Like everything else this year, this blog entry didn’t go quite as planned. We got a little engrossed in the topic so it’s slightly longer than intended. We wanted to explain some of our thinking in a little more detail – hopefully this helps everyone apply the ideas.
So, if you’re pushed for time (6 minutes), our top 3 tips are:
Take small, consistent steps towards your wellness goals EVERY day. Employ a checklist to keep you on track
Visualise SUCCESS as often as you can. Stop visualising ‘failure’
Identify WHY healthy living matters to YOU. Read your wellness mission statement 3-5 times each day
If you have a little more time, read on…
This year has underlined just how important it is that we all stop allowing our personal wellbeing to drop down the priority list. It might feel like there’s always something more important – work, family, friends, chores – but in reality, it’s not possible to deliver your best in any of these areas, physically or mentally, if you’re not looking after yourself.
For the last 9 months, we’ve all faced more change and uncertainty than ever before and still there’s no concrete finish line in sight. The only constant throughout all of this is that we all need positive energy and resourcefulness to deal with whatever life throws at us. And we need to be agile and resilient as life seems to be throwing new challenges at us every day!
2020 has illustrated a few key wellness strategies that have proved successful for individuals and teams working across a variety of business sectors and in a number of different countries.
Here’s what we suggest you prioritise to ensure great wellness results throughout your organisation in 2021:
1. Small, positive steps make a massive difference
2020 has really underlined the importance of adopting a measured approach for long term wellness success and the value of taking consistent positive steps. Every day we need to be on good form and that can only be guaranteed (or as close as we can get to a guarantee) by staying focused, staying on track with what we know works for us and avoiding choices that we know might impair our performance tomorrow or even later today.
The simplest way to ensure your small steps are completed every day is to design a simple checklist.
It sounds mundane perhaps but it happens so often that people start the day with the best of intentions and then the day runs away with them. Before you know it, it’s bedtime and too late to fit everything in. So, let your daily checklist do the thinking for you. It could be as simple as:
Breakfast by 0900
2-litres of water through the day
Get some fresh air
Take a break at lunchtime
Walk 8000 steps
You can review your checklist every month and then keep it handy as a reminder while you’re focusing on other things. It may be simple but you’ll be amazed what a difference it can make. In fact, never underestimate the simple. It’s often overlooked as the best solution.
Generating ongoing motivation
The value of consistent, positive action cannot be underestimated. Physically it helps us optimise our energy levels but perhaps even more important is the boost to mood and confidence we achieve by making good choices. Every small wellness victory creates motivation to do more and as results accumulate, self-esteem blossoms.
2. Visualise SUCCESS and it will be yours
Napoleon Hill said, ‘Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ We agree with this sentiment when it comes to most peoples’ wellness goals. With one important caveat. When visualising your desired outcomes, focus in detail on exactly what you want to achieve in the future and avoid reinforcing visualisations of ways in which you may not be or have been as successful as you wished with this goal.
A familiar story…
Let’s use a simple example. Bill wakes up feeling not so great with a big day of work from home commitments ahead of him. He’s a bit frustrated that, despite his best intentions yesterday for a healthy day, he finished work feeling tired, was drawn towards a couple of glasses of wine and ended up skipping the preparation of the evening meal he’d taken the trouble of ingredients shopping for at the weekend and he ordered take out instead. After he’d wolfed the take out he felt a little queasy and as a result didn’t sleep well last night. This morning he is determined to have a better day!
He visualises an effective day at work, finishing at 6pm, a quick walk to get some fresh air, prepare a tasty soft drink and then he’ll prep the meal he missed last night. All good.
Bill has a busy day indeed and whenever his mind wanders, unwanted (but familiar) thoughts spring into his head. A chilled glass of wine to relax after work. A lie down on the sofa to recharge his batteries while he waits for his take out to arrive. As the day progresses, these thoughts inhabit his head more frequently. And the more he tries to push them away, the more strongly these images seem to beckon him. Until gone is any chance of a walk, a soft drink and a home cooked meal, along with the chance of a good night’s rest and waking up refreshed tomorrow as he moves on autopilot to follow his mind’s bidding.
Change the script, change the outcome
The key to success in situations like Bill’s is simply to reprogramme the brain. Rather than attempting to silence or remove the well-practised visualisations that are likely to lead you off track, replace them with a detailed version of the outcome you want. In this case Bill has the visualisation he needs within his mind from the morning when he originally created it. All he needs to do is call this to mind each time he detects a thought that could lead him off track. Don’t suppress the images that lead you off track, replace them.
Practise makes perfect
The easiest way to ensure visualisations stay focused on the positive outcome is to practice them regularly. The more regularly you visualise, the more likely it is that you’ll call to mind possible objections, barriers or pitfalls from the past BUT, as you’re practising regularly, you’ll be more likely to devise ways in which to work around any stumbling blocks to ensure you reach your desired goal. Every possible barrier that you identify and resolve during your visualisation will fast track your progress in reality.
3. Get clear on your ‘why’
This is the single most important element of wellness success. Your motivation. What’s the purpose of making healthy choices? For you? How does this help those around you – family, friends, colleagues? What will living a healthy life do for you? What will healthy choices get for you? How does all of this benefit you? WHAT’S THE POINT?
The notion of ‘living healthier’ will get you so far but if you want quick, powerful and lasting results, it helps to dig a bit deeper to explore what’s motivating you and then create a wellness mission statement. Your motivating factors may change at different times in your life which is why it’s important to review them regularly.
The mission statement below is one that someone sent us a few years ago. If you can come up with something along these lines BEFORE CHRISTMAS, you’ll be well set up for success throughout 2021 and beyond. When it’s ready, read your mission statement 3-5 times a day and review it for any necessary changes every 3 months.
‘I choose to make healthy choices because it’s important to me to feel in control of how I feel at work and at home. I know that if I take breaks, prioritise sleep, stay on track with my healthy eating routine and get out running I’ll be calmer, have a clearer head and work more effectively. I’ll also have more time and energy for the things I love in life. I have a lot of responsibility and I feel frustrated if I’m not able to make thoughtful decisions so I don’t want to put myself in a position where I might compromise my efficiency. I also want to be a role model for my kids and for my colleagues. Oh, and I love being known as “the fittest one” in the office. That gives me a little lift every day’.