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Your health strategy for 2010

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Businesses use organisational strategy to make their companies more successful. This involves developing a vision and a mission which explains what the business hopes to achieve. Next, the organisational strategy requires that businesses assess the strengths and weaknesses of their enterprises while evaluating the opportunities and threats. This analysis is used to design goals and actions to make companies successful. I recommend that you apply this business tool to the management of your personal health.

Your health vision and mission

A simple health vision might read as follows: 'to be physically, mentally and emotionally well throughout 2010 in order to achieve optimum performance in all my endeavours.' The ensuing mission could be: 'I will increase my physical activity, increase my daily portions of fresh fruits and vegetables, while eating less food from animals and processed foods'. Or, 'I will relax more and spend more time socialising with friends and family.'

Analysis of your health

You should now think about the factors that facilitate or deter your health. Your strengths may include normal blood pressure and sugar levels. While the weaknesses may be the fact that you are overweight and smoke cigarettes. Your health threats could be the fact that your company's canteen provides cheap lunches which are high in fats and salt. Possible opportunities for increased physical activity could include you volunteering to train young footballers in your community.

Health goals

The next step in your health strategy is to decide on goals which will help you to achieve your vision of health and fitness. Your health goal could be to achieve your optimal weight for your height. Another goal could be to reduce your stress level so that you feel more at peace with yourself. Still another goal may be to improve your physical fitness in order to reduce pain in the knees. Yet another goal for persons who are diabetic or hypertensive would be to monitor their respective blood sugar and blood pressure weekly.

Health actions

In order to achieve your goals, you must now list specific and realistic steps or actions you will implement over the next few months. Some examples include: a smoker should make an appointment to see his doctor

about getting help to quit; purchasing a skipping rope to include five minutes of skipping in your daily exercise session; deciding to double your portions of salads and halve your intake of animal foods; commiting yourself to a weekly 'to-do list' in order to manage your time more efficiently and reduce your stress.

Keep your vision in focus

This health strategy is not just another New Year's resolution. It should provide a framework for you to fulfil your dream of a healthier you. It allows you to realistically implement your health vision in a stepwise manner with a greater likeli-hood of success. God bless for 2010!

Dr Pauline Williams-Green is a family physician and president of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians; email: