“What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.”
In June, we experience wildly different weather around the globe—the rainy season in India; summer in Europe, China, North America and the Middle East; and winter in the southern regions from Africa to South America to Australia. Yet, with these different weather patterns around the world, we all often experience the same challenge when it comes to wellness: a little slump. By midway into the year, your drive to achieve your personal or shared wellness moonshot may be fading.
Maybe the wellness vision you created now feels too daunting, or your original enthusiasm as a wellness leader has become stagnant. Perhaps other priorities at home or work are conflicting with your wellness goals, or after a few false-starts at healthier behaviors, you feel like giving up.
Getting Sidetracked Is Unavoidable on the Wellness Journey
After making a sincere commitment to wellness, it’s not uncommon to find your work team, your family or yourself distracted. One reason why: Embracing new wellness mindsets and behaviors inevitably requires change. Research says approximately 45 percent of our everyday behaviors are done without much intention or conscious control. (That’s close to half of our waking hours on autopilot!) The act of making any change in life and work means disrupting these automatic routines.
Let’s say, for instance, that as part of your aim for better health and vitality, you want to improve how and what you eat, use movement to energize your team, support the brain health of a loved one, or go green at work. As if ignited by your intentions to make meaningful change, roadblocks will naturally appear and often in the form of lack: lack of time, lack of focus, lack of motivation, lack of support. Embodying wellness as a habit requires sincere readiness to change, a doggedness to work through the challenges that crop up, and a belief in the human capacity to evolve.
The higher view? You are greater than any wellness vision or goal you’ve set out to achieve, and the trajectory you’re on is never fixed. Indeed, your ability to adapt and grow, especially when you or the people you support get sidetracked, is the heart of the wellness journey.
As a wellness leader, how can you cultivate the best conditions for progress on your wellness commitments?
Cultivate a System of Encouragement and Support
Experiment with these strategies on your own or with your family or work team to help bring your wellness commitments to fruition:
1. Revisit your wellness moonshot.
Make sure your personal or shared wellness vision and goals are truly what you, your team or your family most want. You may find you’ve been trying to please others or do what you think you should do rather than tapping into your internally-inspired motivation for wellness in life and work. Modify your wellness moonshot so that it passes the inspiration test!
2. Appreciate progress.
By yourself or with others, reflect on the past five months of your journey as a wellness leader. What rituals, circumstances and relationships have already enabled you to cultivate wellness at work or home? Focus on these insights to reinvigorate your commitment to the wellness journey.
3. Shift from macro to micro.
We often embark on a monumental wellness goal, such as revamping our diet or fostering gratitude at work, only to get intimidated, overwhelmed and discouraged. Rewire your brain and behavioral routines with micro-habits. Break down your larger goal into a smaller behavior you want to incorporate into your life. Then habit-stack, adding that behavior to a routine you already do. For example, you may commit to drinking a glass of water each time you brush your teeth or add one minute for team feedback when you hold weekly meetings. Taking a step at a time builds your momentum toward larger wellness goals as well as a deeper resilience when you face inertia.
4. Make your environment support wellness.
A plant-forward workplace (like these organizations that have taken the Cool Food Pledge), plenty of water and stretch-breaks during meetings, guidelines for managing email stress, and dedicated volunteer programs are a few ideas. Ask your family or team and support their ideas for making wellness the easy choice for them.
5. Meet unwanted behavior with wonder.
Get intensely curious about a behavior you want to change as it is occurring. When stress-smoking, as an example, pause to become aware of your visceral experience. (How does that e-cigarette taste and smell? Pleasant or unpleasant?) Next, practice noticing the sensations and thoughts that arise when you feel a growing desire for the unwanted behavior. When you approach an unwanted behavior with true curiosity and without judgment, the desire for it may dissipate on its own. In some cases, this discipline of mindfulness has been found twice as good for positive change as other gold standard therapies.
6. Write and share.
Record your wellness commitments—perhaps your recently-revised wellness moonshot or a micro-habit you’ve chosen—and regularly share your progress with others at work and at home. By doing so, you are putting in place three proven structures for successful change: writing down your goals, making a public commitment, and taking personal accountability. The positive reinforcement you gain from others will also make your efforts more joyful and meaningful.
7. Enjoy wellness with others.
Not only do positive social connections contribute to buffering stress and lengthening life, connecting through wellness helps you stay on the wellness journey. Join an online cooking or exercise class with friends. Host a virtual game night or socially-distanced park meet-up. Organize a local or virtual wellness event to celebrate Global Wellness Day on June 13. As massive studies have shown, wellness and happiness can be contagious. Become part of a social movement for wellbeing.
The Journey of Wellness is Never About You Alone
When you authentically live and lead from a place of wellness, you pave a legitimate path for others—employees, coworkers, teams, customers, family and friends—to do the same. Celebrate how you are cultivating wellness at home or at work by posting a photo of you, your team or your community doing one of the actions above with #wellnessmoonshot during the week of the full moon, June 5–11. We’ll spread your inspiration to the growing network of wellness leaders worldwide.
Think of each month’s Wellness Moonshot as a guide or “lesson plan” to empower wellness. Plus, invite others to join in The Wellness Moonshot! Our next step in this wellness leadership journey highlights how new ways of listening can help you lead wellness at work, at home, and in your community.
- GWI’s Yoga Therapy Initiative
- GWI’s Wellness at Work Initiative
- The Wellness Evidence database
- Move to Be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity, GWI Research Report
- Take the “Are You a Wellness Leader?” Quiz to see where you can grow
- Wellbeing Leadership Assessment System, Be Well Lead Well Pulse®