A Practical Guide to Longevity and Mental Performance

Planning for the New Year

The end of the year is always a time to look back and reflect on our achievements, lessons learned and personal growth. For those of us focused on optimizing longevity and mental performance, this is a crucial time to evaluate our habits and chart a course for the future. To help you on this journey, I’ve compiled a practical guide to planning and achieving your wellness goals.

Reflection and Evaluation: The Starting Point

Start by reflecting on your habits over the last year. Ask yourself: “What practices have worked? What could be improved?” Use self-assessment tools to understand your current state, such as questionnaires focused on well-being and cognition. Here ‘s a version to get you started.

Defining Objectives

Set goals for your cognitive development and longevity. You can use the SMART or HARD* techniques. For example, instead of “I want to improve my memory”, adopt “I’m going to engage in memory exercises for 15 minutes, five times a week, for three months.”

  • I’ve written more about SMART and HARD goals here in this article and you’ll also find a template for structuring your next year’s objectives.

1. Cognitive Improvement

Commit to learning a new skill or language, doing regular memory exercises or using brain training apps to keep your mind sharp – platforms like Lumosity or Peak offer games of this kind. Set progressive goals that lead to significant progress over time.

2. Nutrition for the Brain

Setting nutrition goals involves not only choosing the right foods, but also understanding the synergy between intestinal health, brain function and general well-being. By focusing on nutrient-rich foods that support the microbiome (the set of microorganisms that live in our gut) and provide essential vitamins and minerals, you can create eating habits that not only guarantee the bare minimum for life, but that optimize cognition and longevity. Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet rich in brain-boosting nutrients – omega-3, antioxidants, vitamins E and B complex, magnesium and zinc. Don’t forget to hydrate yourself by drinking enough water and ensuring you get enough vitamin D, which can be obtained through sun exposure or supplements. Consider planning your weekly meals so you don’t get caught by surprise, eat badly and save time choosing. If your day is busy, consider leaving pre-prepared dishes to ensure at least one good meal in your day.

3. Physical Exercise for Mental Performance

Regular physical activity is essential for brain health, as it stimulates blood supply to the brain and the production of molecules responsible for neuron growth. Set fitness goals that are in line with your level of fitness and have been proven to benefit cognitive function: such as yoga, strength training or aerobic exercise. Focus on maintaining regularity, prioritizing consistency over intensity to build a sustainable habit. The key is to find activities that you enjoy and can maintain over the long term, as the benefits for your brain and body accumulate over time.

4. Mindfulness and Meditation: Cognition Catalysts

Introduce meditation practices into your daily routine, the fact that it trains concentration and reduces the amount of thoughts in the mind has a great impact on cognitive function, as well as inducing a greater amount of insight and creativity. Start practicing mindfulness (mindfulness in the present) on a regular basis, engaging in mindfulness one activity at a time: breathing, eating or simply during activities such as walking or washing the dishes. Take a few minutes to practice some of the concentration exercises I’ve suggested in this article.

5. Sleep Quality: The foundation of recovery

Sleep is fundamental to both cognitive performance and longevity. High-quality sleep is linked to improved memory, creativity and problem-solving skills, as well as a lower risk of chronic diseases associated with ageing. To achieve restorative sleep, consider establishing and maintaining a consistent sleep-wake routine, even on weekends; creating a sleep-friendly environment that is dark, quiet and cool; reducing exposure to screens at least an hour before bedtime; and exposing yourself to natural light in the morning to help regulate your circadian cycle.

6. Relaxation and Stress Management: Keys to Sustainable Performance

Implement daily relaxation techniques to manage stress, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or guided mentalization. Dedicate time to leisure activities and hobbies. These practices can be key to maintaining high performance, as they manage alertness and prevent loss of vitality and emotional and mental exhaustion.

7. Relationships: Cultivating Connections

The interaction between social connections, emotional well-being and cognitive longevity is profound. In your daily relationships, practice active listening, empathy and self-regulation techniques; engage in emotional intelligence training programs or workshops; improve communication skills to strengthen relationships; join groups or clubs that are aligned with your interests to foster new social connections. The power of human connection cannot be underestimated, it is an important element that allows us to keep our minds active and cushion the stresses of life.

8. Lifelong Learning

The pursuit of lifelong learning is a fundamental part of cognitive vitality and mental agility. By nurturing a sense of curiosity and an appetite for knowledge, we can continue to grow intellectually and stay mentally sharp. Identify specific areas of interest or skills you want to develop, share your knowledge and experience by teaching or mentoring others. Immerse yourself in new cultures, whether by traveling or exploring cultural events in your community.

9. Detoxification and Supplementation: The details

In the quest for mental performance and longevity, the role of detoxification and supplementation is to enrich by detail. They can support the body’s natural processes and provide nutrients that may be lacking in the diet. Reduce exposure to environmental toxins and ensure regular medical check-ups to monitor your body’s detoxification systems and general health. It is important to have a personalized approach that takes into account the unique needs and state of health of each individual.

Tracking Progress and the Importance of Commitment

Setting goals is the first step to improving longevity and mental performance, but tracking progress and making commitments are what make these goals a reality.

  • Define clear and quantifiable progress indicators for each goal.
  • Divide bigger goals into smaller milestones.
  • Choose someone who is empathetic but willing to challenge you, such as a mentor, colleague or professional coach.
  • Engage with groups that share similar goals.
  • Be prepared to adjust your goals based on feedback and the progress you are making.
  • Recognize and celebrate progress, no matter how small. Recognizing achievements reinforces positive behavior and motivates continuous effort.
  • Commitment turns intention into action. By having someone – or a system – to answer to, you are more likely to stay the course and overcome the inevitable obstacles. As a result, monitoring becomes less of a chore and more of an integral part of your journey towards a life of improved mental performance and longevity.

Time Management and Effective Scheduling

Time management isn’t just about balancing tasks, it’s about strategically aligning daily activities with long-term goals. Here are tips for scheduling activities effectively and managing time to ensure that goals are not only prioritized, but also achieved, minimizing stress:

  • Start with High Impact Goals: Identify the goals that will have the greatest impact. Make time for these high-priority activities first.
  • Use Time Blocks: Divide your day into blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks or activities. This helps you focus on one thing at a time.
  • Set Realistic Deadlines: When setting deadlines, consider what is realistically achievable without causing undue stress. Overly ambitious deadlines can lead to disappointment and burnout.
  • Establish Routines: Create daily and weekly routines to build habits that support your goals. Consistent routines reduce the need for decision-making, saving mental energy.
  • Minimize Distractions: Identify what usually distracts you and take steps to minimize those interruptions. This may involve giving up things that induce you into an old habit or creating the right environment to propel you into a new habit.
  • Be Flexible: While it’s important to have an agenda, be prepared to adapt as necessary. Flexibility can help manage unexpected events without derailing progress towards goals.
  • Say No When Necessary: Protect your time by saying no to requests or commitments that are not in line with your objectives or that could overextend your schedule.
  • Connect Activities to Objectives: With each activity scheduled, understand how it contributes to your overall objectives. This connection can provide motivation and a sense of purpose. For example: by eating mindfully, you train your attention and concentration and improve digestibility. By paying attention to your food, you eat only what is necessary and can choose more wisely what is good for you. All this helps to improve mental performance.


Improving your longevity and performance isn’t just about big leaps; it’s about the small steps you take every day. Old habits are hard to break, but that’s where being resilient comes in handy. It’s about staying focused on the goal, even when things get tough.

Here’s a plan of action: do the self-assessment I mentioned, identify your weak points and start with the most difficult. Once you start making progress, take another look and choose the next challenge on your list. Or, if you prefer, make small refinements to all the points we’ve mentioned – small victories also add up.

I’m going to write a lot more about all these topics. If you’re interested in ideas about living better and boosting your mind and body, check it out and subscribe to the newsletter.

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work? See you in the next article.

To find out more:

“Spark: The Revolutionary Science of Exercise and the Brain”John J. Ratey

  • It explores how physical exercise can optimize brain function, improve mood and learning and combat neurological diseases.

“The Sleep Revolution: Transform Your Life, One Night at a Time” – Arianna Huffington

  • It discusses the importance of sleep in health, well-being and success, offering insights and strategies for improving sleep quality.

“Increase the Power of Your Brain – John Medina

  • It presents twelve fundamental rules about how the brain works and how we can use this knowledge to improve our daily lives and our effectiveness in various activities.

“The Mind Diet: Discover your brain’s silent killers” – Dr. David Perlmutter

  • Dr. David Perlmutter explores the connection between gut health and brain health, arguing that the gut microbiome has a significant impact on the brain and the prevention of neurological diseases.

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