What do Super Bowl champs and the Power of 5 life have in common?
The Super Bowl is approaching just as we are gaining our stride in this new year.
It’s a good time for all of us to continue reflecting on our good fortunes (and wins) and see how they match up to all the great football teams who have been competing during the year and in the playoffs.
As I consider the components of the teams in contention, they all demonstrate the same characteristics as my patients who have been successfully aging GRACEfully. These successful teams follow a formula that I have been recommending to my patients for several years. Maybe my formula GRACE is gaining traction?
Each of these teams had a set goal at the beginning of training camp: to win a championship. That’s a no brainer, but that is an outcome goal. The real successful team teams have process goals. I recently interviewed Robert Weinberg, PhD., who is a retired professor of sports psychology. He explained to me that having just an outcome goal is not enough to be successful. Process goals are all the behavioral elements that it takes to reach the outcome. It is not only practice but the specific drills within the practice session … it is the daily exercise routine that one follows to build strength and endurance … it is eating the proper diet to build the strength to compete on such a high level.
The elite athletes of today must study. Competitive sports require following a well-designed plan, one with specific instructions that need to be so ingrained that they become second nature. There is clearly more to attaining the goal of being Super Bowl champs than just an outcome goal. Keep this in mind when setting your goals for the year and following a Power of 5 life.
In our lives, knowing our roots/genes/DNR are important ingredients to be considered in our future health. Knowing our genetic information can help us make choices in life that can benefit our health span. That information enables us to set up process goals to address such family illnesses as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Putting process goals in place, such as specific lifestyle activities of what to eat and how much physical activity we need, reduces our risk of succumbing to a genetically predetermined disease.
There is another way to look at our roots. The connections and closeness within our family, “our Roots.” Successful sports teams benefit by doing this as well. Great team chemistry/connections is another important component in achieving a desired outcome: winning. When we examine some of the great sports teams/dynasties of all times, they report “great team chemistry” with players all getting along, loving each other, and playing as a team to win. Remember there is no “I” in team.
In sports and in life, attitude can also be referred to as swagger. Teams and successful organizations have processes in place to develop and hone their attitude/swagger. Some famous teams have been known as “bad boys,” and others as “fearsome.” These teams have a process in which they live and breathe that attitude as part of their success formula. I support having an attitude if it gets you to the desired outcome; in sports, it is about winning. In the formula that I promote, GRACE, that attitude is gratitude and, just like other attitudes, it requires a process to incorporate it into your life.
There is a link between companionship and the roots developed in a successful team. It is a responsibility of team ownership and coaching staff to set forth the process of developing great team chemistry. It might seem like it is magic, but in reality, it takes work and a well-thought-out process. The same is true in our lives. Companionship takes work. Knitting together tight connections within our family units and friends takes a process. It may seem disingenuous but having lifelong supportive connections takes work.
Creating an environment for success is the final component of my GRACE formula. Whether it is the locker room, the stadium, or the surroundings, the plans for success include having the best possible environment. The same holds for our health. We have the opportunity of putting a plan together for our own health outcome. Find the eating and exercise lifestyle best suited to meet your goals. The process includes research, discussion with family members, and a healthcare professional. Be sure to include addressing sleep and stress. Learn to include relaxation and meditation and set aside enough time for a good night’s sleep.
GRACE: Super Bowl Champs
I have outlined my formula yet again but this time I have included the need to have rational processes to help attain your goal—just as championship teams and Super Bowl champs do.
To a Long and Healthy Life,
David Bernstein, MD