If you're thinking about getting started, we have three words for you: Just do it! The journey to health and wellness is one that you will never regret starting. In addition to all the long-term health benefits, you'll also experience more immediate benefits such as better sleep, increased energy levels, improved self-confidence and more.
And you can start simply. No need to completely change everything you're eating and sign up for 10 exercise classes a week. By making small daily decisions (skip the drive thru, take a walk at lunch, add more greens to your plate, stretch before bed), you can redefine your future. Start with these 10 steps and get ready to experience a happier, healthier you.
1. Write out your goals and desires. What’s your wellness vision? Where do you envision yourself three to five years from now? Set three-month and weekly goals based on your wellness vision. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-oriented.
2. Ask what, when and how. Make a list of the hurdles that keep getting in your way of living a life of wellness. Then determine which ones are true obstacles (things that you need to work around or find solutions to) and which are excuses or fears.
3. Have a plan. Rarely, if ever, is any major task or project accomplished without a plan in place. Lay out a plan for accomplishing your goals, as well as solutions for overcoming the hurdles. This is your game plan. It should be flexible, but have fortitude; fun, but not “fluff.” And make it active by including specific steps you will take to reach your goals.
4. Start a journal. Your goals, desires, barriers, obstacles, excuses, solutions and plan should all be a part of your journal. Make your journal yours. Set it up so it’s easy to use so you have no excuse not to follow through with your plan. Include space to just let your thoughts flow. Use it to let out your feelings, vent, rejoice, or celebrate--you’ll be amazed at how freeing it is!
5. Begin your journey where you’re standing now. Where are you right now, this moment, on your journey? Accept where you are and where you need to be, and then begin the steps necessary to bridge that gap. If, however, you find that old issues keep popping up, preventing you from reaching your goals, you may need to seek help from a support system or counseling. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to first go backward.
6. Take one step at a time. What happens when a builder forgets an important step in building a house, or a chef leaves out an important ingredient in a recipe? Doesn’t work so well, does it? It’s the same thing with your life. You must take certain steps in order to reach a place of well-being and make it fit your lifestyle.
7. Learn from your setbacks. Making mistakes and experiencing failure is all a part of being human and living. Rather than getting down on yourself, take that setback and turn it into something positive. Sometimes life is indeed two steps forward, one step back!
8. Spend some time "cleaning house." This is intended to be both literal and figurative. When our homes are a cluttered mess, it’s impossible to function well. Ditto for our schedules. Create a list of your activities and decide which ones aren’t contributing to your overall purpose in life. "De-fluff" that schedule and concentrate on those activities that bring meaning to your life and, ultimately, to others!
9. Stop comparing yourself to others. We're bombarded by images of "perfect" bodies every day. It's easy to get caught up in all of it and feel as though we’ll never measure up. The tough reality is that, chances are, we won’t. Let’s get real! These images are results of computer imagery, great lighting, professional make-up artists, strict diets, plastic surgery or really good genes. Stop comparing yourself to a fantasy and just be the best you that you can be.
10. Reward yourself. It’s okay to feel good about yourself! And it’s okay--and beneficial--to reward yourself for your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. A meal at your favorite restaurant, a date at the movies, a new outfit, a bubble bath--whatever you wouldn’t normally take the time to do, as long as it contributes to your well-being, is a great reward!