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Action Plan to Wellness

The popular movie “The Wizard of Oz” has a well-known song – “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” sung by Munchkins who offer five words of advice. They tell Dorothy in little magical voices to Follow the Yellow Brick Road and repeat the word “Follow” five more times.

Aside from assuring Dorothy the yellow bricks will take her to a wonderful wizard, “…who is wonderful because of the wonderful things he does,” the munchkins don’t offer much more of what the road may hold for Dorothy.  However, Dorothy has powerful Ruby Red Slippers to protect her on the journey and takes off in search of OZ and finding the wizard who will get her home.

WOW what a story – imagine following pretty yellow stepping-stones and arriving at Wellnessville where all dreams and desires happen by a wizard?  Stop Dreaming – Your “Road” to wellness requires more than Ruby Slippers, it requires personal action.

An earlier post, “Assessing Wellness”  illustrated a Wheel of Life as a method of determining where one is across many personal dimensions. The wheel displays a visual of how a life is functioning – smooth, choppy, or in need of a major overhaul. This second tool, your Action Plan, consists of taking a few wheel pieces and deciding how to create change. Even though you may select only one or two pieces to focus on, improving one area of your life elevates overall wellness.

Action planning can be as simple as listing items that you would like to work on with an associated completion date. If working with a coach, the list would contain at least three pieces – What are you going to do, When are you going to do it, and How will you communicate to your coach you completed the action.

ACTION PLANNING to FOLLOW YOUR ROAD

TO DO When I will Do it How to communicate
1. Exercise 3 times a week Mon, Wed, Fri I will email my coach MWF
2. Oatmeal for bfast each morning M-F M, T,W, T, F Text a pic each morning to coach

Action plans require reflection on past personal practices and current life situations. Often times a negative health diagnosis, stress of a job, unexpected weight gain, or wanting to look good to attend a wedding will prompt a strong desire to change and setting an action plan will become your road map to wellness.

Action planning only works when actions happen and holding the coachee accountable to actions, timelines, and evidence of forward movement allows for success of personal goals. 

Follow Your Own Road and color the bricks whatever color you want – just “FOLLOW” your action plan with accountability and you will reach OZ.

“Good luck and while you are there tell the Wizard I said hello!

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Change Theories

Change theories inform people and organizations on how to break habits, addictions, patterns, and provide steps on how to elevate life, work, and play.  Some theories provide frameworks to follow, others provide probing questions to reflect on dimensions of a typical day, week, process, procedure, and some theories illustrate how change may not be a viable option at the present time.

Regardless of which theory is used a few baseline realities of change include: change is a process, change involves the individual and others related to the individual, change is personal, change involves developmental and behavioral growth, change is best understood in operational terms through anecdotal and evaluative measures, and successful change needs to be celebrated.

Taking Charge

One model used for implementing an innovation is the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (C-BAM) typically used in education and organizational settings.  This theory blends in 3 elements of a change: 1.)the innovation, 2.)people's attitudes and behaviors towards the innovation, and 3.)the level of use of the innovation.  Often change is quickly implemented without forethought of who it affects, the attitudes that may be surrounding the change, and how it will be evaluated over time - this model takes into account all of the variables up front and plans with the end in mind. 

Uncovering Gremlins

Personal or professional change involves others and it involves gremlins - those internal creatures who self-sabotage.  No matter where change is wanted; at work, home, or socially, gremlins will attend and reap havoc sometimes derailing any forward progress or worse stopping the change in its' tracks.  In Rick Carson's book "Taming Your Gremlin," the person or organization who wants to change begins the journey by simply breathing and noticing.  Noticing habits, assumptions, blocks, behaviors, and the gremlins associated to those areas.  The journey continues into becoming open and playing with options, visualizing, and strategies to meet the gremlins along the way. Carson ends the story suggesting the final steps are to be constantly in process (as all change is) to sustain change: breathe, take notice, play with options, while becoming adept in delivering a personal mantra which keeps your gremlin at rest.

Stepping Out or Not

 The Transtheoretical Model of Change , also known as Stages of Change provides a methodology that supports and understands the spiral process of intentional behavior change. The researchers (James Prochaska, John Norcross, Carlo DiClemente) who created the theory of change broke away from change as linear to change as an evolving spiral process.  The spiral did not always go in one direction, as the process could go backwards and then forwards or possibly backwards and stall.  The six (6) stages that make up the model include 1.) Pre-Contemplation, 2.) Contemplation, 3.) Preparation, 4.)Action, 5.) Maintenance, 6.) Termination.  The most noticeable first stage of pre-contemplation is where denial and no intention to change are evident.  If one gets to stage 2 of contemplation then an acknowledgment of the need for change has been stated but not necessarily any movement to prepare for change as in Stage 3.  People who have addictive behaviors, suffer from chronic illnesses, or who are not decision makers may go between stages 1 and 2 for a period of time until something triggers a desire to move forward.  Once preparation and action occur and change is perceived as helpful and successful the stages continue into the critical Stage of maintenance.  It is in this stage that a relapse can occur and a jumpstart of stages 3-5 must be revisited.  

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