Most people I talk to really do want to improve themselves – their health and sense of wellbeing. Often it’s not just physical health, but other areas of life, too, such as emotional and spiritual health. Some aren’t sure where or how to start. Many have made changes successfully for a time, only to find themselves backsliding after a while. Many people make New Year’s resolutions focused around a goal such as losing weight, beginning an exercise program or giving up sugar. And while these types of resolutions may work for some people, statistics show less than 10 percent of these types of resolutions are lasting.
Listen, when it comes to wellness, it’s really not enough to set a single goal, no matter how much you want to achieve it. The best and most long-lasting results come from a wellness plan that takes into account interrelated factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, mood and stress management. Even better results come from a plan that is personalized to you – your lifestyle, values, circumstances, stage of life, and so on.
Until recently, especially in the West, everything from medicine to exercise to diet was approached from a “one size fits all” perspective. One “prescription” per problem, no matter your gender, age, ethnicity or environment. But now, thanks partly to research on human genetics, we are realizing that a much more personally tailored approach to everything from weight loss to becoming a happier person is exponentially more effective when that approach is individualized.
Not only should you take into consideration things like your gender, age, ethnicity and past medical history, but also your preferences and your personality. This fine tuning of your wellness plan will enable you to build a program that is so ‘you’ that you will find it easy to stick to, and to see the results you want.
So exactly what is a wellness plan?
You’ll want to think of your wellness plan as a living, breathing document, carefully designed to help you reach your wellness goals, rather than a static, boring set of rules to follow. As you get healthier and your circumstances change, you’ll want to be able to easily modify your plan to keep up with your needs. I’ll talk more about the actual components of your wellness plan in part two of this article, but for right now, I’d like you to do one powerful thing in preparation for designing your plan. That one thing is to determine your why.
I have seen this repeatedly with my clients: Those who have a well-defined and powerful ‘why’ behind their wellness plans do so much better than those who don’t. They are able to stick to their plans without huge amounts of effort, their progress is faster and they make larger gains than those with a non-existent or weak ‘why’.
Here’s what to do. Take a writing pad and pen and go to a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. You can use your computer or tablet but trust me on this when I say your results will likely be better if you write longhand. Research shows that writing, rather than typing, activates different parts of your brain, in particular the RAS or reticular activating system. The RAS acts as a sort of filter and enables you to really focus in on what you are doing at the moment.
The first thing to do is ask yourself this simple question: “Why do I want to get in peak condition/lose weight/manage stress effectively?” Then write down your answer. But don’t stop there. Take some time to mull over this first answer and then go deeper. For example, maybe you wrote down, “I want to feel better.” But why exactly do you want to feel better? On deeper reflection, maybe it’s because you want to be able to enjoy going hiking with your husband. OK, so now do the same thing and drill deeper. Why do you want to be able to go hiking with your husband? So now the reason becomes even more compelling as you uncover your keen desire to renew your relationship with your husband on a deep level. That is the power of your why!
The Bottom Line: The healthier you are, the better you live! My goal is to help you get into peak condition to thrive in every area of your life
Here’s a quote I like from Robin Sharma: “You can’t be great if you don’t feel great. Make exceptional health your #1 priority.”
Coaching Challenge: Work on your ‘why’ and next time, I’ll go into detail about developing your own personalized plan.
I love to hear from you so please share any thoughts or comment below.