October 18 – October 24
Set Yourself Up for Success
And if you haven’t had a chance yet, take some time to learn more about the evidence-based, science-backed approach that is the foundation of the proven Blue Zones roadmap for living a longer and happier life. There’s great information in this ground-breaking TED Talk from Dan Buettner, Blue Zones founder, National Geographic Fellow, and best-selling author of the Blue Zones books.
Week 1 is all about setting yourself up for success for the rest of the Challenge. Take your time, as these simple steps will make the rest of the month easier.
As you’ll see in the workbook, you’ll start by recording a few physical details—weight, BMI, blood pressure, and the like. You don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to. We also ask that you take this brief survey to establish how you’re feeling at the start. We’ll then check back at the end of the Challenge to see what’s changed.
Next, you’ll take a few baseline tests and cover off on some basic logistics.
Behavior is contagious, so we ask you to take the Blue Zones Challenge with a coworker or group of coworkers who enjoy similar healthy habits as you do. It’s an essential social connection that’s reflected in what the Okinawans call a moai—which roughly translates to “a group meeting for a common purpose.” A wide body of research demonstrates that strong social connections reduce stress and increase happiness and longevity. And that includes having friends at work, which makes you happier and more productive, according to researchers.
Trying to change your behavior without changing your environment isn’t a way to create success. The workbook will show you how to optimize your kitchen for healthy eating, and the rest of your home for more movement, less stress, and better sleep.As a starting point, be sure to print out these two helpful charts (they’re also included in your workbook) and post them in your kitchen:
Commit to wearing something blue every day—perhaps a bracelet, ring, or watch—as a reminder of hara hachi bu. This is an Okinawan blessing before meals that also serves as a regular reminder to try to stop eating when you feel about 80 percent full. To help make this a regular practice, try some simple changes like eating more slowly, focus on the food (and turn off the TV!), and even just try smaller plates and glasses. It’s one of the reasons that Okinawans eat at least 80 percent (there’s that number again) fewer calories than Americans and have the highest life expectancy in the world after reaching age 65.
All done? Well done! Now you’re ready for the fun to truly begin in Week 2 and beyond.
Bonus! If you have some extra time in Week 1 before the daily scoring begins in Week 2, try these optional tasks:
Adventist Health CEO Scott Reiner and Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner connected recently to talk all things Blue Zones Challenge.