You have learned so many skills, and you are on your way to practicing, building skills and competencies that will take you to new levels of health improvement. Practice using investment terms when you are discussing your health, like “lower fat is a great investment for my heart health,” or “taking my medicine is a small investment to keep me from running up insurance bills.”
It step along the way is another reason to celebrate life. Remember that our reality is shaped by our words, our deeds, and our vision. Create a healthy, prosperous vision of yourself, for now and into the future. Multiply that vision by surrounding yourself with others who see life fully, and who are motivated to improve themselves, their community, and their relationships with others. Pause for pleasures that are natural, without guilt or remorse, enjoying the sunshine if it pleases you, and even, sometimes, enjoying the rain.
Take a few moments each day to check in with your self and re-fuel for the accomplishments of the day, including better health and another wealth dividend. Reach out if you need some help, and reach out to help someone else.
Smile and keep moving forward. You can accomplish what you can envision, and the view is always more expansive when you look forward.
You've been doing some things very well, and you deserve praise. (Reminder—rewards can be “job well done,” and they don't have to be ice cream, alcohol, or …. you understand this point!).
Use data to prioritize your changes, and keep adding data as you move toward your goals. At first you may have be a bit overwhelmed with the Value Equation, but, because you are determined, you know that you can use data—from research and from your own experience/health scores—to understand the impact of risky behaviors on your total health. You can see the value of each behavior change to your health-wealth portfolio by inserting your numbers for the impact on your health. Your objective in putting the data together and creating investment models—the formulas you created—was to determine which changes could deliver the best dividends to your health and wealth.
The idea is to convince you to care enough about your health, by linking it to your current and future wealth, to teach you a decision-making process for better investing. This process will lead you to a place where you, and only you, can decide how much you are willing to risk versus how much you want to invest in your overall quality of life, especially for the long-term. Only you can make these decisions. And, not making the decisions is just as much a response, because no change means more of exactly what you already have. High blood pressure will not resolve on its own. Arthritis will not heal by itself. Depression does not cure itself. You must make changes (visiting the doctor, taking your medicine, improving your level of exercise) in order for the risk/condition to improve. In most instances, you have the power to improve the outlook for better health.
Goals are the milestones to achieving your vision. Your mission gives you the fire to keep going. Your T.I.M.E. plan teaches you how to achieve your goals by making them succinct, direct, measurable, and modifiable.
Did you put the worksheet where you can review it easily? Keep it in your day planner or even on the calendar. Remember that without the concrete, visual plan, it's very easy to get distracted. You must create an appointment to improve, secure a time for yourself. That's the fundamental message of the T.I.M.E.© planner: write down the steps and the time needed to achieve the results.
Create a targeted business plan that gives you measurable goals to achieve your vision. Revisit that plan at predetermined intervals so you can once again determine if you are on the best path for success. Remember the rankings: it's most important to support good behaviors first. Not moving to a higher-risk category is the most important thing that you can do for your long-term health.
Consider the choices you make in achievable goals. Some of these, in every category, should be fairly easy to accomplish (such as making the appointment, AND keeping it, for your cholesterol check or flu shot). Some of these may require more information, more supports, and more effort (such as managing stress). This is where you begin to consider who you are using for consultants: your clinicians, your health plan website or care managers, reputable news services or publications. Remember, don't just accept your neighbor's advice; check it out, seek references that are worthy before you adopt new ideas or treatment.
It's very important to manage and focus on your positive behaviors, as noted. But it's also important to keep risks from developing into symptoms or conditions; if you are taking blood pressure medicine (managing a risk for long-term heart disease), don't stop. Remember, moving from the “risk” category to the “symptom” or “condition” (acute or chronic) categories really depletes your portfolio. Investing both time and effort into managing the lower-cost categories of “healthy” and “at risk” will save you time, money and costly withdrawals later. The key messages here:
-Support your good behaviors
-Follow your risk management treatment plans
-Get help early in the “symptom” category, before the symptom gets out of hand
-Be disciplined about relieving acute conditions
-Be focused on the long-term behaviors that will keep your “chronic” conditions under control, so they don't become “chronically costly.”
You need a total health plan in order to achieve optimal health and wealth. Your actions, your assets and liabilities, across the total health continuum, can help you see where small changes and big ones will deliver the best results.
Think of the continuum as a recipe for an asset-rich soup. You can't make a good soup with only water, you must add vegetables, perhaps some meat or chicken, some herbs, and more. You have to shop all the aisles of the grocery store. It's the same with your health and your wealth. You can't just focus on the seatbelt, you must also consider if walking to the store is actually better for your health altogether (you get exercise AND the groceries!).
Considering the total picture is where you began to see what actions you were doing that would impair your current and future health-wealth status. You can see how much time you are focusing on your risk/symptom/condition management as opposed to focused time on the healthy part of your life.