“I’m okay, good, not bad, can’t complain….”

When I hear these terms I want to poke myself in the eye with a needle.

Our society glorifies normal.

When we wait for test results to come back we are T H R I L L E D when the Doctor proclaims, “GREAT news! Your test results are normal!”

A professor will eagerly await the results from her class’s exam scores wanting the median mark to land perfectly in the middle of the bell curve at “normal”.

When we reassure a friend who is uncertain about something we say, “Don’t worry, it’s normal!”

This is the optimal manifesto. A declaration of independence from moderation, the middle of the road, the okay, the comfortable, the “smooth sailing” rhetoric that has left us all aiming for normal but landing in dis-ease, boredom and depression instead.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” — Norman Vincent Peale

We are a culture that oscillates between dis-ease and normal. We have found comfort in conforming. Our health and fitness levels are set based on comparison rather than on ourselves. We take pride in saying things like, “I never get sick, I’ve only had one cold this year compared to my friend Sally who had pneumonia.” or, “I look way better than Jack who has a big gut!”

We wait until dis-ease or disease strikes before making any real changes or taking a stand for our health and fitness. We wait until we could lose it all instead of putting more into it when the going is good.

Conventional medicine and physicians are your best guides when you are sick. When you pass the threshold of disease, they become your knights and queens in shining armour, but until then, they don’t know what to do with you. We know this, we feel this. We know it so much so that we actually feel like we need to get sick before we can actually get help.

Yes, this mentality is embedded in our culture, but it doesn’t have to infect you. Break away from the disease of mediocrity and set your sights on your someday and make it TO-DAY. Choose something so far away from your regular thoughts that you will be tempted to say, “That’s impossible!, or “That’s unrealistic!”

Whatever you’re focused on will expand. Are you just getting by? Are you 5lbs away from uncomfortable so you have that croissant anyways? Do you keep saying to yourself — “I’m good!” … What about wanting to be GREAT?
What is the alternative mindset?

It’s living inside the lines between normal and optimal … think of it like this:

Dis-ease| — — — — — |Normal| — — — — — |Optimal

What does this look like?

What if instead of waiting to be diagnosed with diabetes, we manage our sugar and carb intake now? Macro-balance our meals with equal parts protein, carbs and proteins. What if instead of getting to know what foods fall into these categories when we HAVE to, we do it now, for our own knowledge?

What if instead of waiting to be diagnosed with heart disease, we decrease or eliminate processed wheat and gluten? What if we eat more gluten-free foods like squash, yams, zucchini, kelp noodles… What if we research what gluten-free and wheat-free ACTUALLY means (variety) and try it out?

What if instead of waiting until we hurt our knee, shoulder or hip, we see a physiotherapist or certified trainer for a movement assessment now? What if we take care of our biomechanics and posture now, when nothing is wrong instead of waiting until something breaks?

What if instead of waiting for menopause, ageing, having kids, or working overtime, we work on our commitment to health and fitness by creating a foolproof schedule that will work for us no matter what?

What if we pre-habilitate instead of re-habilitate?

Can we see what we are made of rather than see what we can get away with?

What if “normal” was the unfortunate life event rather than cancer. What if normal was your baseline? Do you think things would be different? Do you think you’d be happier, healthier, stronger?

I think you would be.

Who is your health team when you choose to oscillate between normal and optimal? It’s your movement specialist, your yoga instructor, your psychologist, your Naturopathic Doctor and your Holistic Nutritionist. It’s these people you go and see when you say, “I’m good, but…I want to be great. How do I do that?”

Aim for the stars. Get leaner, get stronger, work on your life habits now. Decrease your sugar intake, go on that retreat, start that training plan (the right way). Slow down and assess your situation, if you conclude you’re “pretty good”, strategize your life to bring you to pretty great.

This way, if you fall, you’ll land among normal which is, at worst, is pretty ok.