Many organizations have strategies for marketing, finances, sales, operations, etc. They know what they want, and they plan to achieve it. They set milestones and check progress regularly to determine that they are still on course. Why shouldn’t each of us have a personal strategic health plan to do the same?
After all, we are looking at our future. We plan to have some level of financial freedom upon retirement. Why not have the personal freedom to do what you want when you retire? What is required to develop a personal health strategy?
I think you should know where you are, and where you want to go before you sit down and start planning. If you are overweight and a smoker who doesn’t exercise, then you know exactly where you are starting – behind the power curve, so to speak.
What is your current health? What prescription medicines are you taking? Is there any plan to get off those medicines? Did you have an annual physical last year? How do you define your lifestyle? You need clarity regarding where you are starting.
Your lifestyle impacts your health. The daily choices (and non-choices) determine your future health. What foods do you eat? Do you prepare them at home? What exercises do you do? How often? Are you aware of the toxins in your life? How often do you manage your stress? How is your mental state? How are your relationships? There are many aspects to define your lifestyle.
Let’s assume for a moment that you are in decent health and you have regularly scheduled annual physicals. You know your blood pressure and weight history. You know your use of alcohol and other substances. You know your vision and hearing history. You know the results of the blood tests. You know if you do monthly self-exams. You know your vaccine status. There is a lot of information available to you to make a plan.
How many of those annual test results are outside the normal range. Did your doctor offer any guidance to bring those results back into the normal range?
It is your immune system that keeps you healthy. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies over time lead to disease. Balanced nutrition is a key metric for your strategic plan. Exercise and stress relief are nearly as important as your nutrition. It’s hard to say one is more important that the other.
Toxins impact our health daily in the foods we eat, and the personal care products we use. Do you know how to identify toxins on product labels? Sleep is critical for great health. How effective is your sleep? What options can improve it?
Are you depressed over anything? Is it related to finances, work, relationships, etc.? Is there something that can be done to reduce the level of depression or anxiety? Exercise is a powerful mediator of stress and depression. So is elimination of grains and dairy from your diet. Emotional and mental health are important to include in your planning.
Happiness is hard to measure for some people. Yet, there are aspects of spiritual health and relational health that improve happiness. Expectations determine your happiness. What are your expectations? Are they set too high, or too low?
A personal strategic plan is something that requires a lot of thought and clarity about where you are, where you are going, and what you are going to measure along the way. It is never too late to start. At least, define where you are today!