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My 18 Health Goals (& My Progress)

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Success in life isn’t about where you start off, but the rate of change that you can sustain. If you are improving yourself at a fast rate, then you will be successful in life – however you define success.

The goal of my regimen is to make the maximum improvements possible for my specific goals without spending exorbitant amounts of money or time.

18 Goals and My Progress:

I’m a big believer in making goals before setting out to create a regimen.

I’ve adjusted and added to my goals over time, but I have a clear set of goals on what health areas I want to improve based on the areas that I had many health issues with in the past.

At this stage, I would consider myself in the 99th percentile with almost all of the goals I’ve outlined below (or not far from it), but I am still always working to optimize everything, so that I can have the best life possible.

About every 2 months, I choose one of these goals to focus on front and center, and then switch to another goal. This depends on what is happening in my life.

For example, I had several conferences to attend a few months ago and chose to focus on improving my extraversion.

I’m a strong believer that if your biology is working optimally, then you will have a great life.

I have experienced both sides of the extreme from poor health to peak health and I’ve seen the dramatic effect on all aspects of my life.

The following issues are not binary, but on a continuum, and my goal is to continue to optimize them or keep them optimal on a steady basis, and for the long term.

1. Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies & General Health

I’ve had a variety of nutrient deficiencies in the past, and these can be problematic in many ways – some which we may notice and some which we may not.

Some of these deficiencies are a result of my limited diet. I eat mainly beef, chicken, fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. I eat a small amount of seeds and nuts, but not much.

Not eating dairy, eggs, grains, and beans creates nutrient deficiencies, and having appropriate nutrient levels is very important from an overall optimal health perspective.

2. Lower Inflammation

I’ve dealt with a host of autoimmune-like issues in the past and lowering inflammation has always been a goal of mine.

This isn’t front and center these days because I have done a good job at lowering inflammation levels, but it is one of those things that can spike if I don’t follow the correct behaviors.

My progress:

My latest hs-CRP, which is a measure of inflammation, was 0.2, which was the lowest level I’ve ever had and one of the lowest my doctor had ever seen.

More important than my metrics is the fact that all of the inflammatory issues that I had dealt with in the past are gone.

Having low inflammation allows me to expand my diet somewhat, but I still need to be careful.

My goal:

Don’t get unnecessary spikes of inflammation.

3. Boost Mood

I’ve had mood-related issues my whole life. These included the inability to handle stress, panic attacks for no reason, social anxiety, OCD, depression, general anxiety, heightened fears and insecurities, etc…

Inflammation was exacerbating these issues, but even when I fixed my inflammation, I found that there was still a lot of room for improvement in this area.

As a serial entrepreneur and CEO of a cutting-edge biotech company (SelfDecode), along with being very ambitious and always putting a lot on my plate, I’ve really pushed the boundaries of what I can handle with regard to mood.

I always want to push myself to the max, and that’s not usually a good recipe for being in a good mood.

My progress:

I’ve been able to get to a point where I don’t experience negative emotions in more than a fleeting way generally, even with high levels of external stress or pressure.

On a professional psychological exam, I scored “very low” on neuroticism, which means that my tendency for negative emotions is very low.

It’s hard to overstate how huge of an improvement I had in this area – and it didn’t come easy. I’ve been optimizing this for a while.

There are always new challenges in life and as my mood improves, I am always pushing myself even more, which can create new challenges.

My goal:

To maintain my gains in the face of new challenges, and be in a good mood all of the time, no matter what is happening in life.

4. Cognitive Function

Brain fog used to be the norm for me, not the exception. I’ve had issues with attention, information processing, working memory, verbal fluency, and long-term memory.

It was always difficult to pay attention to someone speaking to me, in any format.

I always felt like I had to read things twice or three times to understand it, or repeat what someone said in my head to process it.

I would often lose my train of thought when speaking to people or just thinking by myself.

I would have difficulty remembering things as well.

My verbal fluency was also problematic as it was difficult for me to find words or speak in a fluid manner.

And then there were the times that I had brain fog and all I could do is lie down and do nothing.

The better your brain works, the more successful you will be in life and the healthier you will be.

Even one aspect of cognitive function – reaction time – is significantly correlated with all cause mortality [1].

The biggest correlation with health is income, and the biggest correlation with income is intellectual ability.

Success in general is a direct relationship with cognitive ability, and the more broadly intelligent you are, the higher the likelihood of success.

Think of very successful people – their brains work very well in the area that they are providing value.

My progress:

I’ve dramatically improved all of these areas, including attention, working memory, verbal fluency, information processing, and long-term memory.

This has helped me dramatically in being able to run SelfDecode, but I also learned a new language fluently within 2 years (Hebrew).

I think there is still room for improvement in the area of verbal fluency, as I continue to use filler words in my speech – in part because of bad habits from the past.

My goal:

To have my brain work in a peak performance state all of the time.

5. Energy

I’ve had issues with low energy in the past, including chronic fatigue. When you don’t have energy, you aren’t motivated to do anything except maybe go on social media, watch TV or read the news.

Taking initiative and kicking ass requires you to have a lot of energy.

Having energy is one of the critical keys to success in life. People who are very successful are highly energetic.

My progress:

I’ve made huge improvements here and I have quite a lot of energy, probably in the 99th percentile. However, I think there is room to improve here.

My goal:

Have high energy levels all of the time.

6. Immune system and Infection Prevention

I used to get sick a lot, get incapacitated while sick, and take a while to recover.

In addition, taking or doing things that suppressed my immune system would cause me to feel like I’m coming down sick, and often I would get sick.

This would include smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, not getting 7 hours of sleep, getting too much sun, lifting weights, cold therapy, saunas, etc…

I also had infectious-derived issues like bells palsy, and when my immune system got weak in the past, I noticed a flare on the side of the infection.

I also had warts and skin fungal infections, which are also signs of weakened immunity. My white blood cells were on the lower end (4,000).

My progress:

I’ve made very significant improvements, but there’s still room for improvement.

I get sick less frequently, am less severely sick when I do get an infection, and recover more quickly than in the past.

As an example, when I got covid, I didn’t miss any work from it, I didn’t get fever from it, and I fully recovered in a week, even though I have a genetic predisposition to more serious infection.

But I am still not satisfied with where I am. I think one reason this area has been slower to improve is because it’s harder to experiment with, since it’s hard to prove whether something is working or not. However, I believe some new addition into my regimen have dramatically improved my immune system and will give it time to verify these effects.

If I do X behavior to prevent getting sick and then I get sick, is that because I just got a bug, or is X not protecting me enough? Maybe X protected me from getting very sick?

How do I know how long it would take to recover with or without a treatment? It’s hard to know.

Over time, I get a better idea, but it does take a lot longer to figure out than other areas like cognitive function or mood.

I’ve been able to tolerate immune suppressants much more without feeling like I am coming down sick.

Bells palsy related issues haven’t come back in a few years and I don’t have warts or fungal infections.

My goal:

To not get sick ever, or if I do, it won’t affect my normal routine.

7. Motivation

I’ve had motivation issues in the past, where I felt the need to listen to motivational speakers to motivate me and it was hard for me to work just 40 hours a week.

My progress:

I am able to work 80 hours a week without a problem and am pretty motivated almost all day, without trying to be motivated. I haven’t watched motivational videos for years and see them as a waste of time.

Feeling the need to watch motivational videos means you aren’t motivated enough internally.

My goal:

Be motivated every waking hour of the day.

8. Cardiovascular Health

I have a family history of cardiovascular health problems, a genetic predisposition to cardiovascular issues (seen in my SelfDecode report), and various lab markers that show I am at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

These lab markers are:

  • LDL particle number (more accurate metric than LDL-C)
  • APOB
  • LP(a)

All 3 markers are proven to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, in a dose-dependent way more or less.

The lower you can get them the better, but they do have biological purposes, so 0 shouldn’t be the goal.

Given that cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer by far, and I am at risk, I am very serious about reducing my risk.

For this, I regularly track my biomarkers to make sure I am at low risk.

This is something that I am currently optimizing, and there may be a small tradeoff between reducing risk and optimizing current performance.

LDL cholesterol is important for cognitive function in younger people, and has some other benefits like fighting off certain infections. However, for me, it’s important to stave off cardiovascular disease.

My progress:

I have brought my LDL cholesterol from a peak of 216 to 120 in the past few months, which is the lowest I’ve ever had it, even on a vegan diet. My total cholesterol went under 200.

I have a genetic predisposition for higher LDL cholesterol. My ApoB and LP(a) are also not optimal.

I am in the process of bringing these markers down into the optimal range.

My goal:

  • Get LDL under 100
  • Get APOB under 80
  • Get LP(a) under 30

9. Gut/Digestive Health

Gut health is really important, as many other problems can arise from problems in the gut. I’ve had many gut problems in the past, including:

  • Discomfort
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Loose stool
  • Hemorrhoids

My progress:

I’ve made very significant progress and have fixed all of my gut problems.

However, this is something I need to watch out for. If I don’t eat the right foods, or if I eat too much fiber, I can get some flatulence and bloating – especially if I don’t take the right supplements.

However, constipation and hemorrhoids haven’t occurred in over 5 years.

My goal: Never have any flatulence or bloating.

10. Improve Sleep

Sleep is a fundamental part of health and if you get a bad night of sleep, it can affect your day negatively in various ways.

I’ve had many problems with my sleep in the past, including:

  • Not being able to go to sleep fast
  • Poor quality of sleep (deep or REM)
  • Waking up in the middle of the night
  • Waking up too early or not being able to get enough sleep
  • Waking up not feeling refreshed

My progress:

My biggest problem with sleep now is that sometimes I am forced to work late because I’m in Israel, I am traveling or I am up late for social reasons.

The time that I go to sleep has been very inconsistent since moving to Israel 2.5 years ago, and that does place a strain on my sleep.

Sleep timing regularity is an important factor in sleep quality, so it’s not something to overlook.

While I’ve been able to improve my sleep despite these limitations, I feel there is still room to improve here.

However, my sleep and HRV numbers are quite good:

  • Over 100 HRV on average
  • Around 3 hours of deep sleep a night on average
  • Around 1 hr 15 min REM sleep on average

My goal:

Sleep 7-8 hours a night, with great quality sleep, every night. More specifically, I want to improve REM sleep without reducing deep sleep.

11. Longevity

I don’t believe there’s any single test to measure this well, except seeing and feeling how old I am. How old someone looks is one of the best metrics of how long they will live.

Some biohackers look old and I’m thinking WTF man.

My goal:

Live to 120 without health problems. Based on current technologies, I would say 100, but I assume those will get better.

12. Libido

My libido became an issue when I started drinking more alcohol and went down in general as I got older.

But, now my libido is quite high.

My goal:

Have a high libido, but not that high.

13. Testosterone Optimization

Testosterone has a lot of benefits that I want, including building muscle and losing fat, better mood, cognitive function, libido, bone health, general health, etc…

My total testosterone has been around 500 before and free testosterone has been on the low side of 7.5.

It even went down to as low as 461, and I wasn’t checking it when I was drinking alcohol, so I would assume went lower than 400 during those times.

My progress:

I’ve recently put this at the top of my list since I felt like it was important to improve for overall health optimization.

Without taking any testosterone, my recent test came back with a record of total testosterone of 938 ng/dl and free testosterone of 47 pg/ml.

My free testosterone almost went up by 7X!!!

My goal:

Maintain testosterone at these levels.

14. Oral Health

In the past, I’ve had cavities and my gums would hurt and bleed.

My progress:

I haven’t had a cavity in the past 15 years and my gums don’t hurt or bleed ever. Overall, my teeth are in good shape.

My goal:

Maintain good oral health.

15. Skin and Hair Health

I’ve had skin problems in the past, including acne, warts, and skin fungus (pityriasis versicolor).

In addition, I started to go bald at the age of 13. I also had thinning hair and started to get white hair in my early 20s.

My progress:

I’ve been able to get rid of my skin issues and halt the male pattern baldness.

My hair is quite thick now and I’ve halted the white hair development. I have as many as I had in my early 20’s.

When I was younger I used to get burnt a lot from sun exposure, but now I get tanned instead of burnt.

My goal:

Keep my hair until 60, and delay substantial hair whitening as long as possible.

In addition, I want to delay wrinkles, age spots, and other kinds of skin damage for as long as possible, while still getting sun and not using sunscreen.

16. Creativity

Creativity is important in many things I am doing now, and I’d like to improve it. It’s unclear how much I can improve a trait like this, but we shall find out!

My progress:

I think I have become a bit more creative, but nothing groundbreaking. It’s an area I want to explore more.

My goal:

To become as creative as possible.

17. Extraversion

In my current position, I am interacting with people all day, every day, and it requires a fair bit of extroversion.

Whether it’s for business or dating, being more extroverted makes the day more fun.

I am not talking about forcing yourself to talk to people – I am talking about naturally wanting to do that.

People often invoke extroversion through drugs and alcohol, but I don’t want to do anything that has noticeable side effects, including alcohol, weed, MDMA, etc…

My progress:

I have become significantly more extroverted over the years. I was always pretty introverted, but in the past few years, I’ve become much more extroverted.

My goal:

To become more extroverted.

18. Cancer Prevention

I don’t have any past issues with cancer, a family history, or any strong genetic predisposition.

However, cancer is the number 2 killer in the world, and if something I do is strongly anticancer, then that is a plus.

My goal:

To never get cancer.

My Regimen… Coming Soon!

I am working on creating a Part 2 for this article where I will provide you with all the details on exactly what is included in my health regimen to meet the goals I’ve outlined above.

Stay tuned!

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

As a kid, Joe suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, mood and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers. Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO and founder of SelfDecode. His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.

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