Lifespan Goals

Not long ago, I wanted to live to age 120. I’m not so interested in that any longer. Here’s why.

Recently, I learned of Bryan Johnson, a multi-millionaire, who is trying to “hack” longevity through various modalities, including diet, exercise, sleep and a boat-load of supplements. Johnson founded Braintree Payment Solutions which he sold to EBay for $800 million and claims he is spending his money to help humanity overcome self-destructive behaviors.

To that end, he is documenting his protocol, complete with test results and photos, on his site and invites others to adopt his methods called “blueprint.” (

Initially I was intrigued. Upon further reflection, I began to wonder “at what cost?”

Johnson, and he is not alone in a quest for longevity, follows a calorie-restricted vegan diet of the exact same foods that his team of advisors has developed for him. He also downs close to 100 different supplements every day on a set schedule. Exercise is also precise and highly programmed.

At a Cost

It seems he’s traded joy in mere the process of living for an ego-driven striving towards his intended outcome.

On another longevity front are the “Blue Zones,” which began as a National Geographic Expedition to areas with the longest-lived humans led by Dan Buettner. Despite the controversy over validity of birth dates of these people, we can still glean some common threads from them and from others in various parts of the world who have lived 100+ years.

HealthSpan Instead?

Common lifestyle habits among those living in these areas, which is echoed in interviews with several oldest living people (, include a sense of purpose, the ability to “downshift” (regulate stress), a sense of belonging, family and social network, not over-consuming foods, movement and a strong belief system.

  • Move naturally. The world’s longest-lived humans live in environments that constantly ask them to move without thinking about it. They grow gardens, do house work, walk to markets, tend to animals and do not have many mechanical conveniences.
  • Sense of Purpose. This is “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to 7 years of extra life expectancy and can be applied to most anything that you do.
  • Downshift/Regulate Stress.  Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that others do not are routines to shed that stress. Spend time daily in gratitude, pray, nap, converse with friends.
  • 80% Rule. This can be a key for losing or maintaining weight and is considered moderation. Over-consumption of food (and other things) contributes to excess weight, inflammation and undue stress.
  • Belonging. Some might consider this to be belonging to a church or other faith-based organization, but it can be broadly applied to any organization – like a garden club or a cross-fit gym – some entity that gives order, regularity and a sense of being a part of something.
  • Loved ones. Many of the longest-lived humans put families first. This might mean keeping parents and grandparents nearby or in the home, having a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and investing in children with time and love.
  • Social Community. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. Social networks of long-lived people favorably shape their health behaviors. (

These are some of the habits that can help you live a richer, and maybe longer life, but there may be others that suit you better. Find what works for you and stick to it. It’s never too late to start making positive changes in your life.

I’ve traded my quest to achieve an age goal with this: Learn. Love. Laugh.

What do you choose?


I work with mid-life men and women who want to feel younger through improving their relationship to food, movement and mindfulness.

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