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Most families have a “designated doctor.” That's the person with the most interest and comfort level in the health area. However, the designated doctor may not always be present to make health decisions. Nor does he or she know how you are feeling, and if it's good enough for you. You are the ultimate manager of your health. It's your body. Learn what makes you feel well, what risks you have, what behaviors you can change. Create a vision of how healthy you would like to be. Assume the responsibility, then ask that person to confirm the plan. But don't turn the entire plan over to your “designated doctor.” He or she has the same personal responsibilities that you do—managing his or her own personal health investments. Remember that you are your personal responsibility, and you have to be accountable for your actions—and non-actions.
“I don't have time, ” –and its corollary, “I don't have time to do it right”—is not a valid response. You make time to eat, you make time to bathe; you can make time to manage your health. Another way to look at “I don't have time” is: “If you don't have time to do it right, how will you find time to do it over?” You may want to make hasty decisions for the little things, but a health decision done wrong may have consequences that last a lifetime, including costs that are much higher than you planned. Think of the time spent thinking about and improving your decisions as an investment in your future, because truly this IS an investment in your future. How long do you want the machine (think “car”) to keep running, reliably starting every time you need it? Isn't keeping the oil changed in your car cheaper than replacing the transmission? It's also cheaper to take care of the machine that is your body, with planned servicing and frequent “fill ups” of health behaviors.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|