Have you ever lost weight only to see it eventually return? Or maybe you took up meditation, but found it hard to fit it into your day. Did you sign up for that trendy, high-powered exercise program? You met inspiring people, saw some quick results, and it was fun . . . for a while. Then you got busy or hurt and stopped going. Why isn’t it easier to make healthy lifestyle habits stick?
We’ve all been there, so don’t get down on yourself. Instead, pause to consider whether you’ve declared a higher purpose for your health and wellness goals. When you have a compelling intention and personalized statement of who you are at optimal wellness, you are more likely to make the moment to moment choices that add up to a healthy lifestyle.
Sit down with pen and paper, and use these 5 steps to crystallize your vision of what it means to be at peak health and well-being:
1. Describe yourself at your best health and well-being. Are you vital and energetic? Confident, with a healthy self- image? Peaceful and able to manage your busy schedule with ease? An athlete? An energetic grandma? You will know the words when you hit on them. Declaring a wellness vision from your heart will give you an instant jolt of energy.
2. Explore what is motivating you. How does this vision support what you value most in life? What good will come from adopting these new health behaviors? Do you want to set a good example for your kids or have the energy to start a new business? Are you interested in making lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure?
3. Revisit a similar challenge you’ve faced and list the strengths you used to help you succeed. If you draw a blank, write down what your friends would say are your strengths.
4. Briefly describe a few key strategies you will use to enhance success; for example, ask a friend to start a walking routine with you, pack a lunch before bed so you don’t need to make it while trying to get out the door to work, set daily job priorities so you can leave in time for your yoga class.
5. Finally, write down one action you will take this week that puts you on the path to realizing your vision of optimal health and well-being. Be specific about what you will do and when. Then tell at least two people about it so they can support you.
Clarity about the what, why, and how of your wellness vision will ground you and help you pause and reflect when making choices that impact your health. You’ll also start to notice your triggers for unhealthy choices, putting you in a better position to manage them. Maybe most important, the lifestyle changes you make will start to seem more fun and less like a chore!
This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not substitute for medical advice. Consult with your personal health care provider before beginning an exercise or nutrition program.