A successful fundraiser. A ministry grant awarded. A certification accomplished. A 10K finished. These are all goals worth celebrating. They beg the question, ‘what do you have to sacrifice in order to get to that finish line?’
There is often an elusive balance when it comes to achieving our goals. We go hard for a few weeks; head down, eyes forward, to get to where we want to go. And then when we come up for air, we realize that although we’ve succeeded in one area of our life, some others have slipped back. Or do they?
This past month I’ve been musing about vitality and how aligning our time, energy and priorities can make space for cultivating it.
You can read more about those musings here:
This week, in Part III, I am digging into what dimensions make up vitality and how, when we create practices to enhance even one dimension, it can positively impact the others. And, on the flip side, if we neglect one area long enough, it can negatively impact the others.
Vitality doesn’t come from the latest supplement or pill, or from the latest sports bar or drink.
Vitality comes from multi-dimensional thriving in body, mind and spirit.
Vitality doesn't just come from physical health and well-being but also from how you think, feel, live and connect to others.
When we take ALL of our body, mind and spirit into consideration, there are 6 dimensions of whole person vitality and well-being.
The Six Dimensions of Vitality and Well-being are:
Mental - I am alert, focused, competent and thoughtful. I learn and remember well.
Emotional - I feel a full range of emotions but mostly calm, hopeful and positive. I can identify, experience and self-manage a full range of emotions.
Physical - I am healthy, energized and thriving. I function and perform well.
Existential - I feel a sense of meaning and purpose. I feel connected to something greater than myself.
Relational - I feel connected and authentic with others. I feel supported. I belong.
Environmental - The environment around me supports my vitality and well-being.
The way in which we live and work affect our overall vitality and well-being AND every dimension of our vitality or well-being affects how we live and work.
These areas of vitality and wellbeing are intertwined and deeply connected.
You’re likely aware that how you feel (emotional dimension) can affect how you eat (physical dimension).
And you've probably seen that people with strong supportive relationships tend to have more resilience and perseverance when it comes to dealing with difficult situations at work and home. And those with strong connections at their yoga studio or gym also tend to show up more consistently for physical activity.
You may also have also noticed that people with a clear purpose, mission and vision are more likely to stay motivated and achieve their goals.
Every dimension of vitality influences how you live and work.
Let’s see how this plays out in real life…
For example: You work long hours at a high stress job.
You sit at a desk all day (which causes you to experience neck and back pain from sitting all day - physical impact) and you don’t sleep well at night due to the body aches and pains and the stressful thoughts that replay in your head (physical and emotional impact).
Because of this situation, you are also:
stressed out due to thoughts you replay over in your head about what you could have done differently or what you need to do to prepare for tomorrow (impact on emotional well-being).
having relationship difficulties because your spouse is picking up the slack with you working longer hours and you not being present even when you are home (relational impact)
undecided if this job really aligns with your personal mission in life (existential impact)
grabbing take-out food on the way to your next meeting because you didn’t have time to pack a lunch (environmental impact).
As you can see, the problems are related. The really interesting part though, is that the solutions are also connected.
Struggling in one area of vitality or well-being often means struggling in others. AND…there is a flip side.
Improving one dimension can trigger another dimension to improve.
For instance, implementing a mindful pause helps to interrupt the thoughts replaying in your head so your sleep improves.
The mindful pause allows you to be more present at home which creates opportunities for more connection with your spouse.
Because you get more sleep you’re able to get up early enough to pack a healthy lunch. Eating your lunch mindfully allows you to have greater focus at work allowing you to get home a little earlier, which makes for a happier spouse.
And when you check in with how you’re feeling, you notice you’re feeling more calm and less stressed.
And interestingly, because you’re focusing better at work, you have been able to take on a passion project that aligns with your purpose.
It’s a cascade effect. A slight shift in the mental dimension with a mindfulness practice impacts all the other dimensions: physical, relational, environmental, emotional and existential.
Pull a lever in one dimension and the gears start to move in the other dimensions.
I’ve used this to my advantage working with nutrition and fitness clients as well as for myself. For clients that need to modify their activity due to an injury, we may pause or downshift in that dimension and focus on sleep and recovery, nutrition or even self-compassion.
Vitality is different for every person. And it isn’t about rules or recipes. It’s about curiosity and experimentation.
Where do you want to grow, improve, learn?
So getting back to that question at the start of these musings, ‘What do you have to sacrifice to get to the end of that finish line? Or do you?'
It all depends. Remember, it isn’t about rules or recipes. It’s about curiosity and experimentation.
So I invite you to reflect on your last goal or even a current goal and how it’s affecting the other dimensions of vitality and well-being in YOUR life. We aren’t aiming for perfection after all, we’re just trying to get the gears moving in the right direction.
Want to explore your personal dimensions of vitality and well-being? Download the Pillars of Vitality and Wellbeing and see how you score in each dimension.
Interested in being guided through it with me as your coach? Schedule a free call here.
Want help to create space for vitality? Registration is open now through Friday, April 15 at 11:59 EDT for my 4 week fully virtual group coaching program, Create Space for Vitality: Align your time, energy and priorities with your purpose.