Positive Steps for Creating Actionable Change in your Health

Posted by Laura Rubin on

It's a new year and this means that a lot of us are focusing on how we can better ourselves in 2023. With momentum around #whole30, #soberjanuary and other clean health programs, people are definitely kickstarting new wellness regimens. Which is great! Yet good intentions often fizzle out. By February, people are ready to tiptoe (or binge) back into their previous habits. Even when we're fiercely focused and determined, it can be hard to accomplish health goals.

After seeing many clients over the last year through my practice as a Clinical Herbalist, I've observed a few trends of where people struggle to make positive health shifts. That's why I'm offering suggestions for what you can do to more realistically accomplish your health goals. Many of these recommendations will seem common-sense.

It's the business of tuning into your body.

Be honest with where you're at. Determine your metrics of success & start in small increments.

This is the first step. It's human nature to want to accomplish everything we're desiring: eat better, workout more, mediate daily, etc. If you're not already engaging in these activties, how you can narrow down your focus to start with 1 or 2? With time, as you build up these new habits, you'll see how you can carve out the path for more.

We often think about what we'd like to accomplish. Yet we can omit what our metrics of success look like. With the example of fitness and running a marathon - is that you want to beat your previous time? Or to be able to run 26.2 miles non-stop? Or maybe you'd be ok not finishing the marathon but you'd love to increase your stamina in running overall. Developing personal metrics of success - just as we do for businesses - is essential for creating change.

Determine your realistic time commitment & budget spend. 

Before you develop a new shift, think honestly about how much time a week you can devote to your efforts. Consider what you can afford each month.

For example, maybe you realistically have 1 hour a day and $100/month to focus on your health and wellness. This gives you insight as to what kinds of activities you can do, what products you'll be using, and where you could be doing these.

I will advocate that investing in preventative health is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself. Putting in the time and energy now will truly help you in the long-run! This said, it's better to be realistic than to overshoot it.

Record what you're doing without judgement. 

This is an area that really trips people up because it can be embarrassing or confronting to acknowledge some of the habits that don't serve us. We're humans - no one's perfect! Reject the notion that you need to be.

Think of this as a data experiment. It's incredibly helpful to record what you're currently doing - both positive and negative. After just one week of recording, the picture will be fairly clear. After 3 weeks, it can be hugely insightful. You don't need to do more than 2-3 weeks of data-tracking. If you're seeking support with your digestive health, I recommend using the app MySymptoms.

Develop a new love interest ... with a plant ally.

Naturally I'm inclined to say this as a Clinical Herbalist and plant lover. I've had the privilege of speaking with a lot of people about their health and eating habits over the the last several years between launching Nurture, working at Bowery Farming & consulting for natural CPG brands. It is truly apparent that we thrive when we develop a connection with a plant in our lives. This could be that you're a #plantparent or getting into #adaptogens or obsessed with kale.

Consider finding a new plant to bond with this year! Personally, I'm really enjoying working with Motherwort, Eleuthero and Cardamom for herbal medicine right now. Happy to share more about the health benefits of these herbs if you're curious.

In Herbalism, there's a phrase we use that goes start low and slow. You don't need to jump in with multiple plant allies. If you just start with one and that works...perfect! Keep at it.

Identify your support network

When I meet with new clients, I always like to ask this question: who are the people in your life that you can call on for support?

If you can't think of close personal connections, that's ok too. There are ways to meet new health buddies through a gym, yoga studio, apps like Noom or even fitness clubs in apps like Strava.

Doing all the work by yourself is hard. Having a fitness or accountability buddy can truly serve you.

Check in with your goals. Celebrate the wins! 

This is a great time for reflection. Think about how often you want to check-in with yourself: daily, weekly, monthly, etc. I like to journal each night and will often record 3 things I'm proud of and 3 things I'm grateful for. These often seem like really small steps, ie. proud of doing the laundry.

With time, you will start to see how much progress you're making. Remember to give yourself credit. And if you haven't hit those goals, then it's an opportunity to reframe them.

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