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The Four Things I've Learned on My Way to Wellness

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

Years and hundreds if not thousands of dollars’ worth of gym memberships, "healthy" shakes and supplements that, you guessed it, never worked, and other chronic occurrences in the last decade or so led to frustration and feeling stuck with my health. So, I'd love to share some valuable things I finally learned on this latest little wellness excursion I embarked upon a couple of years ago after struggling with some health issues a few years prior to that.

Most of us make some drastic changes to our lifestyle only after some significant low point and that's sort of what happened in my case as well. Besides the issues I just mentioned, which we’ll go into another time, I struggled with other things. Perhaps the most significant one was overworking, which led to lack of physical exercise, lack of energy and ultimately chronic burnout.

Playing sports, specifically tennis, was always a big part of my life growing up. Coaching tennis became my full-time job through my late teens and twenties and on and off through my thirties. Even after having my 3 kids, I could say I bounced right back to some of my fittest and healthiest years by playing and coaching tennis.

Then, I made the decision to go to graduate school and work. So, 3 kids under four (complete with nursing, potty training, entertaining, and educating), graduate classwork, and an amazing job opportunity, was pretty much the beginning of that very slow but very steady downward spiral. It took about a decade, a couple of promotions and a couple of medical diagnoses to lead to that cold turkey decision to go back to a life of wellness as I was approaching 40.

Now don't get me wrong, I am beyond proud of my graduate education and my professional career. Those were amazing years of growth, amazing experiences, and professional success I still enjoy today. I just definitely needed a big reset in my mindset, both for physical and mental wellness, and to develop a healthier relationship with work.

So, me being me... once I committed, I read and researched and read some more and I'm still reading and researching all I can about wellness, fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and mindset, which, no surprise; it's all connected. It all goes hand in hand.

The great news is there is no shortage of content to learn from in the fitness/wellness/nutrition industry. It is, after all, a multi-billion-dollar industry with plenty of professionals each dedicated to different specific expertise. The not-so-great news is there is no shortage of content or professionals out there with different specific expertise.

So, in my educational quest, I quickly realized that for every piece of advice you come across, there is a counter advice pretty much telling you the exact opposite.

You have professional A telling you “You must do these things for X results…” then, you turn around and you have professional B saying, “if you’ve been doing these things to get X results, you’ve been doing it wrong!” Then, you have professional C having a third thing to say about it all.

And the more I read, the more videos I watched, and the more research I did, the more I started to realize I was back to square one; not really knowing specifically what to do, where to start, what to commit to.

Now, I think it’s human nature to want to find the thing, right? The one thing I need to do to get to my goal weight, my ultimate fittest, my ultimate healthiest. Just give me a list! From A to Z and tell me exactly how long it will take to get there. Oh, and please say it will be insanely quickly.

The thing is that this whole wellness deal is not a one size fits all. There is no single formula to plug and play. I know that should be obvious, but, most often, it isn’t. For me, that was both the toughest and the most liberating thing to realize. You can’t just copy exactly what someone else is doing and expect their exact results. That was soul crushing because that would be a simple thing to do. However, at the same time, it was such a relief to finally see that the reason I wasn’t getting results wasn’t because there was something wrong with me. It is really a trial-and-error journey you must be willing to endure to find just what will work for you.

What Works

Here are 4 things that kept showing up consistently in my research, which can serve as gauges, if you will. You can monitor and rely on them, so no matter how you design your own wellness routine, if you apply these 4 pillars, the chances for success increase exponentially.

  1. Accountability – develop a system for showing up every day. Whether you schedule it in your planner, post about it so others keep you accountable or pair up with an accountability partner, make sure you choose something that works for you to keep you honest.

  2. Consistency – tracking your activities daily and accurately is key. If you stuck to your plan that day, document it. If you didn’t, be honest and document that, too. The one thing to avoid is to be a month in and rely on memory because you’ll either be very hard on yourself and feel like you had zero consistency, or very generous and feel like you killed it! Being consistent and honest about how consistent you’re being is really the only way to figure out if your plan is working.

  3. Patience – whatever plan you commit to, do it for a significant amount of time. What is a significant amount of time? I’ve seen ranges anywhere from 30 to 90 days before you can decide if you’re on the right track. Could it happen sooner? Of course! But can start to see progress sooner than that. But finding something you like that you can stick to, finetune it to your needs, and finally see progress, takes time and patience.

  4. Community – team up with people who have similar goals, desire to learn, and willingness to help. Having a community where you can get inspiration, share challenges, exchange knowledge, and just have fun, truly makes a difference. We tend to overlook this as part of our education, but this is one powerful free resource we should take advantage of more often.

The next few posts in this series will go a bit deeper into specific topics related to nutrition, exercise, and mindset, all with content I’ve learned from some of my favorite sources out there. I will also share my challenges with overworking, chronic burnout, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices and how I was able to overcome them.

My hope is that the content you find here serves as just another source of information from a different perspective because I’ve found that you can hear the same advice in different ways from many different people before someone presents it in a way that finally just clicks. More importantly, I hope you find this as a source of motivation to get you on your own way to wellness.

Thank you so much for spending time here. I’ll see you next time! Until then, express gratitude often, pay it forward when you can, and be kind to everyone… especially yourself.

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