As fall beckons and the summer winds down, you might be reflecting on the fun times, new memories and vacation adventures you had over the summer. If you are anything like me, you’re also thinking about the indulgences you enjoyed — the summer cocktails, beer, wine, barbecue fare, sugary desserts, road trip food, carb loaded snacks and all that eating out.
Well all of that is in the past and you can’t change it. So no need to stress or worry about it. Instead, I invite you to look forward to a fresh new start. The fall is a great time for this.
The fall brings a new perspective. A time for change. A time of transition. A time to prepare for the colder months ahead by tying up loose ends and completing projects. A time to focus on health, to cleanse the body and prepare to be well and strong during the darker colder season ahead.
But making your health a priority can be challenging.
The fall brings with it a very busy season. Kids heading back to school. Work projects ramping back up. Having to get focussed and serious again after being in vacation and relaxation mode. The priorities, to do lists, and responsibilities start piling up. Your health and self-care are among the first things to get pushed to the back burner.
If you are anything like many of my clients, you know you can’t ignore that niggling feeling in the back of your mind much longer. Perhaps it was a nudge from the doctor to get those blood sugars down, lose a few pounds, and get moving. Maybe you’re sick of feeling sick and tired all the time and worried what might happen if you don’t soon make some healthy changes.
For many of us we have that big dream for our lives. The vision for how we sees ourselves as we age. The places we wants to see. The things we want to do. Today I remind you of those. To take a moment and reflect on those big dreams. Bring them out into the light instead of keeping them buried beneath the to do lists, errands and daily tasks.
Sometimes the big dream, the big change, the healthier life seems so big, that it’s impossible to accomplish. And so you don’t do anything. You get stuck in fear, overwhelm and the magnitude of what you want to do. And you do nothing. You stay where you are. You never make change. You never fulfil the dreams. Is this how you want to live your life?
Today I offer you four tips for prioritizing your health and wellness so you can start making the healthy changes in your life and living those big dreams:
1. Make your health a priority. Like really do it. Don’t let all the small, meaningless, mundane day to day tasks, rule your life. Instead prioritize your day with things that get you closer to your healthy dream. The things that will bring progress. Things that provide meaning in value in your life. Ask yourself, what two things can I do today that would move me closer to health? Some people call this eating the big frog first. Do the big task first. The one that that will really make a difference for your health, instead of being caught up with the small fish, the easy things that never really get you anywhere.
2. Learn to say no. Many of you are “yes” people. You say yes to everyone else’s requests, needs, and priorities, and no to what you want for your own life. Try to prioritize your day based on your dreams, desires, and what you need to do to make progress with your health and self care. This can also become a big distraction that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. Sometimes it’s easier to help others rather than helping yourself. But it is your job to live your own truth first and then to help others next. Say yes to you.
3. Reframe the outcomes. When it comes to your health and wellness your goals might be to: get your blood sugars down to a specific number; lose a certain amount of weight; exercise a set number of times a week; or fit into a desired size of clothes. But these aren’t the real outcomes you are looking for, are they? What you are really hoping for is freedom. The freedom that vitality and health can bring. The emotional freedom from worry about declining health. The physical freedom to do the things you love to do. The social freedoms to interact with your friends and family. The time freedom now wasted on feeling sick, doctors appointments and lack of energy. So reframe your big goals, into the aspects of freedom, that accomplishing them will bring into your life.
4. Just start somewhere. These big goals start with a single step. Break them into simple, doable, timely, action oriented, daily steps. And with each step you will make progress, toward that bigger goal. Each day you will become more motivated and inspired to keep going. Start small, make progress each day, and before you know it you’ll be embracing the rewards – the freedoms that health and vitality can bring. As you begin, ask yourself:
- What will I start today?
- What goal/freedom will I start moving towards?
- What supports or skills do I need to help me get there?
- What is my first step?
You can do this. You can transform your health. You are the captain of your own ship. Will you jump on board, take the wheel and sail into the land of freedom? The choice is yours.
This post first appeared here in the Halifax Citizen on Tuesday, Sept 9, 2015.