Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! Now that we’re approaching the end of the year, how satisfied are you with your overall wellness? If any areas of your “wellness wheel” are a little flat, you may be thinking about changes you need to make in the coming year.
The problem is, even when we have great intentions of improving our wellness, we may subconsciously be resistant to change. Your brain might be like my son was with one of his stocking stuffers one year…
When he was about three years old, one of the small gifts in his Christmas stocking was a set of ‘Bow Biters.’ These were little plastic clips in the shape of characters (these were Animal from Sesame Street) that you clipped on the bow you tied with the shoe laces to keep them from coming untied.
As he opened this little gift he started crying. When I asked why he was crying, he said, “I don’t wike ’em.” I said, “that’s okay, we’ll just put them aside for now. Maybe you’ll like them later on.” He started crying even harder and through his tears said, “I won’t nebber wike ’em!” Needless to say, the Bow Biters disappeared, never to be seen again.
This was many years ago, but it’s still kind of a running joke in our family. If there’s something we don’t like or we’re asked to do something we we don’t want to do, we’re quick to say “I won’t nebber wike it.”
How many times do our wellness efforts fall victim to that mentality? We try something once, aren’t particularly comfortable with it, and decide it’s just not for us. Or maybe we think about trying something, but it looks like it might be too hard or time-consuming. Perhaps we think we have too many different things to work on, so we might as well not even start.
We convince ourselves that ______________(you fill in the blank) won’t work for us, so we might as well give up. We decide we “won’t nebber wike it.”
So how do we defeat that negative mindset as we contemplate making wellness changes? Here are a few tips that may help:
Review previous wellness efforts. Before deciding on wellness changes, it’s a good idea to take stock of things we’ve tried in the past. What worked? What didn’t? What new habits were you able to successfully maintain? Are there things you can build on?
Only tackle one thing. Rather than trying to tackle multiple areas of wellness at once, it can be helpful to choose one thing at a time to work on. As we talked about in Why One Small Change Can Improve Wellness, gradual changes allow us to build a foundation for wellness that we can stick with. Because we’re not trying to make a bunch of changes all at once we’re able to stick with the changes we are making.
Start small. Rather than trying to make sweeping changes, which can set us up for failure, small actions that give us early successes can help us feel more confident and give us the desire to try other things. For some suggestions of small things you can do, please check out 20 Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Wellness This Year, 21 Small Ways to Move More and 11 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies.
Try new things, even if they’re not something you would normally do. You never know, doing something new and different might be just what you need to make progress. Remember that anytime we do something new, it might take a couple of times doing it before we know whether it’s something we want to stick with or not.
Build on the good habits you’ve already established. Often, rather than doing something completely new, just building on good habits you’ve already established can pay huge dividends. The real key to improving wellness is consistency. Developing healthy habits that you can maintain over time and building on those good habits ensures that consistency.
These small things can help us not only combat a negative mindset toward wellness changes; they can help set us up for long-term success. They can also change our mindset from a ‘deprivation’ mindset to an ‘addition’ one – we’re not having to ‘give up’ things; we’re just adding new ones.
This time of year is usually not the ideal time to start making wellness changes. With the busy-ness of the holidays, all the fabulous food, and the stress that can accompany all the additional social obligations, sometimes it’s just better to work to maintain the healthy habits we already have in place.
That doesn’t mean we should just forget about wellness though – this is a good time to start thinking about how we’re doing with our overall wellness and start thinking about how we want to proceed with our wellness endeavors.
How do you feel about your overall wellness? Have you been able to develop and maintain any healthy new habits this year? Please share!