Who hasn’t heard the old adage – “Failing to plan is planning to fail”
If you are hoping and wishing one day you will have the time and space to pay attention to your health – guess what? There will always be too much to do… a busy time at work… difficult time at home… I could go on and on.
Yes, Change IS Hard
Has it occurred to you that your health might be impacting your ability to be productive at work? That your stress might be exacerbated by the foods you eat (or don’t eat)? That you might not get a chance to deal with your health until it is too late?
The biggest challenge I hear when speaking to clients is that they really do not have the time – no time: to plan meals, to fit in exercise, to track what they eat, to even think about what they could do differently.
And they are not wrong – visible tasks tend to expand to take up any perceived available time.
The real question is priorities. Have you consciously thought about your priorities for your overall lifestyle, or have you let circumstances and external factors set your priorities for you?
When you consciously decide to do things differently you will find change is hard. However, developing a plan to make the change happen is the first step to actually realising the results you are looking for.
Creating a Change Plan
Good news! As professionals, many of us already manage change in the workplace, so you might be pleased to learn that the same strategies needed to run successful change in the workplace can help when creating a plan to change your lifestyle.
Assess the change you seek
How do you want your health – physical and mental – to support you in achieving your goals? Is your current lifestyle setting you up for a heart attack? diabetes? Alzheimer’s? Does chronic pain impact your ability to enjoy your free time? Does fatigue impact on your relationships with family? Friends? Colleagues?
Create your timeline
How long will it take to achieve your goals (hint unlikely to be 6 weeks). What are the milestones along the way – e.g.
In six weeks I will regularly be eating my 5 a day; or
In 3 months I will be able to climb a flight of steps without stopping or running out of breath; or
In 3 months I will have lost x kilos
In 2 years I will be taking part in marathons
Determine the tool(s) needed to achieve goals
Do you need to exercise more? Do you need to change the types of food you eat? The amount of food you eat? All of the above?
A coach can help you work out what to prioritise and how to gradually build changes at a pace that is realistic but still provides results.
Share your goals. Enlist help from family, friends and colleagues.
When your family, friends and colleagues know what you are trying to do they can understand better when you need to rearrange your schedule or want to try a different restaurant, etc.
Also sharing your goals provides external motivation to stick with the plan when things are tough.
Track and Measure Effectiveness
Just as you would track costs and benefits on a work change project, it is imperative to track the various strategies you are trying (yes – it is trial and error to find strategies that work for you); and, the results in terms of your health and wellness.
Weight is an obvious metric to track however it is one of very many. Other important metrics to track include:
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is right now.
Think about what you want from your health and make the commitment to start working to achieve that today.