Tag Archives: self-improvement

A Clean Slate, Or Is It?


I’m always fascinated about trends, especially in the health and wellness industry. Coming from a background in public health and working in various sectors, including managing an employee wellness program, there were always conversations about the new “it” thing that’s “life changing.” But, at its core, most things are just that, trends. The underlying motivations to improve or change one’s life is what’s really important to understand. Brands such as hims and Russell Wilson’s Good Man Brand provide a platforms for education and engagement on relevant health issues. The search for understanding human behaviors is what ultimately piques my interest.

A few of Well + Good’s top 18 of 2018 fitness and wellness trends that caught my eye:

Self-care is not an indulgence

High-tech sleep science in the bedroom

Analog destinations to unplug are the new “it” spots

The examples above fall under lifestyle changes, specifically on the ever elusive work-life balance sweet spot working professionals are always striving to achieve. While work-life balance is highly personalized, the fundamental question is true for everyone: how should I prioritize my time to maximize my productivity in professional and personal fulfillment? And what better time to ask this fundamental question than on the first few days of the new year.

Lindsay Jean Thomson, a regular contributor on Medium, offered an alternative to the annual resolution-setting ritual. In her piece, she encourages her readers to set a theme for the year rather than a goal-oriented resolution. This strategy empowers readers to focus on an improvement in lifestyle over singular goals.

New year’s resolutions such as losing weight or training for a marathon are admirable. Ms. Thomson also points out that only 8% of people actually keep them. By focusing on a theme or vision of how each of us wants to live in 2018 (and beyond), it provides a road map that can be a source of constant feedback and adjustment. It forces us to pay more attention to our behaviors, and maybe, just maybe, it forces us to examine the underlying motivations for said behaviors.

Unfortunately, no one really has a silver bullet answer or life hack that translates to conquering work-life balance. That answer lies within each of us and is a moving target. It is an evolving process of self-awareness, reflection, and readjustment. For that reason, the best advice I can pass on is from Ms. Thomson:

“Whether you choose a resolution, a vision, a theme, or something else, be kind to yourself — because it’s not just about what you do, but how you do it.”

Here’s wishing each of you an introspective, intentional, and personally fulfilling 2018. And remember, nothing worth doing is ever easy.


Insanely Aware


July 7, 2014

There’s a saying that a person who does the same thing day in and day out, all while expecting different results, is insane.  In the case of the unhappy employee, making a living and supporting himself, does this still ring true?

Arianna Huffington recently wrote a piece in LinkedIn discussing the growing support for corporate wellness programs.  Ms. Huffington describes, through many sources – anecdotal, case-studies and peer-reviewed journal articles – the beneficial effects on employees and companies.

Key findings were increased productivity and a reduction in various operating expenses (ie health insurance premiums).  A lower bottom line?  Tell me more!  At least that’s what my mind conjures up during that aha moment in a meeting with CEOs and other key leadership decision makers.  The evidence is coming in that an investment in employees actually pays off in the long term.  And that’s attractive for any business.

The article quoted an employee from the software company, SAS, which was quite remarkable.  Essentially the employee appreciated the amount of flexibility SAS empowered him to manage his time effectively and responsibly – taking a break to visit his kid at school – without a loss in productivity.  Imagine working in that type of environment and think how content employees would be working for a company like that.  SAS boasts one of the lowest turnover rates in the country at 4%.  Low turnover means less work for HR to process new and exiting employees, and ultimately lower costs.  It also frees them up to focus on the needs of their existing employees – how to keep them healthy and productive.

Let’s circle back to the unhappy employee.  First things first, what’s causing this unhappiness or discontent?  Is it directly related to work or is it a personal issue?  Awareness, both on an individual-level and one’s surrounding environment, is absolutely crucial in making any progress.  One strategy that has worked for me, and a number of individuals I have coached in the past, is a 30-day period of hyper-awareness and self-reflection.  Keeping emotional tabs – a journal, electronic log on a smartphone, tablet or laptop – a few times a day can offer great insight.  Especially when associating the emotion with an event, project, person, place, etc.  One such tool was developed recently (full disclosure – I currently serve as a consultant) by MoodPik.  Their smartphone app empowers the user to share their emotional state with their network.  Or users can do so anonymously.  The ability to see your emotions over a period of time is invaluable, especially when it comes to self-improvement.  Analyzing emotions as they relate to people, places, events and activities can lead to insightful realizations.

And from these realizations can one decipher how to change…and stay sane.