As we set our professional goals for the new year, many of us focus on positively impacting our teams and our companies. Part of this process is ensuring we as individuals are mentally and physically fit to endure the challenges ahead of us.
Some of us have successfully taken care of ourselves during the pandemic. More time at home means more opportunities to cook healthy food and exercise more consistently. For others, it’s been more challenging to separate work from personal life, which has impacted our health.
No matter what stage you’re at in your health journey, designing a personal wellness plan that is 100 percent in your control to execute is a great way to hold yourself accountable. These four critical points to designing your wellness plan will be valuable to reaching your professional goals.
You’re an influencer.
As communications and human resources leaders, we are constantly battling for attention from executives. I know this firsthand as an internal communications and public relations executive. I know what it takes to build trust in a room and show value and business impact.
We need to show up every day, which sometimes is a challenge. I want to help you lift yourself up by asking you to consider who you influence. While it might sound self-centered, it’s our most prominent blind spot. We are often too humble to realize how much we impact others as a society. We all contribute to society; we all add value. How do you add value every day?
Your to-do: write down three people you influence and why they are important to you.
Your time is your life.
If you’re leaving a company because you feel burned out or take a leave of absence because you haven’t taken time off of work for years, that’s a problem. We need to shift our mindset around our calendar. We don’t focus on our health because we tell ourselves we’re too busy to exercise or eat healthily. I want you to think about your calendar as your life, not just your career and family obligations.
We can make simple but impactful changes to manage our time. For example, I have a rule of thumb: every time someone postpones a meeting with me, I immediately use the time for exercise. Whether it’s taking my puppy on a walk or jumping on my Peloton for an impromptu ride, I accept the time for myself. I consider it a gift.
Your to-do: Complete this sentence: “When future meetings are canceled or postponed, I will do XX for my well-being.”
When it comes to making changes to our health, we typically aim to quantify the change we want to make. Whether it’s weight gain or loss, more muscle, less fat, etc., we often put so much pressure on ourselves to reach a number. And we can become derailed if we plateau or don’t achieve our goal. I ask people to get tactical, or what’s in their control. Focus on drinking a specific amount of water, sweating for 30 minutes at least two to three days per week, etc. Achieving these tactics will positively impact your mental health as well—who doesn’t feel good about checking items off their to-do list?
Your to-do: what is one thing this week you can focus on that’s 100% within your control?
Design your Plan B.
Think back to the times you told yourself you wanted to go on a run or a hike or make time eating healthier meals, and for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen. It could be because you received an urgent call about a work crisis, you spent time with your children to help with homework, you felt sick or something else got in your way to not allow you to do something to better yourself mentally and physically. Disruptions happen but planning and knowing what you will do when they happen can make a difference.
Your to-do: Write down what you’re going to do when you can’t do what you originally intended. For instance, if you plan to go to yoga this evening and you find out the class was canceled, what are you going to do instead? One option is to tell yourself, “that’s OK. I’m going to take the next one” or, “OK, I’m going to go walk around the neighborhood without my phone and take in some fresh air,” or “OK, I’m going to set my alarm early tomorrow morning and attend the next class available.”
If you identify who you influence and bring your ego into the room, focus on tactics, shift your mindset around time and design a Plan B, you will be on your way to prioritizing your well-being.
Once you’ve designed your plan, it’s time to execute! Print out your plan, stick it next to your monitor, your bathroom mirror, or somewhere you’ll see it every day. Consider going through these steps with your teams as well and identify ways to hold each other accountable!
Finally, please make sure to schedule a time to meet with your doctor and receive an annual exam. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also help you determine where you should focus your physical health goals.
Mark Mohammadpour, APR, CPT, CHC, is the owner and Chief Wellness Officer at Chasing the Sun. After spending his public relations career as an executive at Edelman and Weber Shandwick, and after losing and keeping 150 pounds over the last decade, Mark launched Chasing the Sun to empower public relations professionals to prioritize their well-being so they can shine in the family room and the board room. Mark’s keynote speeches, workshops, and individual, team, and enterprise-wide programs deliver relatable, practical, and actionable advice to help increase morale and reduce turnover. To learn more, visit chasingthesunpdx.com, contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with him on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.