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Important, not urgent

Two patients. Both in their mid 40s. Both with lives that will change forever this week. 

Both newly diagnosed with diabetes.
One of them had a heart attack at the same time.  That’s when the diabetes was diagnosed.
Both with a BMI greater than 30. 
Both with busy and demanding jobs.
Both with “poor work life balance”.
I’m not a GP that likes giving too much medication. I had no choice with both of these patients. 

A lot of things can kill us. Heart disease is the leading cause. Diabetes is number 6. A big contributor is poor work life balance.
First, work gets busier. More money. More responsibility. More demands.
Then, life gets busier. Endless commitments to your family, friends, partner (if you have one) and children (if you have one…or five in some cases!). Of course, we also have all the boring commitments to stuff like mowing the lawn, paying the bills, preparing dinner and getting our car serviced.

As work gets busier, and life gets busier, you become time poor. This leads to people stopping the things that are important, not urgent.

What is important, not urgent?
For your health, it’s things like exercise, eating well and sleeping well.
For your happiness, in addition to the things above, it’s things like gratitude journaling, meditation, spending time in nature and investing in key relationships like your family, friends, partner and kids.

When I see the 40 or 50 something year old who comes in with a big health event, like a heart attack, or a big life event, like a divorce, they start auditing their last 6 months to figure out what went wrong. This is misguided. The cracks often start to show 10-20 years earlier when slowly the important, not urgent parts of life start to be ignored.

It’s tricky because by definition, these things are not urgent. So they can wait. You are not going to die tomorrow if you don’t exercise for a day or two. Similarly, your partner is not going to file for a divorce if you go a few weeks without saying “l love you” . Unfortunately, years down the track these seemingly non urgent matters become urgent or even critical.

As we enter the new year, many of us start setting goals and New Year’s resolutions. I invite you to set goals for the things that are important, not urgent.

Here are some tips and examples:

  1. Don’t set dead person goals.
  2. Exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  3. Meditate for 15 minutes, every morning.
  4. Replace social media scrolling with reading a book. 
  5. Have epic sleep. Think lux in the morning and wavelength at night.
  6. Eat 5 serves of vegetables every day.
  7. Run a half marathon. And train for it.
  8. Hike a mountain that scares you. And train for it.
  9. Write something you are grateful for every day. Start with something about yourself.
  10. If you have a partner, tell them something you love about them everyday. Never repeat yourself.
  11. If you have kids, spend at least 15 minutes of quality time with them. No phone.
  12. Subscribe to this newsletter. I am pouring everything I know into this.
  13. Get a coach. I have one. I also am one. I love helping people so reach out if you are interested (see below).

Much love to you and of course, myself.

Dr G

If you want to find out more about coaching, email me at
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