Identifying Your Wellness Potential
By Laura M. Turner, M.Sc.
I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and the moon whatever inly rejoices me and the heart appoints
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Each day, are you becoming more of yourself? At first an awkward question. Yet, as I continue to read and discover more about the mind/body model of wellness, it appears the pursuit of being "well" expands as we continue on the road to self-wholeness. Think of it this way, according to the mind/body model of wellness, we are in a constant process of becoming "whole" as we learn to become more and more of ourselves.
With this said, if you are not even sure where you are on this continuum or if you need a push in the right direction, in this article we'll discuss how to both uncover your wellness potential, as well as three ways to get you on the road to wholeness.
Step One: Create Your Loves List
Discovering your wellness potential begins by discovering yourself. To begin, make what authors of The Wellness Book, Dr. Herbert Benson and Eileen Stuart, call your "10 Loves List." This is easy to do. Simply, choose 10 things in your life you love to do that do not involve risking your physical or emotional health. Next, rate these items in terms of importance and decide if you've been spending enough time doing them. No need to think deeply on this. To make things simple, jot down your first instincts.
For example, my list looks like this:
write, read, exercise, meditate/journal/listen to music, listen to guided imagery tapes, watch movies, pet my cat, spend time with friends and family and make jewelry.
Step Two: Uncover Your Missing Pieces And Create A Long-Term Goal
Next, decide what images this exercise brings up for you. If the premise of wellness is re-membering our missing pieces to create wholeness, what activities are you missing in your life or not doing enough of? I think you will find your mind and heart will provide the answer to this question. Now, ask yourself how you can change your life to include more of what's missing?
From this jumping off point you should now be able to create a long term goal. This goal should be something that is challenging enough to be exciting, yet not troublesome enough to burden you. It should also be a goal you feel you can accomplish within a year's time.
I think you will find that this list conjures up the notion that you can continue to expand by bringing forward what you can consider your gifts to the world. For example, as I examine my list, I realize, my long term goal (based on what I consider as my greatest contribution to the world) would be to write, edit and publish a new book. With this in mind, take a look at your list and decide what you can contribute.
Step Three: Create Monthly Short Term Goals And Begin To Re-Member Yourself
Next create a month's worth of short term goals, based on your time constraints. To make things easier, short term goals are defined as "specific, realistic, measurable and behavior oriented." Here's an example based on my goal of writing: I will write 5 pages of my book each day, 5 days each week.
After you've defined your short term goals, make a commitment to them. If you need, create a contract with yourself, sign it, date it and put it in an envelope. Plan to revisit this goal chart again at the end of the month. This is a simple, yet effective exercise based on the idea that it only takes 21 days to create a habit. Moreover, if you are consistent in working your way through a month of short-term goals chances are you will be successful in reaching your longer goal.
Each month continue to renew and recommit to your long term goal by retooling your short term goals as you move along. Also continue to re-explore your "List of Loves" and see where you can apply them into your life. I think you will find, what you focus on expands and you will create more space for that in your life. As a result, it is my wish that you will then be on your way to re-membering all the lost pieces of yourself. Remember: This is the path of a lifetime, and is the call for us always to be true to ourselves and ourselves only. For in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
Laura M. Turner is a 15-year veteran fitness instructor, fitness trainer and natural health practitioner.