Welcome to your new wellness plan! For some, getting started is hard because they feel that their current state of wellness isn’t even on the charts. Others are ready to go but just need some direction. In this article, you’ll find encouragement and information to help get your wellness program set up and moving.
Wellness is defined differently by each of us. We all are starting from diverse places and have varying objectives. The wellness goals for a twenty-something marathon runner might be wildly different from those of a newly retired executive. Each of us is unique and wonderful. Don’t imagine you need to be anyone other than who you are as you begin your wellness journey.
Letting Go of the Past
Before we begin assessing goals, let’s first learn something about perspective. You are not your history. Let’s say that part of your wellness plan might be to lose some weight. But you have set out to lose weight before and did not accomplish the goal. You could feel like you failed at losing weight and that experience is still with you. If that is the case, let’s explore the reality about trying and not succeeding.
You may not have reached your change goals in the past but that’s not failure. You learned that certain methods of change didn’t suit you. As you begin this wellness project, there’s one very important fact to remember and embrace. If you have tackled change before and didn’t accomplish your goals, you are NORMAL. You are not weak, a failure, hopeless or any other negative label you might have adopted. You tried. It didn’t happen. You’re trying again.
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Take a deep breath and savor these words. When you do not achieve a goal, you have not failed. You have learned one approach that didn’t work for you as you had hoped.
When you learned to ride a bike- first there was a trike, then training wheels. Next, some loving adult ran beside you and your bike, steadying you until you got the feel of it yourself. Don’t think for one moment that mastering change is so easy that you might not need a bit of help. Not achieving the result you expected isn’t some sort of label you have to carry forever. Remember the old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”
Here’s a short list of people you may have heard of. All of these accomplished professionals failed repeatedly in their lives.
- Walt Disney was fired from a Kansas City newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
- Dr. Seuss had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.
- As a child, Albert Einstein had some difficulty communicating and learning in a traditional manner.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times.
- Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.”
- In one of Fred Astaire’s first screen tests, an executive wrote: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”
Are you picking up on a theme here? It’s time to let go of the idea that you can’t– change, make a new habit, adopt a healthier lifestyle or whatever. It’s time to try again with an open mind and a clear vision.
Setting your Goal
In our Get a Grip on Wellness, there’s a list of questions to study to help you determine where to begin. So, it’s time again to crack open that journal and start writing some more. Even if you don’t think of yourself as the journaling-type, writing out your wellness game plan is essential to clarity and staying on track.
Where do you see the greatest need for change to improve your wellness? Consider changes in physical wellness, emotional wellness, career, environment or social wellness. Change may be needed in all those regards and in some other areas. The writing process allows you to make notes on all these thoughts as they arise. In time you can sort your ideas out and prioritize what you want to tackle first. As we discussed in the previous article, success in making lasting changes in your wellness comes through starting with small, manageable steps and allowing yourself to get used to one variation before piling on more.
Becoming the Observer
As we begin to assess our lifestyle, it’s important to learn to take the position of an observer. For example, let’s consider that your career is a problem to your wellness. As you begin to write about needed changes, you might get swept away in excuses. “Well, I had to take this job because I have no college.” Or, “I felt forced into this career by my parents.” Or, “When the baby arrived, I felt I had no choice but to take this job because it pays more.”
When working on setting new wellness goals, look at yourself and your life like a reporter might. Just consider the facts and release your emotional attachments to them. You are less concerned at this point with how you got where you are. The focus now is determining where to go from here. There’s no blame, simply assess where you feel improvements are needed. Keep your focus in the present moment and soon you’ll be visualizing increased wellness in your future.
Goal Writing Ideas
Perhaps these questions will help you get started in writing goals. It’s not necessary to answer each question. They might just get you thinking about things that are important in the process of improving wellness.
I believe my most effective first step towards improved wellness is _______
Why this change is important to me?
How long has this challenge been with me?
How did this situation develop? No blaming here, we’re just observing. If you would like to improve your eating habits but come from a long line of bakers, that’s just a fact of life and will affect how you plan your changes.
Who first suggested this change?
When I accomplish this change goal, how will I benefit?
Are there also benefits for others who are important to me?
Will others perceive me differently if I make this wellness improvement?
Will the change affect how I perceive myself?
Understanding more about your planned change will help you make an effective plan of action.
Your journal might now contain lots of ideas/dreams about your future of improved wellness. You have looked at all the ideas and decided which change to tackle first. You have just explored some feelings about the change you’re planning to make.
Now, on a new page of that journal, write your goal. Take some time and make notes on steps you need to take to achieve that goal. Manageable steps help us make lasting wellness changes in our lifestyle successfully. This is your journal, so be honest with yourself about what you believe you can truly accomplish. There is no one who is going to say, “Is that all you’re going to do?!” You know yourself best. Make a plan you really think will work for you.
Big changes are no better than small changes. Yes, small changes are wonderful. Rather than fraught with bravado and stress like huge changes, small changes are a lot more cuddly. They snuggle up on your shoulder and whisper in your ear, “I know we can do this.” Small changes are more easy to visualize. Smaller changes are more subtle and comfortable. Small changes are your friend.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” ~ Chinese Proverb
“Big things have small beginnings.” ~ Prometheus
You’ll notice that these authors of wise statements aren’t contemporary. The ideas that we must be larger than life or conquer the world in a day are more contemporary ones. In the world of personal change, consider the wisdom of the ages. Look at the changes you want to make and try breaking them down into baby steps, manageable bites, realistic places to begin.
Just as a couch potato doesn’t start training for a marathon by running 26 miles, that couch dweller first needs to commit to standing up, putting on some shoes and taking a brisk walk every day. In time, that person will find that walking becomes easier and easier to do. Walking evolves into something normal, natural and even enjoyable. In time, this newly active person can make a plan to walk further or more often. Later comes running– increasing length of time and speed gradually so the body and mind get used to the practice.
Often there’s a logical progression in steps that you can take to achieve your wellness goals. Each of us is different. You know yourself better than anyone else. Consider things that could be stumbling blocks for you. Like, you need to get more exercise but have no work-out clothes that aren’t totally embarrassing to wear. Then getting comfortable work-out gear is one of those steps that goes right at the top of your list.
Set the date and begin. No… new wellness programs do not have to begin on January 1 or next summer. You might not want to begin your new wellness program in the middle of a really stressful time for you. On the other hand, maybe these changes will help you handle stress. Choose a time, perhaps in the next few weeks. Get the gear or other supplies that you need. Mark your calendar to remind yourself (repeatedly?) Share your goals with friends who will be supportive of your new wellness plans.
Ready, set, go! You can do this. You can become a better version of yourself in no time. Many find that aromatherapy can help them in their pursuit of wellness. MONQ’s Healthy blend personal diffuser is one MONQ product that can help you feel calmer and more ready to tackle your wellness plans every day!
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