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sustaining a wellness lifestyle -- tips for success

by Donald B. Ardell, Ph. D.


One key to wellness is an ability to sustain desired behavior change. Support groups, friends, and varied programs can be helpful but most people who sustain desired changes in their lives do so on their own. They manage to succeed without 12-step or other support groups. They are not led by a spouse's cheerleading, the coaching of a personal trainer, visits to a health spa, an elaborate treatment or a complex program. Yet, few manage to overcome all obstacles to change the first time they attempt to modify one behavior or another. First efforts often fail. This carries a lesson, namely, that early "failures" can be stepping stones to success by providing lessons and insights that bridge the way to desired changes.

How can you speed the process so that things seem to fall into place a lot sooner? For starters, remind yourself that success will always be mainly your responsibility, but that local resources appropriately utilized can make a great difference. This is so whether the objective is to lose weight, quit smoking, discontinue a dangerous habit or overcome a negative addiction. In addition, it applies when the objective is to take up a positive behavior, like walking or swimming.

What local resources can you marshal for a bit of support? Such resources include everything from class offerings to books or tapes to group support related to all the issues which a wellness lifestyle entails. These range from companies offering employee wellness programs to hospital-sponsored classes, fitness clubs and library talks. Look around -- make it easier on yourself as well as more fun to live the wellness way, however you see it.

Tips

  • Talk about your wellness ideas every chance you get and ask your co-workers and friends to talk about theirs.
  • Keep a proper perspective on the "big picture." Try not to lose sight of the fact that neither you nor the Earth you inhabit is the center of the universe and that, next century at this time, you will be dead.
  • Resist boredom as vigorously as you would oppose exposing yourself to plagues, venomous snakes and tobacco smoke.
  • Find someone to love and don't linger around vexatious persons.
  • Take a few chances, risks and opportunities to stretch your horizons.
  • Be grateful, honest and friendly, tell the truth, make friends and be loyal to them, seek challenging and fulfilling work, exercise daily, eat wholesome food, take responsibility, set worthy goals, play a lot, be kind to animals and children, have adventures, laugh as much as possible and look for joy at every opportunity.

That ought to cover it, don't you think?

September 2000

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