Good health is a matter of priorities and choice–not mere chance. Of course to a certain extent, genetics and other factors over which we have less control come into the picture, however their impact in the face of our daily choices and ‘consenting’ exposures is minuscule indeed.
There’s a lot of talk about goals and plans and making things happen. The problem is that often that is where it all left: In the talk. Without proper commitment to an objective i.e. a specific and measurable goal, we stay in ‘indecision’–hoping for the best, and when sometimes we fluke it and ‘The best’ suddenly appears we don’t even recognize it because we didn’t know what it looked like to begin with.
1. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND YOU WILL GENERALLY GET IT
Clarity leads to power.
Becoming clear about the things we want is very important but really there is nothing more important than becoming clear about what optimum health means to you and the value it bring to your and other people’s lives. You see, it is only in pursing optimum health (read: putting in the effort and prioritizing what is important in your life) that you will be able to ‘be, do, have’ everything else you want in your life.
Set your goals. But most importantly as David Henry Thoreau advocated–“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined”. This is only possible when you add motion, in other words ACTION to the equation. However in ‘going confidently’, Thoreau recommends another key concept and perhaps even more important than the first–do it, ‘in the direction of your dreams’.
2. SURELY YOU DON’T PLAN TO FAIL?
You may ask: What does this have to do with my health? Simple.
Without a clear plan you are likely to keep going around in circles and never really achieve the better health (or other) you wish for.
If you want more energy, freedom from headaches, weight loss, better skin, easy digestion, a clear head, or whatever it is you desire to achieve in regards to your health–the only way you will achieve this is by setting some clear goals about the actions you will begin or stop taking in order to achieve your desired outcome. You will also be forced to clarify to yourself what that picture really looks like. And most likely you will need to get all that information out of your head and finally put it down on paper with clear dates besides each one of the things are you committing to put in place.
Keeping yourself or being kept accountable by your health coach is what helps you turn your dreams into reality, whether you want to achieve goals for your health or in any other area of your life.
3. THE PROCESS
An effective system in place to help you do exactly what you want is paramount. But before you start setting goals you need to become clear about where you are. Measure on a scale of 0-10 (10 = excellent) where you are in each one of the following areas health and physical, spiritual, mental, vocational/career, financial, social and familial. Based on this assessment now you can start to identify where you would like to be and start becoming specific about what that means to you.
Let’s use the example that you rate yourself a 2/10 in the health arena and one of the main issues you identify right now with your health is your energy–even though it is very likely that improving your energy will only bring benefits to you before you set any goals you want to answer a resounding YES to the following questions:
i. Is it really my goal?
ii. It is morally correct and fair?
iii. Are my short-range goals consistent with my long-term goals?
iv. Can I commit myself emotionally to complete the project?
v. Can I visualise myself reaching this goal?
So using the energy example, once you’ve answered yes to the above questions you need to start get your plan in place and one way to do this is to do the following:
A. IDENTIFY THE GOAL
Currently my energy levels are at 3-4/10 and it slumps around lunch time to a 0-1/10. My goal is to Increase my energy levels to a consistent 8-9/10.
B. SET A DEADLINE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
By 30th August 2008
C. LIST THE OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME
:: Laziness to get out of bed in the morning to exercise;
:: Laziness about preparing and organising my healthy food menu for the week;
:: Not wanting to prioritise getting organised for the week;
:: Poor time management meaning I end up eating too late and as a consequence stay up too late and don’t get enough sleep;
:: Not wanting to go shopping for healthy food;
:: Not wanting to cut our sugar, chocolate, starchy foods, coffee etc;
:: Forgetting to eat every 3 hours
:: Forgetting (on purpose) to take my energizing herbs and supplements;
:: Healthy food is boring.
D. IDENTIFY THE PEOPLE, GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS YOU NEED TO WORK WITH
:: My naturopath–to keep me accountable and direct me towards making better health choices as well as providing expertise on how and what supplements will give the best results for my health; She can also give me food suggestions, shopping lists etc;
:: Find a training buddy to ensure I get to the gym no matter what (or a personal trainer);
:: Organic fruit, veg. and meat delivery service to take the stress out of shopping;
E. LIST THE SKILLS AND THE KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED TO REACH YOUR GOAL
:: Learn how to cook tasty healthy meals;
:: Learn how to organise my foods;
:: Create a realistic plan I can follow;
:: Get ideas of what to eat and how to prepare it.
F. DEVELOP A PLAN OF ACTION
:: On Saturday or Sunday spend half an hour organising the menu for the weeks to come. Every meal must be accounted for;
:: Create shopping list;
:: Go shopping;
:: Cook 2-3 healthy meals I can have during the week. Freeze some portions for minimal preparation later;
:: Get a thermal food bag and put in all your meals/portions for the entire day next to your desk;
:: Add nutrients to the bag, so supplements can be taken during the day;
:: Set an alarm to ring every 3 hours to initially remind me to eat until I get ‘the hang of it’;
:: Help keep training partner motivated–by showing up on time each morning and being enthusiastic about the results you will both soon see.
G. LIST THE BENEFITS–WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?
:: Feel amazingly energetic;
:: Be more productive and get more done in other areas of my life;
:: Healthily manage my weight;
:: Feel more in control of my health;
:: Be more organised;
:: Save money by preparing healthy food at home and taking it to work and reduce eating unhealthy take-away food;
:: Know how to cook great tasting, healthy food;
:: Properly nourish my cells;
:: AND THE LIST GOES ON…!
Copyright 2008. Gabriela Rosa. All Rights Reserved