In the Aug ’12 issue of Success Magazine, in an article titled “Climb Out of That Rut”, leadership expert, speaker and coach, John C. Maxwell, discusses five strategies to get unstuck. He isn’t specifically addressing health in this article, however, each one of these strategies can be applied to living healthy in mind, body and spirit. If you feel like your health is stuck in a rut and you are motivated to do something about it, keep reading to learn how to take action in getting unstuck.
Is Your Health Stuck in a Rut?
Check out these 5 strategies, inspired by John C. Maxwell, to get unstuck!
1. Accept Responsibility
For each one of us, the current state of our health, is the accumulation of the choices we have made over the course of our life time. While we all have a genetic history of one disease or another, ultimately it is our lifestyle choices that make the difference between disease and health. In my favorite health and wellness book, Cracking the Metabolic Code, author Jim LaValle puts it this way, “If there is a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, those genetic switches will be the most likely to get turned on when our metabolism becomes stressed. Bear in mind that it takes many, many insults to cellular health and function to finally end up in chronic disease. That is why lifestyle choices can be so powerful in helping us to prevent disease.” The first step in getting your health unstuck is to accept responsibility. You do this by recognizing how your lifestyle choices have impacted you. This is not about guilt, blame or shame, it’s about getting rid of your victim mentality and taking ownership of the choices you make. The bottom line, proper nutrition, moderate exercise, getting adequate sleep and managing stress are all choices you can make, and for many this is the difference between chronic illness and robust health.
2. Know Where You Want To Be
We all should be hopeful for good things in our life; however, hope is not a strategy when it comes to good health. In order to achieve health we have to first define what it means and then set specific and measurable goals on how we are going to achieve it. This may sound silly, but I have had two friends, in the past week, who have celebrated not having to take a nap, to make it through the day. For both of my friends, fatigue is something they struggle with. Perhaps you define healthy, as having sustainable energy, throughout each day. You can set this as your goal and then measure it by whether or not you need to take a nap.
Often times in our ambition, we dream big dreams and set huge goals but fail to come up with realistic ways to achieve them. We quickly lose focus and stop making forward progress or even sabotage ourselves and go backwards. For many of us, it’s our all or nothing mindset that gets us into trouble. To keep focused on your health goals, first divide your goal into parts and then break it down into action steps. I like to break my health goals into three categories, mind, body and spirit and then every day create a “to do” list for each.
4. Take Action Today
All the hoping, dreaming and goal-setting for good health won’t do a thing if we don’t follow through. Using the example above, if sustainable energy is our goal, the first step to achieving this may be to go to bed by 10pm each night. Once we have defined our goals, the next step is to lay out an action plan to achieve them. Ask yourself what kind of action can you take today to improve your health? Small steps are forward progress; if that means you skip your late afternoon cup of coffee so you aren’t wired at bedtime, that is a step in the right direction.
5. Grow Into Your Tomorrow
While small steps in the right direction are forward progress, we also want our steps to get progressively bigger in order to make a greater impact. To do this, it is important to be intentional about getting healthier each and every day. Keep your goals in front of you to review throughout the day and at the end of the day, re-evaluate how you did. Decide ahead of time how you can improve from day to day. Enlist the support of friends, family, co-workers or even hire a coach to hold you accountable to achieving your health goals. There is no shame in being stuck; only staying that way when you have the choice to change.