How to Make a Wellness Plan You’ll Actually Follow
What could be more important than taking good care of your health? Collectively we spent $3.72 trillion on wellness programs, retreats, treatments, products and elixirs in 2015.
Taking good care of yourself in a dynamic world full of processed foods, pollution and stress is essential for your physical and mental well-being. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or go to expensive retreats to work on your wellness. All you need is a couple of hours, a little planning and your willpower.
There are a few tips and tricks to help you improve your well-being one day at a time without feeling overwhelmed. One example is making a customized wellness plan that can help you:
- Improve your physical health and fitness.
- Gain mental clarity.
- Change old thinking patterns and negative emotions.
- Meet your deepest needs.
- Create new habits. Achieve your goals.
So get out your favorite notebook, grab a cup of coffee, and read on to discover how to make a personal wellness plan you’ll actually stick to.
Make an Outline for Your Wellness PlanPeople usually set new goals towards the end of the year, but fail to follow through as time passes.
This is partly because the goals are too big and unrealistic, but also because people want to change their lifestyle in a short amount of time. To prevent this from happening with your wellness plan, you need the right approach.
First, write down the sections you’ll cover in the plan. To give you some ideas, in this article we’ll focus on:
- Physical Health
- Emotional and Mental Health
- Self-Care and Me-Time
- Building New Habits
- Having Fun
Next, under each section, write the main goals you’d like to accomplish using the SMART method:
To make sure you’ll stick to the plan, put it somewhere you can see it every day. Set a daily agenda and tick off the items as you complete them.
Another way to follow your wellness plan daily is to set reminders on your computer and phone. You can also use productivity apps and tools to map out the entire day in advance. Some great options are:
Section 1: Physical Health
Start this section with the things you want to improve with your physical health.
For example, if you want to start exercising or become more fit, write down the steps to reach that goal. Should you hire a personal trainer to help you out or just make some simple lifestyle and dietary changes yourself? Will you join a gym or work out at home? Do you want to lose weight or just be more active?
If you’re not ready for a big change in habits, start small. This will help you stay on track and not give up when things get tough.
Set your physical health goals with your current body in mind. For example, notice what you eat and how it makes you feel. If a certain food makes you feel slow, bloated or tired, eliminate it from your diet.
Nowadays, stores are full of over-processed foods full of unhealthy fats, sugars and artificial additives. To turn your eating habits around, you should learn to shop smart. This includes reading labels and choosing fresh, nutrient-packed ingredients.
You can find tons of clean eating recipes online that are healthy and crazy delicious.
In addition to eating right, try to schedule appointments with your doctor and dentist to give you peace-of-mind there aren’t any underlying health issues that need attention.
Section 2: Emotional & Mental Health
Your mindset and perspective on life are a crucial part of your well-being. In fact, your emotions are the trigger for your thoughts, and consequently, actions.
Think of it as a chain reaction. Situations and events are neutral by nature. You react to them with your emotions (positive or negative), which then form thoughts that turn into behavior.
The more you repeat a certain behavior, the more habitual it becomes. The good news is you can change how you react and take full responsibility for your own happiness.
One way to switch these behavioral patterns is through CBT therapy techniques. As an example, let’s say a close friend hasn’t called you in a week. The first emotion you feel can be fear, anger, or sadness.
Next come the thoughts based on the emotions: “My friend is probably mad at me”, “I must have done something wrong”, “They’re probably bored of me and don’t want to hang out anymore”.
Based on these assumptions, you choose how you act next. You may distance yourself from your friend or confront them about the situation, not knowing the reason for their absence or lack of communication.
Aside from therapy sessions, you can find a lot of self-help materials and worksheets online.
Step two towards better emotional well-being is to create your own definition of success. Forget about other people’s or society’s definitions and set goals that are right for you.
Finally, dedicate at least 15 minutes in your day to meditation. It’s a simple, yet proven practice to calm your mind, reduce stress and help you be happy with who you are.
Section 3: Self-Care & Me-Time
Self-care is not just taking bubble baths and long walks. It’s also about meeting your core needs, taking a break, and getting rid of toxic relationships.
Start by writing down what makes you truly happy. For some, it’s quitting their boring job and following their passion. For others, it’s spending more time with their family, or traveling the world.
Ask yourself how you can do more of this. For instance, you can get up an hour earlier to spend the mornings with your loved ones, start a new hobby, or work on your dreams.
Another way to improve your mental well-being is to motivate yourself. Listen to TED talks or podcasts, read blogs of successful people and write down your achievements, even the little ones.
In this section, analyze the things that don’t bring you joy. For instance, if you have a hard time saying “NO” to people, ask yourself why. Usually, it’s because you put other people’s needs before your own, when it should be the other way around.
You don’t have to constantly please people in order to have friends. If a person stops contacting you after you’ve politely turned them down, you don’t need them in your life. If you want others to respect your time, you have to show them how - by respecting it yourself and saying “NO” to whatever’s not making your heart burst with excitement.
Pick your battles carefully in different situations. What might be appropriate in a social setting may not be advisable at work with your boss or supervisor.
Section 4: Building New Habits
Your brain needs time to learn new patterns of behavior. Constant repetition of the desired behavior will help you reinforce a new habit. The key to success is in your daily actions and choices.
In this section, write down a new habit you’d like to build or an old habit you’d like to replace. Start with 10 days at first. If you can pull through this timeframe, continue for 10 more days and keep going until the new behavior becomes automatic.
You can also set a 30-day challenge for each month of the plan. Challenges are great for establishing new habits and boosting your sense of achievement. They don’t have to be too drastic - just choose a simple goal and turn it into a 30-day adventure.
To start, try some of these examples:
- Find 3 things to be grateful for each day and write them in a journal.
- Learn something new every day and write it down.
- Don’t complain about anything for 30 days.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day every day.
- Write down at least one happy moment or one positive thought per day.
- Go for a long walk every day for 30 days.
- Do something nice for someone every day.
- Don’t buy anything new for a month.
- Prepare and eat healthy meals for 30 days.
By the time you complete a challenge, you’ll be on your way to replace the old habits that didn’t serve you well.
Section 5: Having Fun
What’s life without laughter, adventures, and having fun? For this section of the wellness plan, write down what you’d like to do for fun.
For instance, make a list of places you’ve never been to before. Write down at least one exotic destination and plan a vacation there. Get out of your comfort zone and do new things every day.
For example, spend a few days in nature, completely unplugged from technology. Try a new recipe to an old meal or start taking cooking lessons. Throw a theme party, find a new hobby, go to a concert or learn some new dance moves. Take a day trip to another town to try their best restaurants and coffee shops.
Whatever your idea of fun is, do it more and do it often!
Now You’re Ready to Make a Wellness Plan You’ll Actually Follow!
Creating the ultimate wellness plan for yourself is simple with a little time, dedication, and genuine desire to improve your well-being.
Ready to start living your healthiest, happiest life?
Frosina A. Ivanovic is a content marketing specialist and writer. She’s passionate about quality coffee, travel, wellness, and digital marketing. You can connect with Frosina on LinkedIn or her website, Zhillmatic.