It feels great when we have all the answers and actually, we know more than we think we do. Often, we just don't stop long enough to recognise it, especially when we're so busy doing one thing after another that we've forgotten to step back, re-evaluate priorities and ensure we're looking after ourselves from time to time, even though we know how important it is.
Which brings me to an interesting chat I had with a friend recently about the value of doing a "life audit" every now and again to check whether what you're doing is giving you what you want from life, or is at least taking you in the right direction rather than making you run around in ever-decreasing circles to keep everything going. And in this exam, you have all the answers to hand, which is a fantastic starter for 10!
So here we go, life students, fingers on buzzers....
What does good health mean to you; in other words, what does it look, sound and feel like? What could you be doing if you were in the best of health?
If you were to rate your health today on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best ever and 1 being "scrape me off the floor, I can't go on"), where are you right now? Draw this scale on a large sheet of paper and mark where you are so you can take it in visually. Mark where you want to be too. That's your aim.
What 1 small, achievable thing could you change right now that would help to nudge you up the scale towards where you want to be? For example, it could be as simple as giving yourself a 10-minute feet-up break in the afternoon, knowing that you'll have much more energy for the rest of the day if you were to do this every day. Result!
Knowing it will make you feel better, what stops you from taking action and what do you need to do, by when, to help you move past this hump in the road? In our example above, it might mean changing your routine to ensure you're in the vicinity of a sofa at a particular time, putting your phone on silent and closing your eyes to any visible tasks awaiting your attention. Write the action down under your chart, highlight it however creatively and attention-grabbingly you can - and put your "chartwork" where you can see it (the fridge door is a good place, I've never yet gone a day without opening it at least once!).
How will you know that your health is improved from taking this action? (Taking our example above, it might be that you realise your legs no longer ache all evening from being on your feet all day long). See, hear and feel how good you'll be feeling when you've done it so that your subconscious is motivated towards helping you achieve it. Generally speaking, anticipating pleasure as opposed to fearing unpleasant outcomes is a more effective - and enjoyable - motivator.
Take your action and repeat daily for a month (the amount of time it takes the brain to instil a new habit properly). Record your progress towards better health on your "chartwork". Give yourself a pat on the back for doing so well!
Once you've taken one small change in the direction you want to go and you can see and feel the results, it can spur you on to find other ways to feel better. This will ensure that your energy is expended in the most effective and enjoyable ways (or E = E2 as Einstein might have said, whereby you find more energy than you ever thought you had). You may not win any trophies for "getting it right" in this quiz but you most definitely will enjoy more Zest for Life!