Making changes in our wellness routine can have long lasting positive impacts on our health and sense of self. Before we can make a change to our wellness routine, it’s important first to go over the basics.
What is Wellness?
Although there are many definitions, the overall basis of wellness is a state of complete physical and mental wellness and not just the absence of disease (World Health Organization). There are many ways in which we can achieve wellness; from healthy eating and exercising to looking after your finances and challenging your mind.
Throughout this website, I aim to address what I consider the four pillars of wellness- physical, mental, financial, and intellectual wellness. Each pillar contains many additional ideas such as occupational and spiritual wellness that will also be covered.
Why do we care about Wellness?
Achieving wellness in one or more areas of your life is important for you in living to your full potential. The four pillars of wellness are like the four pillars holding up a house. When one or more of the pillars is damaged, missing, or broken, the house is not integrally sound. Just like the house, it is important to strengthen these pillars in order to have a strong foundation in which to achieve your goals.
Goal setting is one of the most important aspects of all types of wellness. Knowing where you came from and where you want to go is pretty important in life. This is no different. If you are thinking that you are in need of a change or that you want to strengthen one of these pillars, the first step is to take account of where you are, and set a realistic goal of where you’d like to be with a time frame for when you want to achieve your goal.
For example: if I wanted to work on my physical wellness, a realistic goal for me might be to lose 5 kgs (10lbs) in a month or to increase my exercise by 20 mins, 3 times a week. These goals all have 3 things in common: they are specific, measurable, and achievable. Look at each area in your life that you would like to address and start by writing one goal for each. Within that goal are mini subgoals- like when losing weight, you start with goals around healthier eating, exercise, and weekly weight loss goals, rather than saying you want to lose 40kgs. Be sure your goals are achievable. It’s crucial to not set yourself up to fail.
So, you’ve set your goals. You’re on your way to a more wellness filled life. But wait a minute, I’m really not feeling up for going to the gym today. I know I said I would, but, maybe I’ll just do it later. Or tomorrow. Or not at all.
Sound like you? Sounds like me too! Everyone, despite best intentions can fail at achieving their goals. What’s holding you accountable to your goals? Accountability is key during the action stage of change. Working together with a friend or partner, setting rewards based on achievement, documenting every day (good or bad), are all ways to help hold yourself accountable to your goals. Build accountability into your goals to better ensure success.
Form a Habit
Making these changes will require you do them consistently, ongoing. Accountability helps us to build a routine, but the habit is what ingrains the change into our lives. That change then opens the door to other changes that are positive. For instance, when we see ourselves as people who exercise, we are more likely to also start to see ourselves as people who eat healthy as well. Our original behaviour change (exercise) opened the door to the next healthy change (eating healthier). Integrating these new habits into your routine changes the neuropathways in our brain to make these changes more concrete over time. Like learning to ride a bike, you need to give yourself (and your brain) time to make the adjustments to the change.
Changing a Wellness Routine
Time, patience, and repetition are the keys to making a change to our wellness routines. Assess the changes you want to make. Start slow and simple with sustainable changes. Set goals. Hold yourself accountable. Give yourself time to adjust and you will be successful in your wellness journey!