Things I'm doing at 44 to avoid regret when I'm 74

Published about 1 month ago • 7 min read

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Something you may not know about me is that I became a dad late in life.

I had my first child at 40 and my second child when I was 43.

While this puts me behind the 8 ball but I'm not stressing because age is relative.

What this does mean is that I'm putting more focus on longevity.

While most people think longevity is how long you'll live they tend to forget that it's about the quality of those years.

This is why one of the best mental razors I've found is the model of regret minimization.

While I may not be able to avoid most regrets I can do things to minimize them as I get older.

This is why I made this list of things I'm doing at 44 to avoid regret at 74.

Here they are:

Things I'm doing at 44 to avoid regret when I'm 74

  1. I'm removing most processed sugars and ultra-processed foods from my diet. These foods have been correlated with diseases like cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. This doesn't mean I won't ever eat them but it does I'll avoid them as best as I can by opting for whole nutrient-dense food sources.
  2. Training with weights using good form and progressive overload. Building strength and muscle in the upper and lower body is paramount to living a quality life into the later stage of life. I'd rather be the oldest person in the weight room than the youngest person in the nursing home.
  3. Adding 2 types of cardiovascular training to my workout regime: Conversational cardio and High intensity cardio. I'm using these to improve my V02 max. Conversational cardio is a type of cardio that allows you to speak at a conversational pace. High-intensity cardio exercises (Sprinting or HIIT) that challenge your heart and lungs to their maximum capacity.
  4. I will remind myself that a workout is only 1/24th of a day. I will aim to be active throughout the day rather than relying on my workouts. A great way to do this? Walking outside. Getting 8000 steps a day has been correlated with a 40% decrease in all-cause mortality and comes with incredible brain-boosting benefits.
  5. I'm doing mobility drills every single day. Mobility training helps you develop healthy, strong, and functional joints while improving your capacity to move. If I'm going to live an active lifestyle I need to supplement it with mobility training.
  6. I'm doing daily meditation for at least 5 minutes a day. This can be in the form of a sitting mindfulness meditation or a walking meditation. Meditation strengthens areas of your brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, and self-awareness. For me, it has been an incredible tool to lower my stress levels, decrease anxiety, and increase the pause between stimulus and response.
  7. I will eat until I'm 80% full rather than aiming to be stuffed. This helps me limit calories and feel more energetic after a meal while putting me in touch with my signals of fullness. The more room I leave in the stomach the better I feel.
  8. I will be optimizing for nutrient-dense sources of protein in my diet. If you're lifting or living an active life you need to keep, if not build, muscle. Muscle is one of the most important organs in your body. It helps us maintain balance and preserve bone density while enjoying vitality and independence in our latter stages of life. What helps us build muscle? Protein. I'm aiming for .8 to 1 gram per pound of body weight to be on the safe side.
  9. I will be intentional in building a community of friends around me. The one constant I see with people who live long lives is strong relationships. In a world where it is so easy to be isolated, we need to get out and be with others. Aside from living longer, our relationships will act as the bedrock for a quality life. We weren't meant to live in isolation. We were meant to live with others so get out there and start reaching out.
  10. I will work on my mental gym every single day. Something I realize with people who get older is that they split into 2 separate groups:

    Group 1 is where the vast majority of people go, which is to be more bitter and pessimistic about the world around them.

    Group 2 is less crowded. It's where they see the world as happening for them instead of to them. They remain positive and optimistic regardless of their circumstances. We are training this every single day whether you realize it or not. Btw the second group has been shown to live the longest. I know which one I'm choosing.
  11. I will replace worry with perspective. Worrying is wasted energy. It does nothing for us other than draw us deeper into the depths of the things we fear. I won't fight worry but replace it with perspective. Perspective helps us shape reality in a way that serves us. It can help us see the other side while also showing us solutions to the things we fear the most. The cool thing is we have control over our perspective so why not use it?
  12. Putting my phone far away when I'm with my children. The phone is both the best and worst invention on the planet. We need to start using it as a tool and avoid using it as a crutch especially when we're with our kids. Something I realized is that they are always watching. We don't want their memories to be of daddy or mommy looking at their phone when they wanted attention so I'm putting it away in a place where I can't touch it. Usually, that means another floor of the house.
  13. I'm severely limiting my alcohol intake. I'm not opposed to sharing a glass of wine with my friends from time to time. But if I'm being honest I have a tendency to make it a habit if I'm not careful. So I keep my alcohol intake to special occasions and avoid drinking to the point of being drunk.
  14. I'm fixing my sleep habits to ensure I'm getting both the right quantity and quality of sleep. If sleep were a pill it would be the best legal performance-enhancing drug on the planet. It's not just about getting the right amount of sleep. You want to be getting the best quality. Click here for a quick guide on the protocol we use with clients to improve their sleep quality.
  15. I will choose to live in environments that suit my family's personality. Our environment is the invisible hand that shapes our day-to-day reality. My spirit just feels better when surrounded by nature and good people. Life is too short to live in places you that don't fit your way of livin'.
  16. I'm getting in coaches for my biggest weaknesses. This can be in the form of DIY courses or investing in personal coaching. A coach will help you close the gap between where you are and where you want to be faster than trying to figure it out on your own. Yes, they do cost money. In fact, the last one I hired was $24,000. But I'm at the point in my life where I'm optimizing for time not money. This doesn't mean you need to spend as much as me but I highly recommend getting coaching of some kind. They're the best combination of the right information, implementation, and accountability.
  17. Each year of my life will be dedicated to learning a new skill. It could be playing an instrument or learning a new language or learning how to make Youtube videos, which is something I'm learning this year. This will help me keep my brain young by forcing it to create new neurons through learning. Also, being able to play Wonderwall on the Ukulele would be pretty awesome.
  18. I'm optimizing my body to be in line with my circadian rhythms. Our circadian rhythm is the physical, mental, and behavioral changes an organism experiences over a 24-hour cycle. Light and dark have the biggest influence on circadian rhythms, but food intake, stress, physical activity, social environment, and temperature also affect them. Here's a quick guide on how to attune your body to your rhythms.
  19. I'm avoiding injuries by working out smart. As we age the body takes a longer time to recover and heal. The best way to not get injured is to start everything slow. Here's what I mean...

    If you're playing pickleball for the first time don't go at full speed. Allow your body to get used to the movements a few times before pushing to the limit.

    Or..

    If you're starting to lift weights for the first time in a while avoid trying to lift what you did in high school. Focus on form and lift weights you can handle that don't challenge you too much.
  20. I'm not taking my health TOO seriously. This may fly in the face of everything I just talked about but there's a point where caring too much about your health becomes detrimental.

    This is where someone can become scared of eating certain foods, constantly stressing about their health, or feeling the need to over-optimize every part of their life to the point of not enjoying it. I treat everything I talked about in this article as a lifestyle rather than something I "gotta" do to be healthy. If I do something that is not in line with this list I avoid beating myself up about it and focus on making the next rep as good as I can make it.

A good life has minimal regrets

In his book Outlive, the author Peter Attia talks about the marginal decade, which is the final decade of our lives.

The marginal decade is about how you want to perform in your latter years and most of it is about doing normal things like picking up your grandchild, driving a car, or walking up and down stairs.

The things I have talked about in this article are about setting up my marginal decade to be an epic one.

Death, to me, is a feature in life, not a bug. When used in the right way it can push us to create things we've always wanted to create and do things we've always wanted to do.

It can also be used as a way or organizing our lives now so we can enjoy the final years later.

This is how I intend to live out my current and future years. Hope it brought value to your life.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan

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