Posted on Sunday, 24th January 2010 by

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! It seems like just yesterday that we were all concerned about the “Y2K” bug and now, here we are, a full decade later and Y2K is nothing more than an old joke. We were also challenged with another bug, swine flu, and that too, while creating some problems, did not have the severe impact we all braced for.

This last decade also brought us numerous challenges that, while we’ll never forget, we certainly won’t dwell upon them here. Suffice it to say that the first decade of the 21st century is behind us and now we must focus on moving forward and creating the future we all want.

Concerning our wellness, as we ended 2009, I asked the question, “Did we miss the bus?” Over this past decade, it seems that the only thing that grew more than the cost of health care was the size of our waistlines. While medical science has provided us with better treatment options, heart disease and cancer still top the list of what kills us. Amazingly, the proper usage of prescription medication has now become one of the leading causes of death. Cardiovascular diseases are being diagnosed in children, type II diabetes is still on the rise and numerous other indicators tell us that in spite of technological and treatment advancements which may help us live longer, we are not getting healthier.

Starting this month, I am going to take a page out of David Letterman’s playbook. Over the next months, we’ll take a ride On the Bus to Great Health. I’ll highlight 10 stops along the way to help us all meet our wellness goals. While I’ll present them as #10 through #1, the importance and significance of each will depend upon your own individual circumstances. I’d encourage each of you to keep this list handy and incorporate these suggestions into your daily routine as much as possible. Ready? Let’s ride!

#10 – Plan Your Journey. It is virtually impossible to reach a goal that you haven’t set. During our careers we’ve all had goals and objectives that we had to meet. We developed matrices to track our progress and had specific outcomes to achieve in order to determine if we were successful. Why should we treat our health and wellness any differently?

In order to help you plan your journey, I’ve created the acronym GETFIT. Let’s see what it means.

G is for Goals. How appropriate to set goals in January – can you say New Year’s Resolution? Identify your fitness goals in specific terms. Saying “I want to lose weight” is not a goal, it’s merely a wish that will never come true. If weight loss is your goal, pick a number and a time. “I will lose 20 pounds by March 31st” is an example of a properly stated goal. While doing this for some topics may seem tricky, you can always drop me a note with what you are trying to do and I can help you craft an appropriate goal.

E is for Evaluation. This step is critical before, during and after each activity. When dealing with your health, knowing where you stand prior to making changes is critical. Getting a physical and consulting your physician prior to starting a wellness program will identify your limitations as well as help you establish responsible goals. Your doctor can also help you track your progress. I like to set up a spreadsheet listing specific, measurable data to help me keep track of my progress.

T is for Time Frame. Unrealistic time frames are a leading cause of failure to meet a goal. E.g. if we use the weight loss example, saying you want to drop 20 pounds by the end of the week will only set you up to fail since your body simply can’t do that. Losing 2 – 4 pounds/week, depending on your current weight, is a more realistic goal. In order for a time frame to be met, it must be reasonable, responsible and measurable.

F is for Fitness. This may sound a bit counter intuitive, but you have to get fit in order to get fit. Huh? Let me describe it this way. I enjoy cycling in the summer, but I would never consider riding my bike to get into shape, rather I get into shape so I can ride my bike. We all should be getting about an hour a day of physical activity. Those 60 minutes do not necessarily have to be consecutive, but that would help. Identify where you have time during your day and get busy.

I is for Information. Remember that matrix we mentioned earlier? Well, now is the time to create it. Whether you use your computer and a spreadsheet or you like a pencil and paper, it really doesn’t matter. Like the Nike commercials say, “Just do it!” Use the information from your evaluation stage as a baseline and then track your progress. I’d recommend a weekly check. Too often may not show the results and too seldom will cause a loss of interest. E.g. tracking your weight on a daily basis could be discouraging since your weight may actually go up occasion as your body adjusts to your new eating habits while monitoring cholesterol too often is not even practical.

T is for Tenacity. Wellness goals require focus, commitment and dedication. Without a tenacious resolve, minimal success may be all you can expect. To fully realize your goals and meet your expectations, you need to remain tenacious and dedicated. The old adage says that if you stick to something for 28 consecutive days it will become a habit. Don’t give up when it gets tough. Push through it and turn your new activities into habits and you’ll be successful in your wellness endeavor.

Well now we’ve taken the first stop along our bus trip to great health. Next month we’ll explore #9 – Back to Basics. In the meantime know that we have numerous products to help you with your trip. Simply visit either of our web sites, and, or drop me a note and I’ll be glad to help you plan your journey along the road to good health.

Visit often to learn more about retirement options, wellness and health issues, benefits, and estate planning guidance and I suggest signing up to receive my FREE monthly wellness newsletter.

Yours in Good Health,


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One Response to “On The Bus to Great Health”

  1. Dennis Damp Says:

    It depends. If you retired from the military only the time you spent in a conflict and that time is documented on your DD-214 will count towards retirement initially. However, you can buy back your total military time and apply all of the time towards a federal annuity. You will have to waive your military retirement at the time you retire from federal service if you go this route. To determine if it is worth your while to convert, go to and complete the evaluation. This section also describes the process, who to contact and where to send your requests.