What’s Your “Why” Regarding Staying Healthy?

This is the 12th installment of the I Can. We Can. blog series by Fitness Firestarter, Kathy Palokoff, and Self-Care Coach Extraordinaire, Carolyn A. Brent.


Last week Carolyn challenged me to find my “why.”  She believes strongly that if you don’t understand why you want to get healthier, you won’t be driven to make the fundamental changes needed to consistently practice self-care.  

Carolyn is very clear about her “why.” It is related to her family health history, as well as an injury that almost landed her in a wheelchair.  She also took up bodybuilding in her mid-50s, and the success made her even more focused and determined.

So I looked at my potential “whys” — health, activities, looks, and longevity. My initial impetus for beginning this journey was health. Breaking my shoulder and too much weight on my joints is restricting my movement.  But most of the time, I feel pretty good, and I never was athletic so I don’t really know what I am missing.  

I have a very rich life filled with the things I enjoy — family and friends, helping others, entrepreneurship, writing, reading, and music.  Am I a health disaster waiting to happen? Probably. But that doesn’t seem to faze me, even though I know it should.  Smokers still smoke, right?

I’ve also never really cared about looks. I am not a clothes person and don’t wear makeup. I generally like and appreciate my body and have a partner who loves every inch of me.  When he says I am beautiful, he truly means it.

I’ve accomplished a lot, and my kids are raised.  So I figure that these years – 60+ are gravy.  Living into my 80s and 90s has never been a goal.  In fact, I would say that based on the lives of most people I have seen at that age – even those who have taken really good care of themselves – longevity does not appeal to me.  Of course,  that could change instantly if I actually had death knocking at my door.

So what is my “why?”  I think it may be my 10 grandkids.  I am intensely curious to find out how they turn out.  The oldest is nine, and the youngest are six months. I want to find out what their dreams are and if they achieve them.  I want to be an influence on them, just the way my parents – who lived into their late 80s and early 90s – positively affected my children. 

Most importantly, I want to be here for them now.  It means physically being able to go to and enjoy Disneyworld and Cambodia in 2019.  It means having the flexibility to play with them on the floor  — something I can’t do.  It means having the stamina to hang out with them in the park without getting tired in an hour.  They are energizer bunnies, and my batteries are definitely depleted.  

So this week I will put up pictures and affirmations all over the house – particularly the kitchen.  That’s something Carolyn has told me to do in the past. They will be focused solely on the grandkids — truly being there for Molly, Hadley, Asher, Mina, Hunter, Lorelai, Ava, Leah, Noah and Seth.  

God willing, and with a lot more serious effort on my part.


Kathy, when I first read your blog, it brought a tremendous amount of joy to my heart, especially when you wrote about your gorgeous grandkids. I admired how you eloquently walked us through your potential “whys” step-by-step of what is important to you. It’s evident that you are an expert on knowing you. And I love it!

Like you, living into my 80s and 90s has never been a goal. But, as a result of living in a state where there are a lot of Super-Agers, I clearly see the health benefits of their daily lifestyle and activities. 

As we age, the reality should be to aim daily towards living as healthy a lifestyle as possible. Why do I say this? If I do not intentionally strive towards healthy lifestyle goals, I will be setting myself up for failure. 

On a daily basis, I deal with some level of pain due to lower-back injuries. Because of this, I am very much in tune with what my body is telling me. When I don’t exercise, I feel pain. When I eat the wrong foods, I have internal inflammation that can keep me in bed for days. When I don’t meditate, I feel stressed. These are examples of me knowing my “whys” and how I deal with them.

I am thrilled that you know your “why.” You are creating a custom lifestyle plan with pictures and affirmations all over your home. By taking this action, it will remind and support you on your healthy lifestyle journey, which does not have an end date.

Herophilus, the ancient Greek physician said, “When health is absent, wealth is useless.” Another sage, the Roman poet Virgil, said it differently, “The greatest wealth is health.” Both of these wise men recognized that riches do not mean a thing if you do not have your health.

My teacher about health was not the ancient sages, but my father. As he said, “You’ve got to keep your body moving so sickness can’t catch up with you.” 

Learn More. Visit Carolyn’s  Catalog of fine books in print.

About Carolyn Brent

Dr. Carolyn A. Brent, is an award-winning bestselling author and a National Physique Committee (NPC) Masters Women's Figure Champion at age 60. She is an expert on both self-care and caregiving; she is the founder of Across All Ages and two nonprofit organizations, CareGiverStory Inc. and Grandpa's Dream. Carolyn's research and extensive collection of published works have made her a notable figure in her field. For seventeen years, she worked for some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and has worked as a volunteer at various assisted-living facilities. Her award-winning books include The Caregiver's Companion: Caring for Your Loved One Medically, Financially and Emotionally While Caring for Yourself and The Caregiver's Legal Survival Guide: Navigating through the Legal System.

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