Guard Your Wellness Habits – the 4 step formula
Today's Will Power Moment - 20
with Dr. James Meschino
You know it’s hard enough to develop wellness habits – eating healthy, using more rationale in-the-moment snacks and treats, staying faithful to your exercise program, possibly taking certain supplements, getting at least 7 hrs of sleep each night, watching your alcohol intake. The whole shebang. But even when you get on a roll, it’s very likely that something will happen that will interrupt your routine. Wellness habits are fragile. Even after many years, people who were fit, active, and have eaten healthy for many years, can fall of the wagon and gain weight, become sedentary and spiral down the cliff. I’ve seen it happen many times. Don’t ever assume that because you’ve been very good for so long that nothing can knock you off course. You have to guard your wellness habits, each and every day. And when major interruptions come along, you have to have a plan to get back on track as soon as possible and not lose too much momentum.
From experience with myself and many others I can tell you that if you stopped eating French fries or high fat muffins a long time ago, but decide to just indulge once after many years, it becomes easier to do it a second time, then a third and before you know it, it’s part of your daily routine. Likewise, if you miss a week of working out, after a long stretch of being consistent, it becomes easier for one week to become two, and two become three and before you know it 6 months has gone by and you haven’t worked out – and your muscle tone, muscle mass, endurance fitness and flexibility are greatly diminished. And your body fat is creeping up.
You have to guard your wellness habits once you develop them because wellness habits are a fragile thing. The main things that can steer you off course are interruptions that break-the-chain of usual daily living. Things like:
- job stress
- marital stress
- financial stress,
but also, attending a wedding out of town, or taking a holiday, or Christmas holidays, or any type of religious holiday or family celebration. Any interruption to your usual day-to-day life can knock you off your path. In fact, wellness habits are usually the first thing to disappear when any major type of stress shows up or an interruption of your usual daily routine occurs, such as a holiday. The truth is that wellness habits are hard to adopt for most people, that is why we are not doing so well as a society. Adopting wellness habits usually requires the use of several synergistic strategies, all of which are simple and straightforward. You don’t have to use them all, but the more you use the better.
Here are The Four Foundation Principles that are proven help people adopt and stick with wellness behaviours. They entail the acronym MASS – think in terms of Mass-ive Action:
- M – Monitor Your Wellness Engagement – use the Daily Wellness Checklist feature on the Meschino Wellness Platform to check off the wellness activities you completed on each day. Even when stress hits, or there is a change in your routine or you are traveling etc., click on the Daily Wellness Checklist at the end of the day and check off the items you still managed to accomplish. This will serve as a gentle reminder to pick up the pace tomorrow and get back to your original daily wellness game plan when you wake up the next day.
- A – Accountability – using the Daily Wellness Checklist will also help to keep you accountable not only daily, but also weekly, so you can see if you are drifting away from your original wellness game plan. For some people it helps to have nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer or another person to report to as well. If you know that a third party will be tracking your food intake, your weight, your workout routine, then it helps to keep you accountable if you are a certain personality type, known as an Obliger. Obligers often will do things more faithfully if they have to report their behaviours and results to a third party. If you are one of those people then by all means enlist the help of a wellness coach, nutritionist, dietician, a workout partner, and/or fitness professional to guide you and hold you accountable.
- S- Scheduling Exercise – even when stress levels are high, or you’re traveling on vacation or business, or holiday season rolls around, it really helps if you plan in advance when and where you will do your exercise routine. Even if you cut back on your routine and just do a scaled down version. It helps to keep the momentum alive, so you don’t fall off the wagon completely. But you have to plan the exercise time and place in advance so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
- S- Sleep – getting enough sleep always helps you make more rationale decisions about your circumstances. This also includes eating healthier and finding the energy to at least do a scaled down version of your exercise routine when stress is high or your daily routine is interrupted.
In the end you have to guard your wellness habits with a great deal of vigilance. Don’t take for granted you will always keep them alive under any conditions. It’s very easy for some event to come along and knock you off course. You have to have a plan to stay in the game under dire circumstances. Using the MASS formula will really help:
- Keep Monitoring your wellness engagement
- Set up an Accountability system
- Schedule your exercise time in advance, even if you have to scale it down temporarily
- Get enough Sleep to make rationale, health promoting decisions through the day
Okay take Mass-ive Action and guard those wellness habits you worked so hard to adopt. The payoff is worth it.
Good luck with your wellness goals and see you next time.
Dr. James Meschino
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.