When we think of health and wellness, we think about the body, but a holistic approach includes our mental and spiritual health as well. See how to create realistic plans and goals of a robust wellness plan.
Your Whole Health Goal
A holistic wellness plan includes goals for the body, mind, and spirit. We have one that corresponds directly with the six dimensions of wellness defined by the World Health Organization (1).
Maximizing your health requires a plan and some diligent effort, but the results are worth it. Everything we do depends on our level of health and wellness, the healthier we are, the more options we have. Dr. Hettler (of the WHO) gives us six dimensions of wellness:
To streamline the process of creating and maintaining a holistic health plan, we combine the above six dimensions into three. Using three dimensions makes it easier to create realistic plans and goals:
Here’s how we combine them. The occupational dimension reflects both our physical and mental health. The physical, social, and intellectual dimensions show up in physical and mental health dimensions. And our Social, intellectual, and spiritual via the spiritual category. See, that was easy.
To create an actionable whole health goal, you to follow three steps. Then you’ll do it again at least once a year to update and maintain the plan. You’ll likely do it more often if you have significant health changes.
1) Assess Your Health
2) Create Realistic Plans and Goals
3) Work the Plan and Adjust as Needed
Assess Your Health
Maximizing your health requires an honest assessment of your current state. It does take some time and effort, but the results are worth the investment. Don’t rush to create a plan before completing an assessment. And above all, don’t ignore the results of the assessment process.
1) Assess Physical and Mental Health
You can assess physical and mental wellness is by using free online health assessment tools like these:
For a more accurate assessment of your physical health, see your physician and get a regular checkup. Ask them for trusted sources where you can assess your health and wellness. Some health clubs also offer physical fitness assessments. These tests are very helpful, and often include submerged BMI measurements, cardio, strength, and flexibility fitness. If there’s a charge for this assessment, it’s well worth the investment.
To assess your mental wellness again, we recommend one or two of the free online resources:
2) Assess Spiritual Wellness
Spiritual wellness deals with our spiritual beliefs and mindset, which permeates our thinking and values. So our spiritual wellness also impacts our mental health. Spiritual beliefs drive values and behaviors which affect everyone in our sphere of influence. If your beliefs are positive, you will exhibit compassion, giving, and caring behaviors. These positive behaviors help to shape our culture. But if your beliefs are negative, then you will exhibit selfishness, bigotry, and hatred.
When we assess our spiritual wellness, we are evaluating the components and health of our personality and instincts. The best tools for this kind of analysis is the Enneagram of Personality Profile. It uses a questionnaire to provide a template to understanding these elements of Ego (2). The best tests have over 100 questions and will yield more accurate results. The Enneagram can show you the patterns of healthy and unhealthy thinking for your personality type. This helps you to identify and repair negative thought distortions.
One way to assess spiritual wellness is to identify the level of harmful cultural programming in our worldview. Cultural programming can override our ability to use common sense. It can set up boundaries or beliefs that prevent you from seeing the truth and motivate you to defend your beliefs with violence. Here are three questions that can help you understand the level of your religious programming.
- First, do you believe you are among the “chosen ones” who get preferential treatment from God?
- Second, are the problems of the world caused by people from backgrounds that do not mirror yours? Are people with different religions the problem? Are people with different lifestyles, sexual preferences, ethnic or racial backgrounds the problem?
- Third, if you have religious beliefs, do they justify or obligate you to defend them? Does this defense justify harming others who don’t hold the same opinions?
The Key to Spiritual Assessment
If you answer yes to one of these questions, it is a sign that religious programming is affecting your thinking and values to some extent. You may support bias and discrimination because you think your beliefs make you special or superior.
Some cultures indoctrinate children as part of their growth sustainment strategy. We are sorry if you can relate to being brainwashed as a child. Other people join a religion when they are in some kind of crisis. However, now that you realize the consequences of harmful beliefs, it is your responsibility to fix them. You know, a worldview based on negative bias and prejudice affects the world.
If you answer yes to two of these questions, it is a sign that religious programming has a significant impact on your life. Your Religion is likely your identity.
As a dedicated follower, you are susceptible to groupthink manipulation tactics. Exposure to this kind of propaganda make bias and discrimination a part of your accepted worldview. You may engage in arguments about why your beliefs are superior. It will be challenging move beyond the boundaries of your current belief system. However, the answers to the questions indicates your worldview needs improvement. To make your worldview positive, you’ll need to eliminate or minimize exposure to religious propaganda.
If you answer yes to all three questions, it is a sign that religious programming controls your identity, thinking, and values. You consider yourself as being a chosen one. You use your religion to justify acts of violence. Your religious beliefs also likely and promote forms of religious, ethnic, and racial discrimination. It includes prejudice against those who have different values and lifestyles. You label yourself as a religious fundamentalist.
“If I am right, then (religious fundamentalists) will not go to Heaven, because there is no Heaven. If they are right, then they will not go to Heaven, because they are hypocrites.” — Isaac Asimov
Maximizing your health will be difficult because you are not open to positive change. It is nearly impossible for any facts or logical arguments to change your indoctrination level. It is possible, but probably only with help. You’ll need help because your identity is your religion. These tactics are part of the tactics of groupthink manipulation. These tactics make you reject any facts or logic that contradict your worldview.
Many people find the assessment section the most challenging part of creating a whole health goal plan. You need to know where you are. That way, you can build a plan that fits your needs. Now on to the next section, we will address ways to correct our physical, mental, and spiritual wellness trajectory.
How to Create Realistic Plans and Goals
1) Set SMART Plans and Goals
All the goals in your plan should be SMART goals. SMART is an acronym to remind of the best way to set goals. SMART goals are the most direct way to create positive behaviors.
Put your goals in writing. When you document them, you are 50% more likely to reach them. Set them as reminders on your smartwatch. Put them on sticky notes; it’s key to maximizing your health plans.
SMART goals are:
- Realistic and
Break long-term goals into short-term benchmarks. Short goals are easier to attain and give you momentum toward the bigger picture. It also gives you a reason to celebrate the incremental steps that you are accomplishing.
Tailor your whole health goal and plans for the time you can budget. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans. Your health goals will change and that’s okay. The important thing is to keep working on your health plan. You will have setbacks, and sometimes you will not always meet the goals. Start small with two or three things. Maximizing your health is a continual process. When you create realistic plans and goals, you are more likely to reach the objectives you set.
2) Set the Goals for Physical Wellness
Seek advice on developing the correct type of scalable exercise program. Our physical wellness affects every aspect of our lives. You’ll need to create an exercise plan with the proper focus. We think durability is an excellent overall goal because it expresses the need to handle the unpredictable. The physical health goal of durability has a list of additional suggestions.
3) Set Goals for Mental Health
Self-care is the heart of a mental health plan. Self-care is as important as any other element of your health plan. So, include the right ingredients. If you are under the care of a physician, follow their advice. Let them help you with designing the right plan.
A realistic plan with SMART goals will enable you to achieve the overall balanced, holistic goal.
Exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body. It is only as efficient as its ability to learn and think clearly. Our culture tells us what to know but never tells us how to learn. Learning how to learn is the first step in developing your mind.
4) Set Goals for Spiritual Wellness
Spiritual wellness is the realm of consciousness; it relates to our spirit or soul. When you set objectives for improving spiritual health, it’s important to create realistic plans and goals. Sure, your ultimate goal is to be enlightened like Buddha, but start with small goals like meditating 10 minutes a day.
We’ve identified nine essential elements that affect a healthy spiritual life. If you use them in the right proportions, you’ll get the best results. The practice of the methods we call spiritual exploration will expedite your spiritual wellness. These processes are the opposite end of the spiritual continuum from religion.
The three dominant religions boast a combined membership of half of the world’s population. These are the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Because they are so dominant, they influence the culture and how many people think.
People are not to question what the leaders of these institutions say. It makes any direct discussion of their beliefs difficult. One way to have a meaningful debate is through a comparative analysis process. It’s a structured method for comparative religious studies. However, it would be best if you learned to question the cultural narrative.
Work Your Plan and Adjust as Needed
Put all these together, and you have a holistic approach to increasing our wellness. When we combine these elements in the right proportion for our needs, we have our whole health goal.
Many people do well in assessing their current position and creating plans and goals. However, they execute on the health plans they have set. Procrastination can be hard to overcome. People are afraid they won’t do it right. Perfectionism is the other obstacle. Tell yourself you don’t have to be perfect. You can create realistic plans and goals, but failing to execute will never yield results. Be gentle with yourself and start over as many times as needed.
Maximizing your health requires a balance of all three dimensions. If you have problems attaining balance, start over again with the assessment. Dig deeper into your thinking with the use of analytical tools like the Enneagram, Comparative Analysis and the Logical tools.
The most important thing is starting. Don’t wait another day. Start your plan, knowing that you are likely to run into issues. You don’t have to be perfect. Take the pressure off of yourself. Work your schedule as best as you can. Some days are easier than others. Record and celebrate everything you do in your whole health goal.
Think of it more like surfing. When you surf a wave, you must make constant adjustments to stay in balance. It’s not like a train on the train tracks. You can’t just start the engine and be confident that you will reach the destination. When you are surfing, you need to pay attention and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. If you fall, and you will, get back up and try another wave.
Maximizing Your Health
Major health issues are a reminder that we need to attend to our wellness. So a health plan is a way of identifying and correcting problems when they are small. A healthy mind, body, and spirit do not happen by accident. The level of our overall wellness depends on the attention we give to fixing and balancing it. If you have any ideas to help, please leave a comment (please use the contact link).
(1) The World Health Organization: https://www.who.int
(2) The Wisdom of the Enneagram, The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/311053.The_Wisdom_of_the_Enneagram
(3) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces