Friday, January 18, 2013

The Road to Wellness . . . Step by Step, Plan by Plan

Not all steps are big steps and not all plans are big plans, and not all roads are smooth—the point is to plan ahead and take those steps. How else will you reach your goals? And, without planning ahead, without taking a step forward, how else will you move past the detours and roadblocks when you have a “misstep?”

What you do today, how you utilize the present, has a real and direct effect on how well you will meet your goals tomorrow. And yes, it does require even minimal planning. Start small.

Take a few minutes and think about what you want to accomplish—short term and long term. Be specific. Try to anticipate the roadblocks, and know that you will come face-to-face with a few. But, here’s where planning comes back in to play. If you have a “detour plan” in place, you still know where you’re going.

Commit to your plan. Whether you do it publicly or privately, make that commitment to yourself—and then stay with it. Congratulate and reward yourself when you see that your progress is moving you toward your goals. After all, it’s your plan and they are your goals and ultimately only you can make them happen—so give it all you’ve got.

Finally, don’t let the roadblocks you will face become dead ends. The temptations and setbacks provide an opportunity to prove to yourself that you can move past them. If you stick with your plan and take the necessary steps to move toward your goal, you will find you have what it takes to deal with problems that are out of your own control.

To complete the analogy, you’re on the road to wellness, potholes and all. It helps to remember that the road to wellness is always under construction.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year, An Old Thought—Here We Go Again

We’ve all made resolutions, usually about once a year when January 1 rolls around, resolutions about working toward healthier habits, and ultimately, better health. And, we’ve all, at times veered away from our best intentions, usually unintentionally. This says, “we’re human. It’s what we humans do.” And, it also says we sometimes end up doing what we don’t intend to do or want to do. That’s part of what makes us human. When we make a resolution, or set our sights on a goal we want to meet—and then we don’t, that also makes us human. Maybe not happy with ourselves, but human.

So if we don’t give up, we try again, and maybe we try harder. We fall down six times, we get up seven. But, just how hard are we supposed to try? How hard is this wellness stuff supposed to be?

Actually, it’s about as hard as we make it. It’s really pretty simple. It’s just not easy. So, which is it? Well, like life, it’s a long chain of choices. There are “cues” all around us that move us toward or away from the choices we make—and the reasons why. We make certain choices because we think they are better for us. We associate the choices we make with comfort or denial, success or failure. And, sometimes we choose one thing over another without even knowing why. (Do you know that by simply believing something is good for you, or believing it tastes good, you attribute a higher value to it—and eat more of it. As an example, if you see an expensive looking name on a bottle of wine, you will tend to drink more of it.)

Now, let’s think about less . . . because less of something is also a choice. Less isn’t necessarily about deprivation. As an active choice, less of something can actually be more (no this isn’t gobbledygook, there is a point), depending on how you choose to look at it. Less food can mean better health (more health). It can mean weight loss (more health). It can mean success as you go after your New Year’s resolution (more health). You probably have the idea by now. And, where ideas are concerned, here’s a wild one . . . we know it’s socially acceptable to support each other when we’re trying to break the smoking habit. Think what we could accomplish, individually and collectively, if we made eating a less socially acceptable habit?

Here’s a final thought on the choices we make, the reasons we make them, and what we hope to achieve with our New Year’s resolution of working toward better health and healthier habits. Have you ever thought about what you can accomplish if rather than focusing on what you “have” to give up, you focus instead on what you will get in return?