Resolutions etal. The New Year seems to be just the right time to take charge of your life and make some important resolutions and promises to yourself. Of the many promises that people do to themselves in the New Year the most common and pertinent one is HEALTH. Most of us have made the resolve to be healthier for consecutive number of years , but work and other commitments have almost always overpowered us ….and the plan to be healthier has been pushed forward and continuously postponed.
We all have an innate desire to be more and more fit and healthy because we know that it can be a major differentiator for success and happiness, almost like a survival instinct. But although the desire is strong the goal is seldom attained.
There are various reasons why a large number of us fall short of looking after our health as well as we would have wanted to but the most common one is the absence of a robust plan.
The desire to be healthy leads to a new terminology…Health Management. Like we know that personal finances have to be managed by savings, right investment, filing our taxes and minimizing loans, experts opine that health can be best improved by having a robust health management plan. Let’s have a look at the important components of Health Management:
1. Be Informed: One of the most important aspects of managing your health is having an in depth knowledge about it. We have to know the basics of our vital processes, cardiovascular function, blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, principles of weight management, role of exercise and diet and the play of stress on our physiology.
For example It’s important to know what blood pressure is, how it effects your overall health and how it can be maintained in the prescribed level. Some of us may develop that understanding by reading about it, others may discuss it in a common forum and some may acquire that information by attending sessions on health and wellness.
It also helps to find out a little about major chronic disease and common infections, to take simple effective step to protect yourself from them.
2. Identify your poison: It is imperative that you pinpoint your most important health concern. There is no point in going to a gym and trying to make muscles when you are overweight and obese. If you carry excess baggage in the form of weight rest assured any effort at improving your health is going to fall flat unless you reach a correct weight for your height and age.
Similarly if your blood sugars are high and your eating habits are irregular and poor your first correction will be to eat in a disciplined manner and work on your daily schedule so that your sugars can be managed with little or no medication…because as we all know high blood sugar can ruin your vital organs and only exercise may not be sufficient to manage your blood glucose levels.
3. Set short term and long term realistic goals: If you have never exercised and never seen a doctor to assess your health, it’s high time to realize that being healthy comes by design and not by default. Design your journey to better health, just as you would have made a quarterly and yearly plan for achieving your professional targets.
Make a plan for changes in your daily schedule such as going to bed early and getting up early, because le’ts accept it: a healthy schedule is a primary ingredient for your overall health. Make changes in your daily schedule. A good sleeping plan ensures you are up early and voila you have time to exercise, to cook and eat a healthy breakfast and go to work on time in turn keeping you away from mental stress.
Set monthly or quarterly goals for weight loss and fitness. Talk to yourself about how much more stamina can you have by the next six months…..if you are walking you could graduate to jogging and a little running, if you have sweet tooth how much can you go down on sugar in the next three months in a gradual fashion .
Also if you are on medication or pills for your BP, sugar, cholesterol or even on Vitamin D supplementation, make long term plans for weaning yourself away from these drugs or tapering them gradually. Improving your health by everyday and consistent changes in your routine will decrease your dependence on drugs and help you manage your physiological parameters much better.
4. Find a Mentor: As a Management principle, the role of a mentor/ buddy is considered a key element in your professional journey. Similarly a mentor, essentially a health care practitioner can be your guiding force in managing your health better. From a physician, nutritionist, naturopath a yoga guru to your gym trainer ….identify the person who you would like to be your partner in the road to good health. Find a person who is competent, reachable, persuasive and knowledgeable. Try to share your aspirations and health goals with your mentor and make him your guide and companion in the journey. You need not go to a big name or a super specialist for the same, instead identify a person whose understanding of health is thorough and is equally approachable.
It is equally important to not trust your health in the hands of crooks and un-qualified people.
With people becoming more conscious about health, there is an increase in the number fraudulent wellness and health centers, the sole objective of which is revenue generation and this is done by the marketing principles of luring customers into unreal and unnatural results.
Do not get trapped in a faulty system or with an under qualified health professional. Choose your mentor wisely and let him be the boss of your health management exercise.
5. Use technology for your benefit: A lot of things can help us stick to a plan and achieve our goals, one of which is constant supervision. Advancement in health based mobile applications and gadgets can provide information, map or monitor your progress and suggest corrections or improvements in your plan.
There are apps and platforms such that can be used to monitor your running, biking or walking on a treadmill. They reflect your heart capacity, endurance and calories consumed during the work out. There are apps that can decode your diet plan when you feed in your food consumption details and compare your calorie and fat intake with the ideal diet for you.
There is no dearth of wearable gadgets that monitor your exercise and diet pattern and they can be really handy to both map and store long term data that can be interpreted to see graphs and patterns in your behavior to health.
A very potent example is a wearable gadget that checks if you have taken a minimum of 10,000 steps in the day now considered a gold standard for a healthy heart.
6. Review and Course Correct: You may have planned your goals to the tee , gathered sufficient information and found just the right buddy for managing your health….but the journey may not be as fruitful as it was planned.
Rethink your plan …are you trying too much too soon, are you looking at all aspects of health at the same time making it an real goal, is your plan faulty or to difficult to adhere to, is the quest for good health adding more mental stress countering the goodness of the effort, does the whole thing make you generally unhappy…if yes review your plan.
The key is to take it easy, work on health gradually and keep patting yourself for every small and big correction and keep going.
A good judge of your plan is your family and friends, do take their inputs seriously and see if they could help you identify any faults in your plan. Listen to your gut feeling cos nobody knows your body like your own body …so have faith.
No goals are accomplished in life without effective planning and execution. And when it comes to one of the most basic and important goal of your life…physical and mental health, plan it well and follow it religiously. There are no shortcuts to good health and Health Management should be a priority for every single individual.