Are asking yourself: Why am I stuck here? Why is this so difficult? Why does this feel so overwhelming? How come if I am successful in virtually every other area of my life, why can I not get this under control? These questions could be in regards to losing weight, reducing stress, increasing energy, or anything that has to do with your wellness or wellbeing.
If you are wondering why it's so difficult, then this is for you. Part of the reason that it is overwhelming is that we have access to so much information about what we "should" be doing.
And we are bombarded with so many options- from keto to intermittent fasting to mindfulness training to low calorie to low carb...and thinking about walking during our lunch route or going to the gym... and where to start can feel overwhelming. In addition to that, there's so little time to implement them. Sometimes it just is easier to kind of put it back in the closet and say you'll get to it later.
So what I want to give you today is a new way to look at the entire process and to figure out exactly what you need to do to create your wellness and your wellbeing. And I use those two words on purpose.
Wellness - Physical health in your body and brain.
Wellbeing - Mental and emotional health.
Ideally, we want all of these simultaneously. When we actually have both of them at the same time, physical health as well as mental and emotional health, or healthy and happy, then we have something that I call Wellbeingness®.
In order to create, not just wellness, but Wellbeingness®, I want you to think about it in this way. When you're thinking about your wellness or your physical health, I want you to think about three main areas. And they are the areas where you can take action.
This is the action piece or the protocol or the plan and they are:
You can think of those as diet, exercise, and sleep.
I want you to pause right now and think about what action you can take to improve your health in one of these three areas. It doesn't have to be big. You can pick something like putting a little bit less sugar in your coffee in the morning, or adding 15, 30, 45 minutes to your sleep or cutting down alcohol consumption by 2-3 drinks per week. You could even think about just not stressing out on your way to work when traffic gets heavy. It's anything that you can kind of come up with right now, this very moment!
For this to work, it does not have to be extensive. It's just something small that you are going to incorporate immediately. This is the action plan of your wellness.
Now that you have an action plan, you can focus on your wellbeing plan. This is an action plan for your mind. We're specifically talking about two main areas, the thoughts that you hold in your brain, and then also the emotions that they create. And so what we're doing here is really recognizing that it isn't just about the wellness action piece, but it is also about your thoughts and your emotions.
Specifically when we are feeling like we're stuck or on the hamster wheel, what most of us are doin is focusing only on that action piece. We rely on willpower to get us through the action, whether we're trying to add in an action or to refrain from an action. Willpower is a limited resource. And, so if we are just relying on willpower this is why we get stuck. Willpower is not a long term solution.
So even if we are able to sustain our actions for a certain amount of time, if we haven't paid attention to our thoughts and our emotions during this process, most likely we will be back on the hamster wheel repeating this action piece over and over again. The action we are trying to implement will always feel like a chore.
So instead I want you to be aware of both the action piece in terms of what you need to do on your protocol or your plan, and then also simultaneously be aware of the thoughts and the emotions that you're holding during that action piece.
And this is where we really can begin to expand the way that we think about wellness and wellbeing and really go beyond change and literally transform our brains as we are changing our action because we recognize that the action takes place both in the physical world in terms of our diet and exercise and sleep.
It also takes place in our inner world in terms of our thoughts and our emotions. And once we know this, then we can take advantage of this fact and use our brains purposely to support our actions. And so we have to understand that there is a process that occurs just as there's an exchange of energy in the wellness world, in our physical world.
There's also an exchange of energy that takes place in our brains. And so when we put these together in a spectrum, we first have a thought and then we have an emotion and then we take the action.
What we do here is pay attention both the physical action piece and the action going on inside of our heads. How do you do this? The first piece is to discover what you want, and this is to give some thought to exactly what it is you're trying to create in terms of your mental, emotional and physical health, energy and performance.
You need to get specific on this. Perhaps it means bringing your stress level from a 10 to a 7; or you went to lose 12 pounds or get off of blood pressure medication. So you can get really specific about this and you have to say what it is. I have a lot of people say that they just want to tone up or lose a little bit of weight. You got to get specific and say exactly what it is that you want.
If you need a little help with this, I have another article that can help you define what your specific mental, emotional and physical, health, energy, and performance goals are.
The second step is to design a wellness plan. So remember when I asked you to come up with one action, well this is it. This is when you commit and say, okay, this is my action. I'm only going to have one glass of wine after work. I am going to cut out the sugar in my coffee. I am going to smile when I normally yell at that coworker. It can be any action, but you have to make a plan, and that's the design piece.
This is where you dare to watch what happens, watch the action piece. Did you follow through or did you not follow through? And the key here is that you're not just saying, oh yeah, I followed through, that's good! You want to say, okay, when I followed through was I using willpower, was I, clenching my teeth? Or was it fairly easy or was it challenging? Why was I able to do it? What was I thinking? What was the main emotion that fueled or stalled my action?
This may seem like it's irrelevant, but I promise you it is absolutely relevant and the key to ensuring that you stick with the action or the protocol for the long run. So you have to pay attention to what I call your T.E.A.
This is something that you can begin to do immediately. But make sure that you are doing it with curious compassion. Many leaders are not wired to watch what they're doing with curiosity, they do it with an iron fist. So as you are watching this entire thought, emotion, action T.E.A. process, I want you to do it with curious compassion because it really, there is no value in not taking the action and then beating yourself up about it or taking the action and not paying attention to actually pulling back the curtain and paying attention to how your brain made it happen.
So this is a different way for you to really think about your wellness and your wellbeing. It does ask you to create a very small action plan so that you can just be a witness to the entire paradigm so that you can create wellness, you can create your fuel, rest and movement, and you can also create your wellbeing. And, when you create them together, you have Wellbeingness®!