Join a community wellness group to help you reach your health goals
Plenty of things are more fun when you do them with someone else — but did you know you’re also more likely to reach your health and wellness goals when you harness the power of doing things together by joining a community wellness group?
In his book, “Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions,” John C. Norcross, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and a board-certified clinical psychologist, says one major step is to recruit people who support you in reaching your goal to become part of your “change team.” Norcross, who has been researching how people reach their goals and resolutions for more than 30 years, has found that using this type of social support positively predicts whether you’ll reach your goals. This jives with the well-established Stages of Change (also called the Transtheoretical Model, according to the Boston University School of Public Health), in which helping relationships play a role once a person begins to take action toward a desired change.
So how can a community wellness group help you achieve health goals?
When you announce your health goals to others, along with the steps you’ll take to achieve them, the social risk involved in failing can hold you more accountable to your plan, according to Norcross. Keeping your goal a secret, on the other hand, makes it easier to give up when the going gets tough.
In a wellness community, these helpful others could be cyber-members you meet online or members of a face-to-face local wellness support group. You can also recruit supportive family, friends and co-workers to your “change team.”
Find motivation and information
A wellness community of your own, whether online or in person, can help you freely share your feelings and results, whether good or bad. For example, you may have fears about changing your diet or quitting smoking (or failing to achieve these goals) and need some motivation from someone who’s going through or has been through a similar struggle. Maybe you want to celebrate or receive encouragement from the group when you achieve small successes. Maybe you just need more reputable information to move forward.
A community such as the Reid Health-ier Wellness Club web portal provides members with tools and educational resources, meaning you can customize your own wellness program and even earn points toward incentives that support your wellness goals, such as pedometers, T-shirts and workout equipment.
Get help when and where you need it
Reaching goals can present hurdles, so sometimes you need a little help up. This is especially true when you’re faced with triggers. Triggers are people, circumstances, situations or environments that make you feel like slipping back into your old, unhealthy habits. If you smoked while drinking socially with friends or over your morning coffee, drinking alcohol or coffee can trigger an urge to smoke. Another trigger could be a long commute or seeing an ex-spouse or even traveling for business and staying in a hotel.
Norcross advises recruiting a few different types of helpers on your “change team” who you can reach out to and rely on, depending on your needs. For example, a cybercommunity wellness group is great for crowdsourcing suggestions and experiences any time of day or night. Recruiting others closer to work or home or at a specific support group gives you people to call on the phone or see in person who will be familiar with your efforts.
Reaching out to others is simply a better way to achieve your health and wellness goals, and now, thankfully, there are many choices online for those that can’t get out or would rather not meet with others one-on-one.
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