Fatherhood comes in a lot of forms. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes it’s not, sometimes it’s not even your child you’ve decided to look after and over. That might sound extreme to say but it’s the truth. Some men get in relationships with the woman they love and become great dads to children not their own. And credit to you guys.  No matter how fatherhood comes to you, the decisions you make when it does are going to be some of the most important you’ll ever face. It’ll feel that way, too.

One thing is for certain, it will change everything. Not all at once, either. It comes in stages, over time, as you learn how to take care of this growing human being.

Through all that, it can be difficult to remember to take care of yourself. It’s easy to remember wealthy and wise when raising a child, but health seems to always fall by the wayside.

However, health is the most important. Not only do you want to be here for your child as they grow and experience the world, but you want to set a good example for them to live the best life possible. The habits you have will become their habits.

Taking the time to ingrain the right habits sooner, rather than later, will pay lasting dividends. Not only will it make you healthier and help you set the right example, but once that kid comes your time starts to come at a premium. Learning these habits as early as possible will make sure they stick when everything else starts to hit the fan. Some of these are broad, because it matters less what you do, and more that you do it regularly and with intent.

1.Watching What You Eat

This is purposefully broad. Whether you do it by counting calories, restricting carbs, preparing your food ahead of time, or keeping a food journal, keeping track of your diet is crucial to health in the modern world.

It’s easy to say you watch what you eat, but it’s another thing entirely to keep careful track of what you actually consume on a regular basis. You could surprise yourself.  Snacking, seconds, and drinks often slip through the cracks when your diet isn’t systematic – and that’s what’s going to put you in the most danger over time.

If you’re seriously overeating, making a concerted effort to track your intake will help you be more mindful of what you’re eating and why. This will let you make consistently better choices about what you’re eating. This will have the biggest effect on your health. What’s more, passing on that skill is something that will help keep your child healthy for the rest of their life.

2.Regular Activity

This can mean different things for different people. What’s really important is finding the activity you enjoy. Whether that’s biking through your neighbourhood for a few hours a week, playing football in the backyard every Saturday, or hiking through the mountains in the countryside.

Obviously the best thing would be regular outdoor activity coupled with a robust workout routine, however not everyone has the time or temperament for all of that. If you can find something you can do two or three times a week to keep your active and happy, then that’s the most important thing.

What’s more, it will give you something to bond over with your child. Pursuing and understanding your passions is the best way to help them pursue and understand theirs. Instilling a love for physical activity early on will be one of the best ways to keep them on their feet well into the golden years.

3.Making Time For Mental Health

Mental health problems are something that seriously affect men of all ages. It’s no secret that we don’t exactly jump at the chance to share our innermost fears and insecurities. However this can get so bad that we stop recognising our own emotions altogether.

I’m not going to decry stoic silence. What can’t happen, though, is burying your emotions so deep that you never see them, and don’t recognise them when you do.

You need the ability, and time, to self-reflect. To stop interacting with the world for just a few minutes, and listen to yourself. Listen to the thoughts and feelings that you’re having, why you’re having them, and understand that it’s ok to have them. Learn from them, don’t fight them.

Taking 10 minutes a day to sit with yourself and listen can mean the difference between you keeping your cool and losing your temper. It can mean the difference between making peace with yourself, and letting feelings fester into something much worse over the next 18 years. It can mean showing your daughter what a gentleman is, and showing your son how a real man acts.

There’s a lot going on in the mind of a father. Worries, stresses, frustrations, and the pressure to put that all aside when push comes to shove and get to work, because people are depending on you. Taking care of yourself seems important, but not important today. It’s a problem that will come in the future. Something to worry about later.

However your health needs to come first. You need to know, practice, and have the habits that lead to a happy, successful, and healthy life. It’s not just for your sake.

 

Chris Bradley

Transformation Coach For Men Over 30

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