Most of us are glad 2020 is over. Getting through the year was more like a long episode of Survivor than the visions we all had in our head when the decade clicked over. Thoughts on achieving better health were probably far from our minds. So, what are we doing differently this year and how? How can we make 2021 a transformational year?
I like to keep things simple (but simple isn’t synonymous with easy). With that in mind, I’ve developed four steps to help you achieve better health in 2021.
Step 1: Awareness
The first step to achieving better health in 2021 (and making it a transformational year) is taking stock of your life. We need to be aware of the things we want more of in our life, just as much as the things we want less of in our life.
Think about all the things you’re grateful for in life, such as time with friends, family and loved ones. And notice if there are things, situations or experiences that detract from that gift of presence? Perhaps you’ll notice that low energy, pain or restricted movement are detracting from your ability to be present when spending time with loved ones. It is often the things we don’t want in our life that are the larger signposts for change.
Once you pinpoint the things you do and don’t want in your life going forward, write them down. With your list in hand, let’s move on to the second step in this transformational process.
Step 2: Plan
Now it’s time to plan. By plan, what I really mean is turning this list of desires into actionable goals to help you achieve better health. Turning your list into a set of SMART goals is a great place to start. Going further, I’ll give you an example of a rule I live by which is the 1% rule. Under this framework, if I am 1% better today than I was yesterday, then I’ll be 365% better by this time next year. The idiom “slow and steady wins the race,” is the foundation here. Slow, yet progressive implementation supports the long-term changes that you’re going for.
Step 3: Action
Once you have your SMART goals in place, get going. As a previous colleague used to tell me, “Action creates re-action.” Once you start down your path of health and wellness, the easier it’ll become. The trick is to start. Action can be one of the hardest steps (remember, I said simple, not easy). One of the ways we get stuck in ‘inaction’ is being in a fixed mindset. This is the mindset that tells us, “It’s always been this way,” or “this is the body I was born with,” or “it runs in the family.” But what that mindset doesn’t tell you is that you can change it.
If you want to create the new vision you have for yourself, then you must change that way of thinking. Changing that perspective, takes changing your mindset and moving toward agrowth mindset. Research advances in neuroplasticity suggests that every thought we have has the potential to change our brain. Research has also suggested that every movement we do changes the adaption of our body. All of that to say, the thoughts we have as well as how we move our body has just as much sway as what we consume, eliminate and rest. Our minds and bodies are always adapting.
Step 4: Self-discipline
Last, but certainly not least, we move into self-discipline. Self-discipline takes courage and faith. To follow the plan and live our best life sometimes means taking the hard road. Sometimes, it means doing things we don’t think are fun but are moving us towards feeling better tomorrow, giving us energy to embrace our day instead of just surviving it.
But, you also have to give yourself grace and realise that you’re human and you will stray from your path. That’s also why the planning step is so important, because with a plan in place it is much easier to get back on track without wasting too much time or energy.
You can make this process and self-discipline fun by thinking of it as playtime when you were a kid. Find time to explore, gently discovering your limits then build on your ability to exceed your limits safely. In fact, my best tip is to dance or sing once a day, real or imagined, for five minutes. It’s hard to feel grumpy when you’re dancing. If you are grumpy though, then make the most of it and put on some hard rock or heavy metal and blast it out of your system, then stroll down your path with a smile on your face.
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Andrew Hobbs, Remedial Massage Therapist at Balanced Body Chiropractic