By: Mackenzie Winebold
We’re all too familiar of the feeling of slacking on our New Year’s resolution and goals. We tell ourselves we are going to exercise more, quit our unhealthy habits or try something new. We commit to it for about a month but then, many of us tend to fall back into our same, unhealthy routines a month later. We justify our actions by saying, “This one time won’t hurt,” or “I’ll start next back up again week.” These are our famous last words. Don’t let them be! We make these types of decisions due to a lack of understanding of what it really means to achieve wellness goals. Take ownership of your goals and health this year. Don’t doubt your ability to achieve wellness, it is important! Here are 12 ways in which you can stick to, and carry out your wellness goals in 2018.
Twelve Steps to Wellness
1. Understand exactly what wellness means for you, and create goals to achieve it.
The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as, “ a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” Wellness is a dynamic process of change and growth that you should not confuse with being free from illness. It takes time and practice to truly understand wellness. Once you take this first step in fully understanding it and what it means to you, you can start generating real-life goals and commitments on how you will achieve it.
2. Stick to your mission/vision
Take a moment to write down what your mission statement is. This mission statement will be what you reference back to when making personal or professional decisions. You should constantly be asking yourself if the decision you are about to make aligns with your mission statement, if not, it’s probably best you steer clear of those temptations. This includes eating junk food, not exercising, or not making time to meditate. To help give your mission statement more purpose, try creating a vision board by collecting imagines of what inspires you to follow your mission statement. These two aspects combined will give your a very clear path to follow along.
3. Tell yourself that self-care and wellness are your priorities
There are no excuses for this one. Plain and simple. You are your best caregiver and you should keep reminding yourself that self-care is a major priority. Making it a priority, will give you the steps needed to build a powerful and healthy foundation to make your new lifestyle a good one. Tell yourself on the daily how important self-care is to you. Another way to maintain this new habit is using post-it notes. Write positive messages on them; ones that will keep you on track. Place the notes in random locations throughout your home, car or workspace as little daily reminders. Seeing is believing, and believing is achieving!
4. Create a calendar
Scrap the lousy to-do’s, and make yourself an organized calendar to keep track of your journey. One of the traits of highly successful individuals is the ability to follow a calendar. A to-do list only creates a feeling of being unproductive when you don’t get to cross something off. Calendars give you the ability to schedule each small step of your day. Whether it is taking a walk, going to the grocery store, meditating or reading a passage in a new book. Make all the events on your calendar a priority as well. When you are able to look back and see all you have accomplished for the day, it sends a fulfilling message to yourself that you are making progress.
5. Learn how and when to say “no”
This can be tricky, because with saying no there may be a feeling of disapproval or guilt that follows. Learning to say no, is learning to establish healthy limits and boundaries for yourself that will save you from over-commitment. Be true to yourself and hold your ground in these new situations until you get comfortable with the process.
6. Live in the present, and be patient
Jon Kabat-Zinn said in his national bestselling book, Wherever You Go There You Are, that we should all try what is called our “being mode.” He says to think of ourselves in this mode as ‘eternal, timeless witnesses’ and to just feel life happening around us. He encourages the reader to just watch the moment happen and to not try and change it. He continues to say this mode is the first step in learning how meditation and mindfulness best works for us. The funny thing about our “being mode” is that as soon as you do it, here you are. You are present, you are aware and you are still making progress one small moment at a time.
7. Plan self-care/wellness activities
Use your new calendar you crafted to introduce self-care and wellness activities into your routine. The activities you introduce should be things that bring you joy. Let joy be your ongoing reward. Some suggestions are: signing up for a yoga class – SunWater Spa in Manitou Springs offers an array of yoga classes for the novice to experienced yogi. Register online through their website. SunWater also features cedar tubs filled with natural, healing mineral water from the historical Seven-Minute Spring that you can relax in, practice meditation or simply enjoy the scenic views of Pikes Peak.
8. Practice consistency
Being consistent means that you don’t say one thing and not follow through. You cannot be inconsistent with your behavior and expect yourself to behave consistently in other parts of your life. Your actions need to match your words. To maintain consistency in your new lifestyle, practice your yoga and meditation at the same time each day or on the same day of the week. Put everything in your new calendar, and follow through. You will begin to see a change in your overall morale and enthusiasm, which in turn will keep your mind and focus on the right track, and you’ll never have to worry about “restarting.”
9. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion is another huge part of your wellness foundation that will set the path for progress and success. It is more a practice of goodwill rather than good feeling. Be gentle and forgiving to yourself when you make a mistake; we all make mistakes. If you let mistakes own you instead of you owning the mistakes, self-compassion loses all meaning that you once put into it. Be mindful of your mistakes, accept them in that moment and continue to love yourself endlessly.
10. Expect setbacks
With creating goals, there is always the chance that something will not unfold as you planned it to, and that is completely okay. We learn our most valuable lessons from mistakes or setbacks along our journey. The key to this is to not turn your setback into a failure. Failure is a scary word that no single person wants to hear, because it’s ultimately a judgement of your self-worth. So to put this into perspective, if you believe a setback is a failure, and label it as a judgement upon your self-worth, it is almost impossible to bounce back from that feeling. A better way to handle your setbacks is not to just accept them, but to expect them to happen! Be mindful and aware that nothing you do is a failure. It is only a minor setback on your journey to wellness.
11. Be accountable
There are three steps in accountability. First is responsibility, then process, and finally accountability. This loops us back to expecting setbacks. If something doesn’t pan out like you expected it to, be accountable and take ownership of your results. At first, it may feel like a stab to your ego and self-image but learning to be judgement free of these things will make you understand that being accountable is better for you than boosting your ego or making excuses.
12. Beware of perfection, rather strive for progress
The last and final step, and arguably the most important, do not strive for perfection. You can set the bar high for yourself, that is okay. But, again, striving for perfection in our goals only leads us to the fear of failure and mental paralysis, which we already know is a ticking time-bomb. Progress outshines perfection on so many levels. Progress is the “now” path we are all on, leading us to our own, unique wellness goals. Encourage yourself to keep track and write down any progress you make. Remember to be judgement free of yourself, your surroundings and other individuals in your life. Our progress resembles our journey, not our destination.