When it comes to your wellness goals for the New Year, I have two words for you to consider when setting your sights on what 2019 could look like for you. Those two words are “values” and “patience.”
You are not going to see these two words featured on the cover of a magazine or in the title of this year’s best-selling wellness books as they are neither sexy nor chic. Heck, they are not even marketable as they promise no immediately visible results. I don’t worry about this though as I have no interest in selling the idea of values and patience, only in seeing people live healthier, happier lives.
In a culture where we want results now, the promise of something in the future is not very enticing and that’s why we can find more books on diets and exercise for sale then there are days in the year. It’s remarkable how many there are and how often you hear of a trending, new one.
So, to kick off the New Year, I recommend that you first slow down and truly consider what wellness means to you. For me, that answer is simple: Wellness is a reflection of the choices that I consistently make for myself. It’s not what I ate or even what I did or didn’t do, but the totality of choices that I continue to make.
This is why anchoring your wellness goals around your values makes it much easier for you to actually move towards the outcomes you want. For example, we don’t have cheat days when we are considering our values; they are free of ambiguity and allow us to make decisions with comfort and confidence. Being healthy now and in the future is something that’s important to me, so as a gauge, I ask myself, “Is this what a healthy person would choose?” The answer is always clear for me, but the best part about this approach is that it is defined by what healthy means to you.
Too often, and to the detriment of our own goals, wellness is treated as a destination. We set hard targets and narrow our vision, fixating on hitting a singular goal. I know this can work over the short-term — we may hit that weight goal for example — but the approach isn’t sustainable, especially since we know that life is unscripted and is going to continue to evolve around us.
Somewhere along the line we are going to miss a run (sometimes it’s more like 20), overeat at a family outing (mom’s cooking is too good not to), have a beverage or two too many, not get enough sleep or work too much. It’s life and it happens.
This is where practicing patience becomes helpful as there is no linear path to wellness. You have to experiment and find what works for you and sometimes the only way to figure that out is by learning what doesn’t work. Practicing patience also allows you to ignore the noise of the past and the future, as what’s most important is the decisions that you are making today. You might have missed that run yesterday, but making it happen today is what’s really important.
Kevin Grzybouski is a wellness coach and chef/owner of Wholesome, a plant-based meal service.