New Year Wellness Resolutions: Don't reinvent the wheel.
Many people we work with claim they'd like more energy and a better balance in their life.
But are their actions and approaches consistent with these desires? Take for example how much time they devote to planning success in different areas of life. Do they give enough attention to what they say they want to achieve with their wellness?
Let's look first at how people achieve success in their professional roles. Broadly speaking, this is what individuals consider when faced with a project, task or challenge at work:
- What do we want to achieve?
- Why do we want to achieve this?
- How long will it take?
- Who needs to be involved?
- How much will it cost?
- What's the first action or initial sequence of actions?
- Are we convinced we have made all necessary preparations prior to getting started? Have we asked, and answered, all key questions we need to?
- When do we next review our progress? If you're working well you'll also consider what the likely outcomes will be at your next progress review and what your options will be at that point.
- Are we convinced that we will succeed?
Answers to the above are usually arrived at through a combination of solo planning, team meetings and collaboration. Once you're satisfied with all your answers you will proceed and you will succeed.
Dealing with personal wellness
Compare this with a typical thought process related to personal wellness and how we feel on a day-to-day basis:
In the middle of a busy day, there's a pause for thought. 'Gosh, suddenly I feel really tired. I should have gone to bed earlier last night. I shouldn't have had that extra glass of wine. I should drink less coffee. But I'd better have one now to perk me up.
I should try to get to the gym later this week as well. And I must have an early night tonight. Right, back to this email…' And immediately, all good intentions are gone, as quickly as they arrived and nothing changes.
It's not surprising that results in some areas of life can be so much more dramatic and long-lasting than in others. We're busy and we have to make choices about where we allocate our mental resources. But what if we did one simple thing and applied the systems that bring us success at work, and used them in other areas.
Consider this approach to improved health and wellness. The starting point is the same, 'Gosh, suddenly I feel really tired.' But ask yourself the questions above again:
- What do I want to achieve? Better energy levels and more consistent focus and performance throughout the day.
- Why do I want to achieve this? Without it I don't feel I get the best out of myself and things can take longer and feel more challenging than they need to.
- How long will it take? Well I know where I could make improvements so I can address this right away. This should lead to me feeling better later today.
- Who needs to be involved? I need to slightly alter my food and evening routine – I'll need to let my partner know about this.
- How much will it cost? Planning what I need to do might cost me a bit of time initially but I know that with more energy I'll become more efficient.
- What's the first action or initial sequence of actions? Sit down now to plan a slot in my diary where I can schedule exercise, think about my food routine, sort out my social calendar and work out a strategy for sticking to my plans. Get some water now and organise my afternoon break/snack.
- Am I convinced I have made all necessary preparations prior to getting started? Have I asked, and answered, all key questions I need to? Yes, for now. I've started a page on my notepad where I'm going to note any observations that I can review as we go and take the appropriate action when required.
- When do I next review my progress? If you're working well you'll also consider what the likely outcomes will be at your next progress review and what your options will be at that point. Today is Tuesday so I'll schedule a review point on Friday morning. If things are going well I can plan how to keep them on track. If there have been some issues I can schedule a longer spot over the weekend to figure out some new creative solutions.
- Am I convinced that I will succeed? I have no doubt.
This process may seem a bit drawn out, but it's pretty clear that with the deeper questioning, there's a much higher chance of success.
Remember too that the formality of a system like this soon becomes second nature and, just as you automatically implement success strategies at work, so you will begin to do so with your wellness success strategies.
So when it comes to feeling at your best, don't make things overly complicated and don't try to reinvent the wheel. Think about what systems work best for you in life and apply these approaches to exercise, healthy eating, good sleep and great life balance.
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