At a certain point, our lives don’t change much. We’re moving around on automatic pilot and don’t notice the sameness that has taken over—sometimes for many years. We’ve gotten used to very little occurring in our lives beyond our daily routine, and many people become comfortable with that, or just accept it. Somewhere along the way, our lives got stale. We’re stuck in a rut. But don’t despair; being in control of your own life is being in control of your wellness!
More and more people are regaining control of their lives and changing their futures. They’re setting goals and reaching them, they’re feeling better, being happier, getting healthier and spending more time and energy on what matters to them. Their outlook on life has improved dramatically.
As you know, the concept of wellness covers a broad range—with different definitions depending on where you look. But for starters, let’s use the following—wellness is the belief that improvement is possible throughout our lives. We’re continuously seeking information on how we can improve. We’re choosing options and making decisions that support our best interests. Everything we think, feel and believe impacts our whole being. You are in command of all aspects of your life—physical, career, relationships, finances, spiritual, environment, and emotional well-being, and so on. You can break free and take charge of your life. Try these simple ways to discover how you can start moving towards taking control of your life and wellness.
1. Turn lack of time into more time.
“I don’t have the time,” that’s what John, a corporate attorney, constantly told himself and others. He knew he wasn’t alone. Lack of time was a concern for nearly every person he knew. John really wanted to be happier and healthier, but he just didn’t have free time to date, visit family, exercise, or any of the other things that made him happy. When John decided he had to take control of his wellness, the first thing he did was regain ownership of his time. He examined how he spent his time on an average day. By jotting down his daily activities and realigning his priorities, John found opportunities to include the things he really cared about in his daily life.
2. Reclaim your energy.
Megan, a wife, mom, and marketing executive, was always tired. She had no energy to meet the demands of her job, do housework, run errands, cook, take care of her children or the other priorities that made up her day. Megan desperately needed to reclaim her energy—but instead, she let people drain it, steal it and suck it away. To begin, Megan examined the areas of her life that needed more attention and focus. She also drew new boundaries to protect herself, by declaring what she would and wouldn’t allow. Instead of working 12 hours, Megan cut her workday to no more than nine hours. She stuck to her plan, reclaimed her energy, and is there for her family and job with a new, revitalized energy.
3. Make lasting changes.
“Our resistance to making lasting changes is innate,” says Jeff, a mortgage loan officer. “It’s such a big challenge for everybody.” He constantly told himself that his inner resistance to making changes would stay with him forever. Jeff’s first step was to recognize that resistance is always the initial barrier to making changes. For example, losing the 70 pounds his doctor recommended would offset having to take daily medication for his Type II diabetes. Jeff started by being open to seeing the positive side of change—i.e., first making a decision to change, and then enlisting help in doing so. He joined the YMCA, and now participates in Tai Chi and walks five days a week. He’s also met with a nutritionist who has helped him gain a better understanding of what to eat in order to maintain his overall health and well-being. Jeff has lost 30 pounds and continues to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
4. Set boundaries around your life.
What’s one of the shortest words—yet so difficult for many people to utter? If you guessed “No,” you’re right on the money. Sidney, a customer service supervisor was so afraid of saying no that when someone asked her to do something, she felt queasy inside because she wanted to say no, but felt uncomfortable actually doing it. The first thing she needed to do was learn her limits. She realized that learning to say no to the things that she didn’t want to do would help her reduce the stress of excessive demands on her time and energy. Sidney could say no in a way that was comfortable to her, yet respectful to the other person. Many people believe when someone makes a request of you, you must say yes, but saying no isn’t that horrible! When Sidney began saying no, it changed her whole life; she found her “to do” list shrinking. She recognized that it was her choice to either overload her schedule or only accept requests to do something when she wanted to.
5. Take excellent care of yourself.
Eden, an emergency room specialist, wanted to improve her quality of life. She was bored with her daily routine, and her social life was nonexistent. Eden began making changes for the better by putting her needs first. She focused on what she wanted, instead of others’ desires. She began scheduling two social activities on her calendar each month, in order to create a social life. Eden never really enjoyed living in the suburbs, but she was close to her job. She put together an action plan for re-inventing her life. The first thing she did was sell her house in the suburbs and move to a more urban environment in which she always dreamed. She could walk to quaint café’s, visit bookstores, shops and attend local festivals and art fairs right in her neighborhood. She started networking and began to meet new people on a regular basis. Eden’s life has become more satisfying and fulfilling.
It’s certainly a personal choice to get on the road to feeling better, being happier and getting healthier. It’s a choice you should consider making. For those of you reading this article, I challenge you to take a few moments to assess how you’re feeling. How’s your energy level? How much “me” time do you take on a daily basis? How’s your overall self-care? Consider how much better you know you could be with some effort, commitment, and support. Now is the time to make time in your schedule for you.