Many of us set New Year’s resolutions at the start of the year. Goals such as “be more patient,” “run a 5k,” and “cook more at home” are often etched into our minds (and maybe journals) as the year starts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love goal setting – even setting small goals is beneficial – but most of us don’t have a clear idea of what the big picture is. What our big picture is. That’s where creating a wellness vision comes in.
What is a wellness vision? Quite simply, it’s a vision of your very best self. It’s what your life looks like, how you feel, and what you’re doing if you imagined your very best, healthiest self.
Tying smaller goals to a broader vision increases the chance of success. Instead of focusing on a laundry list of goals, which can seem daunting, think of the big picture, or a vision that ties them all together. As a wellness coach, I recommend everyone create a wellness vision and revisit it every 6-12 months.
By taking the time to reflect on your best self, you are able to create your wellness vision for the year. New Year’s resolutions and other goals can support this vision. (Yes, I understand if you already have New Year’s resolutions set, this is a little backward; however, hopefully, the resolutions you’ve made are already aligned with your wellness vision.)
IT MAY SEEM A LITTLE OVERWHELMING TO CREATE A WELLNESS VISION, BUT HERE ARE THREE EASY STEPS TO HELP YOU CREATE YOUR WELLNESS VISION FOR 2016:
1. Brainstorm: Get it all down on paper! List everything – there is no limit. Focus on your best self and your wildest dreams. There is nothing holding you back; nothing stopping you – What does that look like? What are you doing? How do you feel? Who is in your life? This can be something written, or drawn or you can get crafty and create a vision board.
2. Iron out the details: Start thinking about the more defined aspects of your wellness vision:
Values – what is important to me/why do I want to be better?
Outcomes – what do I want to accomplish by being healthier?
Behaviors – what activities do I want to do consistently?
Motivators – why now?
Strengths – what are the assets that will help me achieve my best self?
Challenges – what are some barriers I will face?
Supports – who do I have to help me?
3. Insert goals here: If you already have goals set, great! Check to see how they fit in with the broader picture. What part of your wellness vision are they helping you achieve? If you don’t have smaller goals set, now is the time! They should be smaller action steps that support your vision and will help you turn it into your reality.
Now what? Well, sharing your goals and visions actually can help you achieve them, so share it! In our increasingly social media-heavy world, you can easily share your wellness vision with your friends and family. No worries if you’re a little more introverted and don’t want to share your dreams with the masses. Pick and choose a few key people to share with. (Remember that “supports” question? Here’s where they’re handy!) The bottom line is – do what’s best for you. Creating a wellness vision is about your best self. And you know yourself better than anyone.
Once you’ve created your wellness vision, re-visit it every 6-12 months or after big life changes. Life changes can alter your wellness vision (accepting a new job, having a baby, getting engaged, moving, etc.) and it’s important that your wellness vision is reflective of what’s truly going on!
Keep your wellness vision in a place where you will see it often (even if it’s written or typed up). It will serve as a powerful reminder of all you want to achieve and what your best, healthiest self looks like. Imagining your best life is an exciting activity, so most of all – have fun with this!
Shannon Gwash is the Director of Wellness Services for Jefferson Center and is also a Certified Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach. She earned her MS from the University of Denver in Strategic Health Communications/Behavior Change. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the communication world and nearly three in parenting … which clearly makes her an expert there. To stay sane, she runs around Sloan’s Lake, hikes with her daughter, enjoys outdoor concerts and reads nerdy books.