There is an old Proverb I love: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Your health and fitness are two of the trees you should plant now if you missed doing it 20 years ago, and two of the most important things you can do for yourself, your family, your friends and your future. Living a full life and achieving your goals depends on you being able to function physically, mentally and emotionally at your maximum level and full potential.

Most people live life way below their potential because they are so used to feeling mediocre or bad and they think the state they are in is “normal” or “acceptable” or “the way everyone feels”. If you get up in the morning tired, achy, fat and unable to face the day you are not in the proper state to take care of your children to the extent they need and you probably aren’t a very good spouse either. Your work might suffer, which threatens your survival. You might not have the energy for a social life or to be a very good friend.

Even what seems like a little (and common) problem like having indigestion or acid reflux on a regular basis, is actually a red flag in terms of your health. This means your body is breaking down and probably has been for decades. Running to the drug store for an over the counter remedy is ignoring the problem. This condition and others are not going to just magically disappear on their own and masking the┬áissue with drugs doesn’t mean they have gone away or you are healthier.

People have spent decades destroying their health and should have planted the tree 20 years ago, but remember the second best time to plant one is now. So this New Year, plant your tree. The time is now.

These recommendations are for the reduction of stress only. They are not intended as treatment or prescription for any disease, or as a substitute for regular medical care.