Create Your Health Plan

Start Simply & Build on Your Successes

There is no doubt there is room for us to improve how we take care of ourselves. In the United States, 80 percent of illness is thought to be preventable.

How we eat, how much we exercise, our addictions, our stress levels, our environment, how we relate to others and many other factors influence how we feel and the health we experience.

However, contemplating change can feel like a non-starter for all of us.

It is not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed when they are paying close attention to their health. Contemplating where to start – with our diet, exercise, sleep, stress, the external environment, spirituality, emotional health, mood, and so many other factors elements can feel like there is simply too much.

We suggest:

Start simply and build on your successes. Give yourself points for showing up! That is your first success. Each day that you take another step, is another success. Before you know it, you will be on your way to achieving your goals.

Be kind and compassionate with yourself. Trying to whip ourselves into shape and criticizing ourselves is not healthy. An important first step is to accept yourself exactly where you are.

Accepting things, as they are in the present moment, does not mean you become stuck there. However, you have to know where you are before you can go anywhere else.

Find joy in the journey. You want to have greater health because it is can lead to a fuller life and more happiness. Getting there should also be enjoyable. It is about gains, not sacrifices!

Take a holistic view. Often, an entire array of health concerns can stem from one underlying cause. Depression can lead to many physical symptoms. Traumatic experiences in childhood or adulthood can cause any number of health problems. As you explore your health needs, keep asking if you need to ‘go deeper.’

It is not an “all or nothing” deal. A day (or even a week) of not exercising doesn’t mean failure. A high-calorie meal is not the end of that diet. There are always ups and downs and mistakes and glitches.

It is your choice. Decide what works for you. When you choose to set your priorities you experience control. And with control comes hope and empowerment!

Trust in a variety of ways of knowing what you need. Ask questions and learn from experts. Read reliable resources. Engage in health care and get your recommended screenings. But also consider what you can learn from your journal? Listen to what your gut instincts tell you and pay attention to what does your body tells you. And talk it through with people you trust.

Go to our library to download COPE’s personal health plan tool.