Many people view health and wellness as the goal. And for those with chronic health conditions, good health is definitely an important goal. But for others who are striving for optimal health, you’re more likely to get there if you view health as the means to the end rather than the end in and of itself.
After all, what do you want your health for??
What difference would it make in your life if your health were better – even optimal? Would you be a better parent or sibling? Would you excel at your job? Would you achieve a personal best in a race? How would life be more fulfilling?
Performance medicine is about using health as the most important tool you have to achieve your goals and to perform better at whatever matters to you.
You may want to perform better sexually, physically or mentally; you may want to put on muscle or lose fat.
Whatever it is that you want your health for, that’s what will dictate where you and your health team need to focus energies on, coming up with the best health optimization plan – in service of performance optimization.
Because meaningful goals are motivating more than better health itself is.
When it comes to making true behavior change in the name of better health, we know that SMART goals are more likely to be accomplished.
“SMART” goal setting is a key intervention for those looking to make behavioral changes. Being able to visualize what you need to do to reach your goals makes it more likely that you will succeed. The acronym SMART can be used as a guide through the goal-setting process:
- Specific. Get as specific as possible about your goals.
- Measurable. Ensure that your goal is measurable.
- Attainable. Make sure you can reasonably reach your goals if you put in the work..
- Relevant. Ensure that the goal is relevant to you. How will this improve your life?
- Timely. Define a specific timeline for the goal.
The 5 Steps of Performance Medicine
That’s what performance medicine is all about. Below are the 5 steps of how performance medicine can benefit you and your health desires:
Stop and think: What is your “Why?” What do you want your health for? What is your main goal?
How would better health help you achieve that? How would poor health interfere with it?
Identify what information/data you need to clarify your next best steps. Here is where help from a health practitioner comes in. Which tests or biomarkers can help you to know where to start?
Identify and start those next best steps to move the mark on those health metrics that will help you achieve your goals. Maybe it’s changing your diet, starting an exercise program or engaging in a stress management program.
Measure your progress and track how you are doing.
This is the sort of work I do in my practice, starting with a personalized assessment as I discussed in the post on personalized performance medicine and what my new program, Better Men’s Health is based on -. But whether you work with me or someone else, focusing on your goals and improving performance is a great way to motivate yourself to better health and to a higher level of overall fulfillment.
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Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of the top Integrative Medical Center in the U.S., he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has been a consultant with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on national television, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He is National Director and V.P. of Medical Services for AndHealth, a digital health company utilizing lifestyle medicine approaches to reverse chronic illness. He is available on a limited basis to consult with individual patients interested in a personalized approach to optimal performance and health.