If you would have asked me 12 months ago, “How are you doing physically?” I would have fumbled about for an answer. To be honest, I’m glad that no one actually asked me that question. But, looking back, if I had answered honestly, I would have said, “Not great.”
The condition of my body at that time had significantly affected my sense of well-being, i.e. the state of my happiness, comfort and self-image.
I was not crushing it.
This idea, that we need to pay attention to our well-being so that we can take steps toward improving it, is one I want to focus on this summer. I introduced the idea last week in my newsletter and blog. If you missed it, here’s a quick review.
When asked, most people respond to the simple “How are you?” question with one of these four levels of self-assessment: “I’m not well.” “I’m ok.” “I’m good!” or “I’m great!” Those responses reflect the real condition of their well-being. They’re either struggling, subsisting, satisfied or soaring.
Those four levels of well-being – struggling, subsisting, satisfied or soaring – are formed by these 6 key life factors:
Your physical health
Your inner world (mind, heart & soul)
Your sense of order (vs. chaos and disarray)
Your purpose (including work and career)
This summer I want to talk about each. Let’s begin with physical health.
As I said, when it came to the condition of my body, in the past year I was struggling. At the risk of over sharing, I was suffering from 2 digestive issues, a skin condition and higher-than-normal blood pressure. There were some days I was just miserable. In addition, due to stress and fog eating I had reached my highest-ever weight. My clothes didn’t fit. I hated my profile. I felt gross.
My well-being was, at best, meh. At least everything else in the world was fine. (eye-roll emoji)
Two months ago, I was doing some life-coaching with a young man, offering him insights on how he could improve in those 6 Key Life Factors.
It was there, in that coffee shop I had one of those “oh, crud!” moments. I realized, of course, that I could not coach him to a place I had not gone. Plus, I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. So, my summer of physical improvement began. And by “began”, I mean it is still very much in process. I’m not looking for a quick fix. I am shooting for a new normal in the way I eat and exercise. I used to roll my eyes when someone would suggest I needed to “establish a new relationship with food.” Well, I’m not scoffing at that now.
(CAVEAT: this next paragraph may sound like a commercial. It isn’t. It’s just what I found that is helping me.)
In the last few months, I had been hearing a lot of buzz about Noom and their “psychology based approach” to weight loss and fitness. I am all about the science, so I investigated it. Turns out it really connected with me. And I loved their nifty app! I’ll spare you the details unless you really want to know how it works (shoot me an email). But what it has done is make me mindful. Or, to use my phraseology, helped me pay attention…to my feelings, my environment, my knowledge about nutrition, and my motivations.
That right there – mindfulness or paying attention – is the essential first ingredient of nailing all 6 Key Life Factors. As a matter of fact, it is the essential first ingredient in leveling up in your well-being.
Pay attention to your physical health.
Pay attention to your inner world.
Pay attention to the order or lack of it in your life.
Pay attention to your finances.
Pay attention to your relationships.
Pay attention to your purpose, calling and work.
Most people do not pay attention to those key life factors unless there is a crisis. Then it’s a crazed panic of activity to fix it. If only…
If only we would pay attention in a strategic way. If only we would establish simple rhythms of mindfulness that generate life-changing actions. It is possible. And I’ve got a way to show you how to go about that. Stay tuned.
But, for today can we join each other’s team? Can we break out the pom poms and cheer each other on in our quest for well-being? I need you to remind me to get the salad instead of the fries. I need you to ask me if I made it to the gym or walked that week.
Our well being begins with paying attention, but it is sustained by the encouragement of our people.
You can do this. I’m for you and with you!