Raise your hand if you know you need to improve your health, but struggle with how to start or stick with a plan that meets your goals. Most of our "health improvement plans" include diving head first into a plethora of new diets, exercise activities, supplement plans, etc. But if we want to achieve better overall health in all facets of our lives, we have to start getting real with our wellness intentions. Being "well" is about much more than just physical health or nutrition. Wellness is a multi-dimensional look at yourself. It's a full integration of your total well-being.

A thorough wellness plan takes your mental, physical, spiritual, and environmental health into consideration and outlines a specific exercise form, specific diet, and a mental health routine. It's not just about the things we eat, or how we move, it's about aligning our actions with our vital needs, our mental health, medical history, emotional health, etc. While there is no “one size fits all" plan, being in tune about what you require, and putting personalization into your wellness plan, enables you to stick with the plan and integrate these health habits into your lifestyle, so that you can experience real improvements.

The first step to wellness is creating a wellness plan that assesses each area of your life and helps you discover new opportunities to improve your quality of life.

Know your goals

Identifying your wellness goals is key to creating a plan that gets you results. Your goal should be realistic and something you can actually achieve, both in the short term and long term. You may have multiple goals you would like to work on, but ask yourself, “Are all of these goals a priority?” Remember, the point of a wellness plan is to help you improve your life balance, so you don't want to create a situation where you can no longer get up with your wellness plan. If everything is a priority, it will quickly become a challenge to make real progress. Begin with identifying the areas you would like to improve, then, focus on that top area. It could be a general area of wellness or something very specific.

Once you have an idea of your goals, you need to get them down on paper. For your wellness plan to work, you will need to track and measure your goals. Use a journal, planner, or dedicated notebook to write down your goals and choose which ones you will begin working on first. When first starting out, try to focus on no more than 1-3 goals to prevent burnout and overwhelm. When one falls behind in one area, it can affect other areas. So create a reasonable timeline to hit your goals.

Take note of the activities you know you enjoy

Doing more of the things that you enjoy can help you ease your stress, lift your mood, increase your confidence, and also improve your health. This is important in your wellness journey because you want to have a plan that makes it easy to follow through. If you are engaged in activities, or meal plans that you don't enjoy, then completing these tasks start to feel like a chore. If something is a chore then you start to prioritize other things you do like, which may include those unhealthy habits you are working to break.

While you may need to adjust your activities due to intensity or energy levels, it’s important to focus on the things you enjoy and are able to do. Start by making a list of the activities you enjoy and can do in your current condition. Once you have this down, schedule a realistic time of day you can do each activity. You may need to experiment with various times to find what works best for your life.

When a plan is created based on the areas of improvement that you want for yourself, it is very likely you will follow through. Don’t choose activities just because you think that’s what you should do, or based on what's trendy or working for other people you may know or see online. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste, as these are more likely to leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. By doing activities you enjoy, you start to feel better, look better, and get more out of life.

Change your mindset and perspective

Maintaining a positive mindset is incredibly important on your journey to living well. It's so easy to get discouraged when you don't see the results you want, or to feel defeated if you aren't meeting your goals, or sticking with your routine. You have to remember that it's about progress and not perfection. When we allow those negative thoughts to intrude into our mental and emotional state, it begins to hold us back and make it more challenging to get and stay motivated. While it is important to feel and confront all of your emotions, you need balance in your thinking so that you can identify and learn from your mistakes without it sabotaging your progress towards a healthier, happier life.

Shift the energy of your thoughts from criticism to support. Focus on the behaviors you can control, like going to bed earlier, taking more mental health breaks, eating one less snack throughout the day, or drinking water instead of soda. This will help you feel more successful and motivated than if you judge your progress by the number on the scale.

Keep track of your progress

You can't manage what you don't measure. The same is true for your wellness journal. You won't know if you are meeting or exceeding your goals unless you are noting and tracking your progress along the way. You should not only be recording how much or how often you are exercising, but how your overall health is being impacted by your new, healthier habits. Record what meals you have, when you eat, how much water you intake throughout the day, even how often you take your medications or vitamins. Be sure to also include your mental and emotional feelings each day or week, how often you felt stressed, how often you felt happy or energized, etc. Having documentation of your total health and wellness check can give you as well as your healthcare provider more insight into what areas you see the most opportunity for change, and where you see the most improvements.

When striving to meet your goals, it's important to have a "checks and balances'' system in place to better evaluate how well you are (or aren't) doing. Remember, your wellness plan is not written in stone. This means, as your body and mind changes, so should your plan. You should always be altering your wellness plan to fit your current needs, and include your updated progress reports. It's a simple concept, but tracking your progress is a great way to hold yourself accountable and also visually gauge your changes over time. It's a great way to gain perspective as your journey continues to evolve.

Taking care of yourself means prioritizing your needs so that you are giving proper attention to what your body and mind needs to function at its best. Don’t feel guilty about making time for things that are important to you. Being well is an essential part of life. Managing your nutrition, sleep schedule, mental health habits, and level of exercise all contributes to how balanced that life becomes. When you commit to a personal wellness plan, your whole life can benefit. Simple things like making a workout schedule, or nutritious meal plan, or saying "no" to stressful obligations can help you become a better, happier version of yourself.

When you take charge of your overall health, you can function at your highest potential and get the most happiness out of your life. The first step to be well and live well is to make a wellness plan that is timely, easy to manage, and realistic. When you come up with a plan, you are actually developing a strategy based on your situation, needs, and goals. It will take some time and commitment to see real progress, so give yourself grace. The most important thing to remember about being successful in your new plan is to not give up when you meet any obstacles. You CAN do it. Purpose Tea will always be with you to keep you motivated and hydrated every step of the way.