called recreational drugs, and many struggle with life in general due to mood disorders that blanket their lives with gloom or anxiety.
And out “there” in the wider world, the daily viewing of the suffering of those dispossessed of all their worldly possessions by terrorism, war, floods or natural disasters pulls at our heartstrings because we feel so impotent and unable to help in any meaningful way.
So how can we make our world a better place and at the same time make the wider world a better place too? Professor Fiona Woods is often quoted as saying that what we do to help, often seems just like “a drop in the ocean”: then she pauses and looks straight at you and says, “But that’s exactly what the ocean is - a lot of drops of water” And the ocean wouldn’t be complete with our own unique drop of contribution.
So in 2014, let’s give it a real go!
On the personal front, think how you can make a difference to your own life in the BIG THREE areas:
After the Christmas/New Year binge on food, most would agree that we probably ate far too much and need to “cut down” and “get back to normal”. However, for literally hundreds of thousands of West Australians, “normal” means overweight or obese anyway! This must change, unless we accept chronic health problems now, and in the years ahead, as an inevitable fact: and it doesn’t take much to make those changes.
- Drink cold water and not sugar drinks
- Veggies, salads and fruits do not need any “contents” information on them telling you how much preservative, artificial colouring, salt, sugar and emulsifiers have been added because they are NATURAL! So eat more of them and save your health - by avoiding those processed foods.
- Go nuts. Nuts come in lots of shapes and sizes and are a great “snack” food. Just carry some around in your pocket with you and you won’t need that super-energy-dense, high-octane-sugar-fix: also known as a snack bar.
Being active won’t make you lean unless you combine it with alteration to your eating habits, but it is one of the single, most important things that you can do to improve your chances of living healthily to a ripe old age. And in most cases, PA is as free as the park air, the beach walk, the bike ride or whatever form of outdoor activity you may choose to practice. For those who like their activities indoors, then there are gyms for all types of tastes, dance halls and personal coaches to cater for every interested person.
Monitor your addiction
We are all addicted to something or other - it can vary from not leaving home without your mobile phone, to serious problems with narcotic drugs. But there are a couple of habits that society has tolerated for hundreds of years and which we now see as linked with chronic health issues, and they are tobacco and alcohol usage.
Whilst we are doing a fine job with tobacco in WA, the same cannot be said for the people of Europe where smoking is still endemic. Please do not let us slip backwards in our efforts to make tobacco usage the same as gas street lighting - a thing of the past and only seen in museums and old films! Our thinking about alcohol usage also needs to be brought into the 21st century too. We need to think of consuming it only as an accompaniment to food, and then only in much more modest quantities.
When it comes to affecting world poverty, the health of refugees and the oppressed minorities, it would be impossible for 99.99% of us to actually leave home and go and help out - so how can we make a difference there
Each year, the HBF Run for a Reason provides us with a focus to improve our own fitness AND to raise money for those less fortunate than us. There are some wonderful Non Government Organisations (NGOs) here in Australia who already have people “on the ground” in areas of severe need - Oxfam, Medicin Sans Frontiers, Save the Children, Caritas: and within Australia there are other organisations such as the Cancer Council, the Heart Foundation, Diabetes Australia who also help those who most need our help. By making them the beneficiary of your fundraising, you are ticking a great number of great boxes and helping the world to be a better place!!
So my challenge to myself and to you is that in 2014, we GIVE IT A REAL GO