It Takes a Team

April 9th, 2015

I have always appreciated the saying “work smarter, not harder” as a truism for our focus and energy expenditure during the working day. It represented the difference between being simply busy and being truly productive in areas that matter. Recently my friend Matt Allman further expounded on this topic by suggesting it isn’t just smarts or what we know that matters; it is wisdom or the application of our knowledge that will create the most significant impact for our lives. Matt’s message struck a chord and inspired this column.

Our knowledge base regarding health and wellness is increasing considerably. We are becoming smarter every day through our exposure to health information in magazines like this, on television, on blogs, from our naturopathic and integrative doctors, through YouTube videos, Facebook and Twitter posts, and on and on and on. My patients often say “Doc, I know what I should be doing. I’m just not doing it.” And the trouble here is that often many of these individuals will continue to search for more information, possibly jumping from one medical office, one gym membership, and one health website to the next always looking for that missing piece of the puzzle that will transform their health. Instead of trying to consistently become smarter regarding health, we must start applying in a wise manner the information we already have. I think the first and most valuable step on this wise journey is the recognition that we are most successful when we walk alongside others. We know we are more effective at work when tasks and responsibilities are delegated between individuals and specific to their strong suits. In a similar manner it takes a team to be healthy.

If you want to transform your health, you need to be wise and begin to build a team that will support you on your journey. To start you must engage your community in your plan. This is as simple as telling the people you spend the most time with – friends, family, and coworkers – that you are tired of waiting to transform your health, you are starting today, and you would like to invite them along beside you. Some individuals may not be eager to come along and that is fine. Express your understanding and thank them for supporting you on your path. Very often those individuals that are reluctant at first will see the progress and benefits you are attaining and ask to participate down the road.

An important component of enrolling others is mutual accountability. The goal is greater health and now with an engaged team you can count on each other to encourage and reinforce the things you already know. This is wise, not just smart. For example it is often a weekly occurrence that individuals will bring donuts or cake to share into the office. When you have mutual health goals and a team supporting you at work, it is easy to make the shift to bring in a veggie tray and some bean dip instead. When you share with your community that you are going to exercise for at least 20 minutes 3 times per week, you can expect to be asked about how it is going. And even better, you may find a new workout buddy to share in your fitness routines.

The pursuit of health is a continuous process. It isn’t something you achieve and then the work is over. Every day we make choices and every choice can either move you closer or further from your health goals. By taking the information we learn, applying it wisely to our own life, and enrolling others in our pursuit of a more healthy life we can assure ourselves success on this journey.

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Posted in Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

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