I was talking to a guy named Mike the other day. Typical guy. In his 40’s, a bit of a beer gut, talks about getting in shape and exercising but says it’s too hard, doesn’t have the time. That kind of thing.

After a while I can size these people up pretty quickly. Mike, and people like him, are full of excuses. It’s somebody or something else. You quickly learn you can’t present any kind of solution to this type of person without an immediate reason why the proposed solution won’t work.

We all have aspects of Mike in our DNA and we have to be extremely vigilant to detect it and correct. One aspect of Mike that many of us have is that we think things are lost with age.

Whether it is eyesight or flexibility, age is quickly blamed for a myriad and diverse list of problems, but usually involving health, often involving memory, and almost always involving physical prowess.

The problem with age is that there isn’t anything we can do about it—it’s inevitable, or so it seems. But one thing we can do is avoid dwelling on it.

I think it’s easy to mistake increasing responsibility with getting old. I know I’ve felt the weight of responsibility more in this decade of life than any other. At times it felt like age but was probably more the weight of obligation and my needing to adjust to it and conquer it.

What is it that we expect with “getting old?” Decrepitude? A beer gut? A bad back? Loss of hearing and eyesight? Weakness? Memory loss?

The things that many people seem to associate with age are in reality a set of poor habits around the concept of self care. Yes, even eyesight. There are exercises you can do to improve your eyesight, your hearing, your concentration, your focus, your strength, your flexibility, and more. There are foods you can eat which will help you stay more energetic and vigorous. There are ways of thinking you can employ to overcome feelings of stress (without having to drink or smoke pot).

One of my favorite William Muldoon quotes is where he says that we know what we ought to do, we just don’t do it. It’s true. We know way more than we give ourselves credit for. But often we know that what we know we should do takes work, and effort, and we default to laziness. That’s when we find ourselves uttering phrases like “I’m getting old” as though we can’t do anything to prevent ensuing decrepitude.

In light of William Muldoon, take a look at everything you do for an entire week and simply ask yourself if it is good for you or bad for you. These are the small habits that are going to have a huge effect on you with each passing year, each passing decade.

Then, each week, pick one thing off the list of things which are bad for you and work to change the habit. Do something else that is good for you instead.

For example, if you load your coffee up with sugar and artificial sweetener, stop doing that. Likewise, if you drink too much coffee, stop doing that too! Similarly, if you have huge lunches and sit at your desk all day and you’ve gained 3 pounds per year for the last five years…STOP DOING THAT!!!

There are so many things which are out of our control, but so many things are IN our control and we don’t TAKE control. These little habits that can make you age well or poorly are in your control.