The National Academy of Sports Medicine defines wellness as a verb: “A personal journey towards mental, physical, social, and emotional betterment of life.”
Wellness, therefore, is an ongoing process: a journey. A wellness plan is focused on your practices within that process, applying your learning forward and integrating what you’ve learned into a positive and proactive sense of yourself. So think of this as a process of moving towards wholeness as a person, with less self-rejection, shame, and blame. Along your wellness journey, you might discover some goals or inspiration that leads you to a training program, which then becomes part of your wellness journey and is woven into your wellness plan.
#1 Start with a Vision
The first step in building your wellness plan for 2023 is to craft, or update, your vision. Your Wellness Vision is your idea of yourself at your best, healthiest version of yourself; without over-idealizing or buying into perfectionism. Just like any journey, you’ll want a sense of the direction you’re heading in before you start, even if you’re unsure exactly where you’re going.
Here are a few prompts to get you started:
• How do you want to feel in 2023?
• What valuable lessons from 2022 do you carry into the New Year?
• What is your definition of “wellness”? What would it mean to embody that definition?
• What you’re curious to learn without being invested in the outcome?
• How do you want to grow and explore in the coming year?
• Imagine yourself in December of 2023. You’ve achieved your wellness goals, followed your intentions, and integrated all you’ve learned along the way. How does wellness look and feel to you now?
#2 Set & Separate Intentions and Goals
Goals and intentions are two separate tools.
You can think of it like this: goals have a clear direction and outcome, while intentions are more about direction and curiosity. Take a moment and identify any clear, outcome-oriented goals in your vision. Effective goals:
• Requires commitment
• Is attainable/achievable
• Makes you feel motivated to overcome obstacles
• Aligns with your Big Why & your values
• Is deeply important to you
#3 Create your Wellness Plan
Now it’s time to build a roadmap. Use the following prompts to help you flesh out the roadmap from where you are to where you envision yourself in the next month, 3 months, 6 months, and a year.
- What tools, habits, or skills will be necessary for the first phase of your wellness plan?
- What are you planning to work on first?
- What resources will be helpful if you get stuck or frustrated?
- How do you want to feel in this process of seeking your wellness vision?
- What roadblocks do you anticipate? How will you meet those roadblocks and work through them?
- As you work towards your Wellness Vision in 2023, what will likely change in your day-to-day life?
- As you work towards your Wellness Vision in 2023, who supports you and how might your relationships change?
#4 Action & Next Steps
Two ways to boost motivation are to take immediate action toward our long-term plans and commit to the next steps related to shorter-term goals.
What immediate action will you take now that you’ve built your wellness plan?
It can be helpful when setting out on a long journey to remind yourself that you don’t have to know every stop along the way. All any of us need is to know the next few steps. Once we’ve taken them, we can pause, take stock, and reassess our next moves. Take a moment to consider the next few steps you’ll take from here to see your Wellness Plan to fruition.
One important aspect of your wellness plan is its malleability. Wellness plans are meant to grow and change as you do. Rarely do all our dreams and goals go exactly as we’d planned but keeping a growth mindset means focusing on how we can apply those struggles going forward. One way to support yourself in seeing your plans through is scheduling time at regular intervals to revisit your plan, revise it, and integrate what you’ve learned.
Depending on your current practices that may be weekly or monthly. You might also consider posting a daily reminder of your intention and goals somewhere you’ll regularly see it.
Rachel Prairie, CPT, Director of Wellness