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The month formerly known as November has taken on a new name in recent years, “Movember”. For a few years, I thought it was just an excuse for men to stop shaving and let their whiskers get out of hand much to the chagrin of their wives and girlfriends.  For one month, men get to return to their natural cave man roots and throw out the conventional wisdom that you must be clean shaven and well-groomed to be a professional. Movember is much more than that.  Movember is a campaign to raise awareness for issues that affect men’s health.  Following are some startling statistics from the Movember Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization,

1. Prostate Cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the U.S.
2. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-34 in the U.S.
3. Around 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. will experience a mental health problem in a given year.
4. 53.8% of American men meet the federal guidelines for physical activity.

As a father of two young boys, these statistics weigh heavily on me.  As a father, I believe it is my responsibility to be available and do everything in my power to be around.  Unfortunately, up to this point, my lifestyle has not focused on physical fitness, eating right or overall wellness.  This year, I made a decision to be healthier and exercise more.  I did great for two months.  I actually did some form of exercise for 69 consecutive days.  I purchased a Nike Fuel Band and set my goal to 3000 points per day.  (Before starting the challenge, I tracked a normal day for me and found that I rarely made it to half that mark as much of my time is sitting in front of a computer or at a conference table.)  So, for 69 days in a row, I reached my goal.  Then, life happened: I got sick, I got busy, we moved, we had another baby, I took a certification exam.  I let life get in the way.  Earlier in the year, I dropped 15 pounds the right way: healthy eating and exercise.  Unfortunately, I later gained 25 pounds back.

At the time of writing this, I have declared that enough is enough.  I have picked up an accountability partner through my Advocare coach and taken the 24-day challenge to kick-start my wellness journey.  I have plans to join a gym and have been exercising at home.  I have been wearing my fuel band for the last two weeks and am working towards my goal.

It is important for me to know my boys when they are old.  It is important for me to know my wife into old age.  As an estate planning attorney, I discuss death daily.  I also see the anguish in families that lose someone too soon.  For my family, I am making a decision to not just rock the beard, but to also knock out the things that take too many men down.

Will you join me this Movember?