I don’t remember any watershed or lightbulb moments that first prompted me to take a more proactive stance on the state of my health and create a wellness vision. However, I do remember what happened when I made the solemn vow to start treating myself with a little more TLC: absolutely nothing. Zip, zilch, nada.
Because when I made that pledge to myself, I imagined willpower would be enough to align my actions with my words and that my quest toward greater wellness would unfold in a buttoned-up linear fashion. Sure, it was a bit delusional to think that the process would be seamless and easy.
Instead, I did the whole two-steps-forward-four-steps-back dance. (And later learned that all my back peddling, overanalyzing, whining, and complaining are typical within the change process).
My desire to change was for valid reasons. I lacked energy, so I mainlined coffee until bedtime to keep my stamina going throughout the day. As a result, my sleeping patterns were irregular and pretty well shot because…caffeine. I consisted of a steady diet of cigarettes, energy drinks, and cheese crackers with a side of peanut butter (any and everything can be a receptacle for PB in this gal’s world).
I’d go through periods of intense workouts, only to crash and be sedentary for even more extended periods because my body lacked the fuel it needed. I drank alcohol to excess often as a way to dull the anxiety that hummed within me consistently. I won’t go into the realms of what my emotional, mental, and spiritual health looked like, but I’ll tell you that it wasn’t a pretty picture.
I went full-throttle into research and experimentation mode, putting everything I was learning about health and wellness into action all at once. I curtailed my caffeine and alcohol consumption and became more mindful of my bedtime routine; I altered my diet and exercise routines. These changes would last maybe two weeks at the most, and then I’d have another anxiety attack that would circle me back to my preferred coping mechanisms: nicotine, alcohol, and nutrient-devoid foods.
The more I’d grit my teeth and attempt to modify my behavior, the more empty the promises I made to myself were. Instead, I found a half-version of wellness that didn’t serve me well. I was worn out, didn’t know why I was even trying to make changes, and couldn’t see the payoff.
Then one day, this holding pattern began to shift with a tiny statement:
“It doesn’t have to stay this way. I need to find my ‘why.'”
My “why” became the springboard toward refining what I did want for myself: to be an energetic, carefree, fun-loving woman who could look in the mirror and see a glow in my skin and vibrancy in my eyes. I wanted to live my days with intention instead of wasting them away with substances that dulled me, numbed me, and altered my personality. Without recognizing it at the time, that statement became my inner compass toward finding a new way to live and what I kept coming back to when I veered off track. It became a part of my wellness vision.
Why Does Wellness Matter?
We may automatically relate the term “wellness” to strictly food and exercise. Or we might conjure particular images before our minds—those of perfectly sculpted physiques, green smoothies, gyms with rows of free weights, blemish-free skin, or bubble baths and spa retreats.
Yet wellness is so much more than what we eat, how we move our bodies, or self-care practices, though those are certainly important aspects of living a healthy life. Wellness is about the whole self. As interconnected, beautifully, and thoughtfully interwoven beings created by a masterful Creator, “wellness” encompasses our minds, bodies, souls, spirits, relationships, and environments. Each aspect of our lives informs every other part.
When we neglect aspects of ourselves, every other area suffers. In our fast-paced, hustle-until-we-drop lifestyles, this neglect can happen unknowingly. We believe, think, and act based on habits and mindsets that are familiar, and etched in at the neural levels. We live on autopilot mode and have trained ourselves to keep forging forward despite what it may cost us in the long run.
What Is A Wellness Vision, and Why Do We Need One?
A wellness vision is a crafted statement for how you want to show up for your life. It is both the jumpstart and the sustaining force that keeps you moving forward. This road map reveals how you want to live your daily life; how you want to think, feel, move, eat, behave, and love yourself, plus those around you. This vision is unique to you.
Because it’s so easy for us to get caught up in the grind of our daily routines, we forget to stop, breathe, and ask ourselves the essential questions:
What is it in life that I value? How am I making time in my life for those things? How do I wish I felt physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally? What would my life look like if I were at my healthiest and happiest? How do I get there?
The following exercise will help you define and lay the foundation for discovering your distinct wellness vision.
To live your vision, you must first get clear about what you’d like to achieve. Consider these questions as you paint a picture of your wellness vision:
What does wellness look and feel like to you?
What would you see, experience, and hear when you achieve your vision?
What makes this vision important to you?
What will living in alignment with your wellness vision do for you?
How will your life look different when you’ve achieved what you’re after?
A wellness vision is best written in the present tense as if it is already happening. For instance, “I’m full of energy because I take care of my body by eating nutrient-rich food, hydrating, and making sure I’m active each day. I take charge of my health, practice self-care, manage my stress levels, and as a result, experience greater well-being. My relationships with others around me are vibrant and loving.”
Write it all down, and don’t worry about grammar, clarity, or if it makes sense—it’s for your eyes only. If you prefer something more visual, consider designing a Pinterest or vision board devoted to words or images that are meaningful to you. The point is to get whatever is in your head out into the open using whatever creative form(s) you prefer.
Seeking wellness is a dynamic, forever-changing process that ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Your vision is the companion and guide that journeys with you along the way. It’s not about perfection or doing it “right,” nor is it about having all the answers at once. Creating a wellness vision will help peel back the layers and point you toward your “why” as you begin to view yourself as the beautifully designed, holistic being that you truly are.
Do you want to go deeper with creating a wellness vision? View the Wheel of Wellness below or print your copy here.
Writer Jodi Shultz explains why it’s worth stepping into your purpose and discovering how you want to live each day of your life: