Your Personal Wellbeing Plan

Text: What helps keep you feeling happy and healthy?

What helps keep you feeling happy and healthy?

I spend a lot of time working with leaders and teams on designing, building, and launching regenerative business models – models that can deliver sustained value over the long term and be healthy.

Our personal sustainability and wellbeing are even more important. This is often the first thing I coach people on. The approach I take is to help you build habits that integrate wellbeing and happiness habits into your workflow.

Enough preamble… jump me straight to the Personal Wellbeing Plan!

When we’re on the journey of leading regenerative change, it can often be bit of a rollercoaster. There will be days when things don’t go as hoped and probably some days of crushing doubt.

The good news is you’ll also likely experience extended times of extreme optimism and the feeling that you’re doing exactly what you should be, with a deep sense of meaning and fulfilment. That you have a meaningful purpose.

If we don’t take proactive steps to look after ourselves, there’s an increased risk of getting to a point of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.

So, what do I mean by personal sustainability? Let’s talk about personal wellbeing, including your personal finances.

A quick note that I’m not a doctor or an accountant and it’s not that kind of advice. This is general guidance, and doesn’t replace advice and support you might get from experts who know your personal situation.

Personal Wellbeing

We need to look after our health and wellbeing. This is key to our quality of life.

Our physical, mental, and emotional health are completely linked. The health of our mind affects our body, and the health of our body affects our mind. We need to look after both – like they’re one. Because they are.

Mindset

Mindset is chapter one of my book Solve Problems That Matter. The focus is your happiness habits, strengths and assets, growth mindset, personal sustainability, and risk profile – which all play a key role in helping improve our emotional, mental, physical, and financial wellbeing.

These help us keep perspective and be resilient when facing adversity. They also help with our relationships and social connection. These are all critical elements of wellbeing.

Martin Seligman’s PERMA theory is a simple model to help think about the different psychological areas. They are Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments.

Physical Health

Despite many years as a personal trainer specialising in Pilates and spin – other than breathing – I don’t often talk about the physical side of wellbeing much anymore. There tends to be a high level of awareness of the importance of movement, being physically active, and posture.

Some basic things that are often taken for granted though are the power of sleep and water. Get as much as you can of both.

Play

Even though we’re often working on very serious things, it doesn’t mean we need to be very serious. At least not always. It’s important to create and keep space for fun and things that bring us joy. We need unstructured time for play and to experiment. We need to live our lives in regenerative ways.

Inner Sustainability

I recommend watching Laura Storm’s 2017 TED talk. It’s raw and powerful. And very relevant. She shares her story of recovering from a debilitating injury. Dealing with that, she went from “the whole concept of self-care was a luxury I had seen as something I didn’t have time for. We have so many problems in the world to solve…” to “… a newfound peaceful way of being grounded in my own body. I felt stronger, and more content, satisfied. I felt happier than ever”.

Many of the things we’ve been talking about were key to her recovery, and she’s been able to carry on doing great work. Her closing words:

“I’m excited to be… continuing my mission of building resilient and sustainable societies but with an equal focus on the importance of inner sustainability. Inner sustainability goes hand-in-hand with external sustainability. We can’t have one without the other.”

Laura Storm

Don’t let your work become all-consuming. Keep your other interests active. This will help you keep a sense of perspective, which helps your personal sustainability.

Inner Development Goals

Another framework I find really powerful is the Inner Development Goals (IDGs). They’re the “transformational skills for sustainable development”.

The framework includes five integrated dimensions and 23 qualities, abilities, and skills we need to create individual, organisational, and societal change… the things we need to be able to progress and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), solve problems that matter in more empathic and innovative ways… and live a happy meaningful life.

Inner Development Goals

Take Action

So, what are we going to do about all of this? I recommend setting up an action plan. There are two parts to this. The first is to be clear on the things you do that normally keep you feeling happy and healthy. These are the things to keep doing.

The second part is to set up lead indicators that identify when unhealthy patterns are developing, and what you’re going to do about it – before things get out of control.

I recommend you just write it down wherever you normally make notes – ideally so you always have access to it. Don’t get distracted by thinking you need to find a special notebook or app. It’s important to write it down though, rather than just do it in your head.

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

Alan Watts

Your Personal Wellbeing Plan

What do you currently do that helps keep you feeling happy and healthy?

Here are some things to think about. These are the positive things to keep doing:

Physical Health
What positive things do you do for your physical health?

Mental & Emotional Health
What positive things do you do for your mental and emotional health?

Relationships
Who are the important people in your life? Especially people you have healthy relationships with.

Social Connection
What are the important groups of people or communities in your life?

Play
What do you love doing? What do you do for fun? What really brings you joy?

Your Backup Plan

Everyone’s “normal” is different. It’s natural to have days when we’re feeling down or a bit overwhelmed. If this lingers for days or weeks, it might be part of an unhealthy pattern that’s developing.

I encourage you to think about the red flags or signs you’ve observed in yourself that indicate you’re heading in an unhealthy direction. The goal here is to identify the pattern early and take the right action.

  • What are the patterns of thinking, feeling, or behaving that indicate you’re heading in an unhealthy direction?
  • Over what time period?
  • What will you do, or stop doing, when you notice this pattern?
  • Who will you talk to for help?
  • How will you know you’re back in a healthy place?

Personal Finances

Economic or financial wellbeing is also an important part of our personal sustainability. Our ability to meet our basic needs and feel secure.

It’s important that you know your personal financial numbers to be sustainable, and keep yourself and household in a healthy financial position. Financial stress is the cause of a lot of health and relationship issues.

If you don’t already have a budget for your personal finances, you need one. There are many free resources online to help with this. You need the information to answer these questions.

  • What’s the minimum you need to earn each month to pay all your bills?
  • How much money do you have left over each month after paying all your financial commitments?
  • Do you have savings or access to funds as a safety net when something goes wrong?


The current answers to these questions might not be ideal, but even if that’s the case, it’s better to know the reality you’re working with so you can make plans and take action.

It’s not the focus of this post, but I do a lot of working with people exploring social enterprise and startup idea. In that context we go into a lot more detail. One thing is certain, they cost plenty of energy and time, and some money. There’s also opportunity cost.

It usually takes longer than we plan to break even on a monthly basis – the point where we have more money coming in every month than we’re paying out. Most financial models I see also don’t include the founders paying themselves – and even then, the numbers often don’t stack up.

Solve Problems That Matter

In Solve Problems That Matter, I go into a lot more detail on all of the things I’ve covered in this post… and plenty more. It’s a playbook with actions and worksheets to help you take a human-centred design approach to design, build, and launch your idea. Ideas that customers love, makes money, and does great things for people and our planet… all while increasing wellbeing.

Purpose & Happines

Purpose and happiness. I’ve mentioned them a lot in this post. They’re a couple of simple words that can simultaneously meaning everything and nothing to many. I wrote about this a few years ago in Purpose & Happiness. Dynamic4: The 20th Year and shared some great research and a few things I’ve learnt over the years.

Let’s Collaborate

We specialise in coaching, training, and working alongside leaders.

A key way we do this is by designing and delivering action learning experiences with masterclasses, workshops, innovation sprints, and leadership, design thinking & innovation programs. These sessions build personal, team, and organisational capability to solve problems that matter with more:

  • Clarity on your purpose, goals, and approach to navigate complexity and make progress
  • Momentum to achieve your goals by building the workflows, rhythms, and habits for success
  • Confidence to move forward with more certainty and less risk while increasing your wellbeing


Ready to have fun collaborating to solve problems that matter?

Book a free 15-minute discovery call.