In my last article, I explained why you should consider developing your own personalized wellness plan.  I also emphasized the importance of approaching your wellness plan as a living, breathing document, one that is carefully designed to help you reach your wellness goals, rather than an inflexible set of rules you must follow. As you get healthier, you’ll want to be able to easily modify your plan to keep meeting your needs. As always, please consult your qualified medical practitioner before making changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition or you are on

Developing a wellness plan might seem like a daunting task, but I’ve found that breaking it down into six manageable steps makes the process more enjoyable.

Step One – Focus

Take some time to think about and focus in on the areas of your life in which you want to make changes. Make sure you include some aspect of your physical being, but you don’t have to confine yourself to only the physical. Maybe you want to get to a healthier weight or improve your cardiovascular conditioning or get stronger. Perhaps you really want to get a handle on your response to stress or improve your attitude and mindset. Everything counts so don’t limit yourself at this stage.

Step Two – List

Make a list of the deeper reasons you want to change, if you haven’t already. Last time, I gave you a simple exercise to do that will really help you to get at your deeper motivation. If you haven’t done that exercise, please go here [link to previous article] and read the instructions on how to complete it. Don’t skip this step. Having a list of your deeper reasons for wanting to make changes can be very motivating when you become discouraged or aren’t happy with your progress.

Step Three – Choose

Now that you have examined the areas you want to change and uncovered your deeper motivations, choose three areas for your wellness plan. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by trying to make too many changes at once, as this is a certain formula for failure. When you are satisfied with your choices, decide on exactly what changes you will make in these areas.

You will have more success if you are very specific when you decide what changes you are going to make. For example, “decrease my stress” is too broad. A more specific change would be “meditating for fifteen minutes each morning,” or “walking for thirty minutes 4 days a week,” both of which are good examples of specific changes you can make.

Step Four – Distribute

For some people, spreading those changes out over time helps them to keep from becoming overwhelmed and quitting their plan. Maybe in week one of decreasing your stress level, you meditate for fifteen minutes each morning, then in week two, in addition to meditating, you add walking for thirty minutes in the afternoon. In week three, besides meditating and walking, you add another goal – say, having one cup of coffee in the morning and herbal tea for the rest of the day.

Step Five – Reward

Plan a series of small rewards you can give yourself along the way. Rewarding yourself when you achieve milestones helps to keep you motivated and makes the process fun. Don’t forget to plan a big reward when you’ve reached your goal! Some examples of small rewards are buying yourself a book you’ve wanted to read, taking yourself to a movie or a museum or anything else that brings you joy.

Step Six – Watch

Keep up with how you are doing. You may want to track your progress in a calendar. Some people prefer to journal about their experience and others like to keep a list, checking off milestones as they go. Choose something that works for you.

I love to hear from you so please share any thoughts or comment below.