Read these 10 Finding Time For Your Health Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Health Management tips and hundreds of other topics.
How do you know when it's time to manage more intense change or multiple changes at once? Consider these questions:
Will adding more goals or targets increase the pressure enough that you could buckle if thrown a curve? In other words, if you are increase your exercise to 5 hours per week (1 hour each day) and also start a church/community project, which will take precedence? What happens if the car breaks down? Will this derail any of your plans, or are you feeling competent enough with your new actions to adjust and keep going? If the answer to “derail” is yes, then don't add any more.
Is the new addition something that requires a phone call and then action at a later date, such as scheduling a physician appointment? If so, get the appointment booked now. This is not a hard item to accomplish.
Do any urgent important items first. Make the appointment to get the lump checked, then go after the low-hanging fruit. Throw out the junk food now, then buy the shoes and start your exercise program. This may seem simple, but, when you are making life changes (or when you are “running a corporation”), sometimes the list can grow so long that you actually use the list itself as an excuse. Put a date next to each item that makes you deliver on your promise of action, and get it done! No excuses.
Bernice was in a health club, spinning on her bike and asking questions about making the same kind of changes that you are. She, like you, values the opinion of the certified and experienced instructor, so, she was asking, “How long should I work out, how hard, how often…” and the instructor responded, “What are your goals?”
Bernice thought about it for less than 10 seconds and said, “I want a healthier future, so I can play with my grandkids and enjoy my husband. It's not about the weight; that's secondary; it's about having my health so I can do the things that are important to me and my family.”
How about you? What are your goals, and what are reasonable expectations for achieving them? Are you like Bernice, with some long-term and very-important goals that require long-term commitment? Do you also have some shorter-term goals that can contribute to your “everyday” wins?
Find the opportunities to create the shorter term goals, as celebrating smaller wins will keep you motivated to achieve the ones that take longer.
1. Choose a change that is easy to accomplish in 30 days. Remember, none of these habits that have been draining your health-wealth portfolio happened overnight. You tried them, even liked them, and you have a history of repeating the action. You now must learn a new action, and new actions can be scary. So, choose one that provides the most chance for success, and one that provides the least chance for you to say, “This is too hard to do.”
2. By the same token, don't make the change too easy. An example would be: I will lose 2 pounds this month. A two-pound change can happen in 2 days…not a life-changing process. This target will not really give you the feeling of accomplishment or the motivation to know that you have made a real change. After all, your target should be achievable but challenging.
3. “Want” and “Try” are negative words. Each of these words implies that there is an acceptable level of failure. “Want” says that there are forces beyond your control that may rob you of success; “try” says that, no matter how we work, we can still lose. Neither is true. Look at this another way: every day there are forces beyond your control that could get in your way: a car goes through a red light and slows you down; or you crash; or the new project causes you to stay late at work, and you can't get to the gym. These are simply situations to be overcome, not reasons to quit or fail. You've been overcoming situations all of your life (that's how you got up every time you fell down, and eventually you learned to walk). Drop the “want” and the “try” and use “will.”
4. Create a win. When you are first beginning a new or improved health action, set yourself up to succeed. Again, an example: when learning to run a race, you didn't start at a marathon. You started with what some call “mail box training”: run from one mailbox to the next, walk for 3 boxes, run the next one, etc. When that was easy, you ran 2 mailboxes, then one block, then 3 blocks…until you ran a mile. THEN you tried 1.5 miles, then 2 miles, until you worked your way up. Each milestone gave you confidence to move on and you developed the determination to NOT QUIT. So, create achievable challenges, not losing propositions.
By using the acronym T.I.M.E., you can begin to create a plan for achieving your health/wealth goal. The following questions will help you create the T.I.M.E.worksheet.
1. What is your TARGET? Choose one of the items from your to-do list:
What is the time that you think it will take to achieve this goal?
If the time is longer than 30 days, re-state the target for a 30-day goal (example, if you say you will lose 35 pounds, that's a longer-term goal; now, restate it as a 30-day goal: I will lose 8 pounds). Notice that we don't say “want,” but “will.” “Will” means that there is no wiggle room; “want,” “try,” are words that imply failure is an option. Failure is not an option.
2. What INVESTMENT is needed to achieve your goal?
Do you need special equipment? Do you need to see your doctor/nurse, etc? How much time each day will it take for you to accomplish your goal (the time investment for exercise, for example, isn't the same for taking a pill…)
Who else is INVESTED in your goal?
Do you have a friend who will meet you at the gym? A trainer? Is your work colleague also changing his/her lifestyle—can he/she be a support? Do your kids want you to succeed? List everyone who has a vested interest in your success. GO PUBLIC—it keeps you and your supports motivated to achieve success.
3. What MEASUREMENTS will tell you that you have achieved your success? When should the success measures appear?
To paraphrase the great ballplayer Yogi Berra: If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? How can you hold yourself, or your partners, accountable? How often do you need to measure? Example: if you are losing 8 pounds this month, then every Friday you need weigh 2 pounds lighter!
4. How will you EVALUATE your success? When will you revise your plan?
Perhaps you didn't lose the 2 pounds this week. In order to achieve your goal (remember, failure is not an option) you must cut back on calories and kick up the exercise the next week. That's a planned evaluation and revision to stay on course.
Now you have T.I.M.E. for action!
This is called building competency. When you achieve an early win, it propels you to try more and see what else you can accomplish. It may not be the most important item on your list, but it can give you a sense of accomplishment that can reinforce your intent and keep you motivated.
People who identify their target and WRITE IT DOWN, understand what the steps (investment) are that will achieve success, clearly define success (measurement), and revisit their progress periodically (evaluation) are the ones that achieve sustainable change. They create the confidence to succeed because they can see their progress.
Think about it this way: You go on a wild spending spree. You write checks, make charges on the credit card, all without keeping track of how much you are spending. Then the bills come due, and you are surprised, maybe appalled, because somehow, you forgot a few “outlays” here and there, and there's not enough cash to pay the bills.
Not many CEOs can afford to do this? What happens to a CEO who doesn't have a clue about how much money is being spent? Or, who overspends and runs a financial deficit? How long will stockholders put up with this undisciplined financial behavior? How long can you put up with undisciplined health behavior?
Again, MyHealthCEO causes you to pause and think. How much of your resources will be devoted to longer term investments that actually will deliver the best results—improvement in your health and wealth—so that you achieve your mission (where you want to be in 10 years)? Can you achieve some early wins so that you stay motivated. And, how many resources can you devote to one or two actions that will be amortized (spread over) several improvements?
This last question is important. For example, if you have a high risk of heart disease and you are overweight, then losing the weight will lower your risk factors. But it will also help guard against back pain, stress, some cancers, and more…so that, in effect, you are amortizing your investment of healthier food choices and exercise across several correlated conditions to heart disease. The Chief Executive Officers looks for ways to invest once but get multiple returns…and so do you.
But you don't have to start with the easiest investment, and you don't have to start with the hardest. You do have to start with the most important one(s) for your immediate health. Fill the prescription, get your flu shot; these are fairly easy to accomplish. The items you can do immediately are called the low-hanging fruit, but they are not always the most important. If you have identified a serious threat to your “corporation,” then take care of it immediately. In the examples above, finding a breast lump or having chest pain requires immediate action—call the doctor now!
Now that you have all of your “to-do” items in one place, you can see which of the items are pretty easy to accomplish, and which will require diligent focus and careful watching..
1. Review the listing above. Which of the actions are fairly simple and can be accomplished right away? Suggestions for consideration are: throwing away all open junk food (and giving unopened food to the food pantry); filling my prescription that ran out, (get on the phone and do it now). For every action that is simple and quick, put a 1 next to it in the chart above.
2. In the list again: which of the actions require at least 2 steps to accomplish? Suggestions include: I can begin walking but I have no walking shoes (so you must 1/buy the shoes, and then 2/begin the walking); I need to refill my prescription but I have to see the doctor first (so you must 1/visit the doctor, and 2/ fill the prescription). Put a 2 next to all of the 2-step actions.
3. In the list one last time: which of the actions require a longer-term commitment? Suggestions include: lose 35 pounds (this won't happen in 2 steps, right?); get a mammogram for the lump I've felt in my breast (again, a multi-stage process). Put a 3 next to these items.
You have now identified which of the actions are most easily accomplished.
You have spent some time considering what your health portfolio looks like. You know about the genetic/family risks, you know if you are keeping up with your personal health improvement plans and your prevention-screening appoints. This is an opportunity to identify areas that need improvement.
[actions that you do on a regular basis that preserve your current state of health or improve it]
What three things could you do better?
[You have both inherited (genetic risk) and risks that you may be taking.]
What three risks could you improve?
[Current symptoms of negative physical and/or mental-emotional health]
What three things would you like to improve?
[Recent conditions for which you are being treated or taking medication, therapy, etc.]
What three things would you like to improve?
[Conditions that require ongoing treatment or management]
What three things would you like to improve?
Now you have a list of opportunities that can define the next-level actions you will take.
Every action, every non-action that you perform that does NOT contribute to the positive side of the equation automatically means that you are spending your wealth. In CEO terms, you are either protecting and enhancing your assets (your health) or you are spending your capital unwisely (throwing your health money away). As a CEO, what responsibility do you have to the overall functioning of the organization? More importantly, what responsibility do you have to the overall functioning of your greatest asset, your health? You know the answer: you must take action that preserves and enhances the total health picture. Therefore, the next step is to define an action plan that will change the financial drain and improve your overall health and wealth status. You target your resources wisely, investing in those actions that give you measurable results, you evaluate the return on your investment to be sure they will deliver the results you seek.
Even in health management, just as in wealth management, there are finite resources (just 24 hours a day, only so many dollars for….) so you must guard your investments and your splurges.
You have 24 hours in a day. During that time, you care for yourself and your family, your work inside or outside your home, you contribute to your community, you attend school, you run errands…with the same 24 hours that everyone else has.
This chapter will walk you through a plan for improving your health actions so that your overall health also begins to improve. This process is built on the idea of T.I.M.E.© , 4 steps that include
1. the Target for improvement,
2. the Investment in the improvement,
3. the Measures for success (or the return on the investment), and
4. the Evaluation of progress.
You are on a level playing field with every other CEO in the health improvement universe, because you all start with the same number of hours to identify the target, make the investments and move on them, measure your achievement, and create a process for doing better.
These are fundamental decisions for how an organization deploys resources to achieve business objectives. In this case, your business objective is to improve health and wealth in order to achieve your mission, which you identified in the preceding chapter.