As we start the new year, the fresh feeling of opportunity can start to drive changes. One category that can go unchecked for many people is intentional wellness support. While it would be nice for wellness to be widely accepted as a necessity of life- it can still feel taboo. Our society looks at wellness & mental health as a luxury, when it really is an essential part of life.
Where do I start?
Ask yourself, what is your goal in starting this wellness journey? Having a set goal helps start the shape of the path you are creating for yourself. This path might not fully be formed yet, but starting with an end goal can lead to mini goals along the way. One example might be as broad as, "I want to feel better" and then defining what better means to you. Another example is more personalized, such as, "I want my self love to go from a 4 to an 8 by the end of this year." One type of goal is not better than another, but starting with a long term goal is a great first step.
Finding the Stepping Stones
Photo resized from Lili Popper
Once you have named a long term goal, it is time to start finding the mini-goals that pave the way towards it. With the broad example of, "I want to feel better"- if you define better as: physical, mental, emotional, healing- these categories slowly lead into more directive goals. An example might be if you want to feel more balanced emotionally, you can start finding the activities and services that attribute to this mini-goal. The best part of a wellness journey is it is YOUR JOURNEY! You get to be honest with yourself, and figure out what works versus what doesn't for yourself.
This is the part of the journey where you get to be an experimenter; Trying a yoga class, interviewing therapists, going on daily walks, starting a gratitude journal, making new friends, being a part of a support group- there are so many ways to try new things. Trying new things can feel uncomfortable, but over time they become familiar if you are consistent.
Consistency is key
You can find all the support tools and skills you want- but none of them are worth anything unless you stay consistent. Many people can end up feeling dimayed or lose hopefulness if they did the work to find skills and they don't magically "fix" their lives after one use. Change takes time. Consistency is a main factor in change actually happening.
As Healthline's article summarizes, the myth of 21 days to form a habit is not scientifically proven to be accurate. Healthline notes, "The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic," and it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to actually form a habit. The article goes on to remind us why habits are helpful in the first place- our brains like consistency. Consistency leads to less energy being utilized for decisionmaking.
If you want to make real changes, set yourself up for success. Think about what helps guide you to form habits- it could be: lists, reminders, calendars, notes, an accountability partner or coach, consistent appointments or training sessions, whatever it is- find what helps you stay on track. If you are unsure what helps you stay consistent, that is a great topic to discuss with a coach or a therapist. Understanding yourself is another key part of figuring out consistency.
Whatever you choose to work on this year, remember that this is YOUR JOURNEY. It is on your timeline, and your unique wants. The only person you are competing with is yourself. If you are ready to step towards meaningful changes, think about finding a coach or therapist to support your accountability & journey.
Image resized from Drew Beamer
Please note that all content of WWS Blog is for inspiration and optional ideas for wellness. These articles are not mental health advice or clinical support. Talk to your mental health professional for personalized support.