By Dr. Judith Tutin
These are my top wellness steps borrowed from what the books say and what I’ve learned from my clients. If you want to improve your wellness, you may have to eat differently, change your exercise program, or develop a new sleep plan. You have to be focused. There may be other behaviors you have to look at, like how much time you work, relax and spend with friends. You can use these steps with any goal you’re working on.
1. Keep a journal of the behaviors you’re working on. For example, note what you eat and what type of exercise you’re doing. Writing things down help shine a light on the good, the bad and the ugly, and keeps you focused on same.
2. Set clear goals for target behaviors. Ask “what,” “when,” and “how much,” for your goals. Keep them SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, time-limited). This makes it easier to track your progress.
3. Review your goals every 90 days or so. Once you get going with a program, what’s working and what’s not become clearer. Revise your goals as needed. Nothing is written in stone. You’re looking for strategies that move you forward.
4. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t want to diet so you lose weight quickly. Everyone knows that you’ll put it back on because it’s not sustainable. Sensible, healthy strategies will result in slower progress, but you’ll be able to go the distance.
5. Enjoy the journey, e.g., find foods you like to eat and activities you enjoy. Select things that feel authentically yours. Change it up if you do better with variety. Again, you’re looking for things that are sustainable, not an activity you dislike and will not continue for the long haul. Make it fun.
6. Routine, routine, routine. Routines reduce opportunities for mistakes. If you know what you’re eating and when you’re meditating, there are fewer bad choices. You can view routines as boring, or you can see them as good practice. The latter is more useful if not always exciting.
7. Celebrate success. Note it in your journal, share it with friends and do something for yourself when you meet goals. Even small successes deserve rewards. Bigger successes warrant larger rewards.
It’s not that difficult if you keep it simple and use the steps. Wellness is an ongoing process in which you want to be fully engaged. You are always working on your wellness plan, tweaking it and changing it up to push yourself to the next level. And the next. And the next.
Dr. Judith Tutin is a YourTango Expert, psychologist and certified life coach who offers life coaching and psychotherapy services to address divorce recovery, relationship stress, parenting challenges, work-life balance issues, health and wellness concerns, and living a happy and fulfilled life.
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