Health and wellness is a journey…not a sprint. It’s amazing how people focus on one quick way to get to health. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t quite work that way. Whether it’s a magic prescription or supplement pill or a lifestyle change, health and wellness is an ongoing journey.
Why isn’t changing that one thing going to be the answer to all your health concerns?
- Our bodies are complex and require balance of many systems to regulate a healthy metabolism
- Our bodies change as we age and often take rebalancing diet and lifestyle
- Balance of the body systems takes fine tuning both diet and lifestyle including things such as not only diet, but rest, exercise, stress management, and supplementation.
- Especially when you are sick with symptoms or disease, it can often take time to heal and rebalance the body.
What does it take to remember that health and wellness is a journey?
- Commitment to changing health behaviors-As life happens, your body changes, and so must you to keep it working like it’s supposed to. This means often looking at your health behaviors whether it’s how and what you eat, how you exercise, your sleep habits, or how you manage stress.
- Developing health goals aligned with your values and life vision-Just because it’s the latest fad diet or exercise, doesn’t mean that you should take on a goal if it is not consistent with your values and what is important to you, or your life vision.
- Recognizing that health and wellness is more than just diet and exercise-Health and wellness goals are more than changing diet or exercise. For example, healthy relationships are key to well-being. Getting out in the sunshine is also important.
- Set SMART goals– A goal should be SMART, or S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Actionable, R-Realistic, T=Timely or Time-bound. When you develop a goal following this process, it makes it more real and likely that you will hold yourself accountable to achieving it.
- Realistic expectations-This cannot be understated. Don’t expect a short sprint to get you where you want to be and keep you there. Expect that change is a part of life and that you may need to reset your expectations about a change permanently fixing your health and wellness. Start where it makes sense to you and where you are most engaged with making a healthy change. Also, making small changes in health behaviors is usually more effective than trying to change many things at once.
- Resilience to adapt-Adapting when things are not working is important. It may be time to try another tactic, like changing an exercise routine. Or sometimes, it’s just not the right goal for you.
- Mindfulness-Be mindful of what you are doing throughout your day. When we are not mindful, we could just be going through the motions. A good example of this is eating while watching tv. of your steps and tactics to get to a goal. Be mindful of your daily activities and “in the moment” while doing them. In this way, you are more likely to accomplish them and more likely to enjoy what you are doing.
- Self-forgiveness-You cannot achieve perfect health. When you don’t meet your health goal, step back, try again, or figure out if your goal is set too high or the tactic you chose to get there is just not the right one for you. Be ok with failure but keep moving forward.
- Embrace gratitude-It’s often hard to embrace gratitude when you are sick or you are working on improving your health and things are just not going the way you want them to. Our minds often go to the negative thinking of “I can’t do this” or I’m not strong enough” or I’m always going to be…”. Step back and consider what you are grateful for. Whether you made a small step or something else happened in your life that went well, embrace it, recognize it.
Remember, health and wellness is a journey, not a sprint. Embracing your health and wellness as a journey, not a sprint will help you be successful as life changes. Sharing these tips can be helpful, although some people may benefit from a health coach to guide them along the way. Here’s hoping you find peace in wellness as you use these key pieces to move your health journey forward!