Generally, just a few things account for most of our progress. These basics have the greatest effect on our health, our wealth, our happiness, and our relationships. But if you’re looking for the shortcuts, the “tricks of the trade”, you’re not learning the trade. Get back to basics to polish up on your fundamentals.
We use three distinct types of energy to perform the tasks we need and want to do in our lives. To be a high-energy, enthusiastic person, one who has the energy to achieve the things you want to accomplish, learn to build up your reserves in each of the three areas.
Circadian rhythm is the biological clock that regulates our patterns of wakefulness and sleep. Various factors can affect when and how melatonin, the “sleep hormone”, is produced. By regulating the factors that influence our circadian rhythm, we can improve that fundamental aspect of good health: sleep.
Research points to links between poor sleep and ill health. Adequate sleep is one of the fundamentals of the good health which is essential for us to flourish and to live a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
The activities that lead to a strong, healthy body give us a strong, healthy brain as well. Unfortunately, some experts have found that about 1/2 the activities we engage in lead to improved brain health but the other 1/2 are detrimental to a healthy brain. Doing a little more of the healthy activities and a little less of the unhealthy ones, add up over time to major improvements.
My mother died from dementia, more or less. That wasn’t the official cause of death but a few days before she passed, a doctor told us how her brain had shrunk. She forgot how to swallow so she could no longer eat or drink anything and, then, she forgot how to breathe.
Her dementia was genetic, caused by a specific recessive gene, which can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia – too much homocysteine in the blood. We found that out years before her passing when she first began showing the signs of memory loss. Once we discovered that it was a genetic trait, I went to my doctor to be tested. I have the same recessive gene. I found it interesting that, in the report, the doctors labeled it “the family curse”.
We are told it is “up to us” to make the healthy choices. But our culture and environment are typically slanted to make the healthy choices the most difficult. In the end it is up to us — we simply need to be aware of what we are up against.
Now it was July, 1961. The Packer players had had the entire off-season to mull over their humiliation in that final championship game. They assembled at training camp, eager to polish their skills, advancing them to a higher level, ready to avenge their loss and show the world how great they really were.
Vince Lombardi, the Packers’ head coach, had other plans.
“Gentlemen,” he said, holding up the object they knew intimately well, “this is a football.” [Maraniss]
If you want to pitch a tent, you don’t need to think about a foundation. But if you want to build a lasting structure, you need a solid foundation. Do you want your life to be like a tent or a tower? 
Sharpen The Saw
Imagine you are walking in the woods and you come upon a woodcutter busily sawing at a tree. As you watch, you can see he isn’t making much progress. It’s obvious that his saw is dull.
“Why don’t you take some time to sharpen your saw?” you ask.
He glares at you. “Sharpen the saw!? Can’t you see I’m too busy sawing?!?” [Covey]
Stephen Covey shares this story in his book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, to illustrate the 7th habit, which he calls “sharpen the saw”. This habit encircles the other six habits and enhances them. It is a focus on the fundamentals of self care.