How to start your wellness journey on the right foot

By Align/WELL

May 15, 2024

Featured, well-being


  • Learn how to embark on a wellness journey that's uniquely yours, steering clear of societal pressures and embracing habits that genuinely make you feel good.
  • Discover the truth about wellness beyond social media trends, focusing on authentic choices that suit your individual needs and preferences.
  • Embrace wellness as a holistic concept, encompassing various aspects like physical, mental, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual well-being. It's a lifelong commitment to self-improvement.
  • Enjoy the transformative benefits of a wellness journey that emphasizes the process, flexibility, and adaptability. Explore different paths for a fulfilling and joyful experience.
  • Kickstart your personalized wellness journey with seven straightforward steps, from setting intentions to navigating setbacks. Unlock a healthier, happier life through small, manageable goals and self-reflection.

Fit African-American woman hiking through Alabama Hills Park in California

Wellness is not one-size-fits-all — it is unique to you! Your wellness routine doesn’t have to look like drinking a green smoothie in the morning, ditching meat or doing yoga twice a day. It can look like reading every morning for 30 minutes, spending more time outside or setting better boundaries. So stop allowing social media’s consumerist version of wellness to dictate your actions, and create your own version of a healthy and fulfilling life. Follow these 7 simple steps and get started on a wellness journey that makes you feel good, both inside and out.

What is a Wellness Journey?

Before diving into the steps to start your wellness journey, let's first understand what wellness truly means. Wellness is not just about physical health; it encompasses multiple aspects of our lives, including mental, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual well-being. The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the "active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health." It is a lifelong journey of self-improvement and self-care, tailored to your unique needs and goals.

The dark side of wellness, often portrayed on social media, can be misleading. It's important to remember that wellness is not about following trends or adhering to a specific aesthetic. It's about making healthy choices and adopting daily habits that support your well-being. Your wellness journey should be authentic and catered to your individual preferences and needs. It's not about conforming to societal expectations but rather embracing what works best for you.

A wellness journey differs from a weight loss or fitness journey in its focus and scope. While weight loss and fitness journeys primarily center around physical goals such as achieving a certain weight or level of fitness, a wellness journey is more holistic and encompasses all aspects of well-being, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. A wellness journey is about prioritizing self-care, self-discovery, and personal growth. It involves adopting healthy habits, finding balance, and nurturing a positive relationship with oneself. Unlike weight loss or fitness journeys, which often have specific end goals, a wellness journey is a lifelong process that evolves over time. It is about embracing the journey itself, rather than just the destination.

Closeup image of a woman writing on a blank notebook on the table

The Benefits of a Wellness Journey

Embarking on a wellness journey can have numerous benefits for your overall well-being. By prioritizing your health and wellness, you can improve your physical fitness, boost productivity, manage stress, promote healthy weight loss, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, enhance mental health, improve sleep patterns, strengthen relationships, cultivate self-love and confidence, and ultimately live a more fulfilling and rewarding life. Taking care of yourself allows you to show up as your best self and tackle life's challenges with resilience and determination.

Starting a wellness journey offers numerous benefits that can enhance your overall well-being. One of the key advantages is the opportunity to enjoy the process. Unlike crash diets or quick fixes, a wellness journey is a lifelong commitment that allows you to explore different paths and discover what works best for you. It encourages flexibility and adaptability as you navigate through various goals and routines. By being open to trying new approaches and adjusting practices based on personal preferences, you can create a wellness routine that brings joy and fulfillment. Embracing the process of self-discovery and personal growth adds another layer of enjoyment to your wellness journey, making it a truly transformative experience.

7 Simple Steps to Start Your Wellness Journey

1. Set Your Intentions

Before diving headfirst into your wellness journey, it's crucial to set clear intentions. Ask yourself what areas of your life you want to improve and what changes you want to see. Reflect on the aspects you may be neglecting and want to give more attention to. Consider how these changes will make you feel better and align with your values. Determine what you are willing to commit to and how much time you can dedicate to your wellness journey each day, week, or month. Remember, your wellness goals should come from the heart, rooted in what truly matters to you. Avoid comparing your goals to others and stay true to yourself.

2. Create a Wellness Vision

To stay motivated and focused on your wellness journey, create a wellness vision that embodies your goals and aspirations. This vision will serve as a reminder of why you are making these changes in the first place. It can take the form of a written statement, a vision board with pictures and motivating words, or even a letter to your future self. Display your wellness vision somewhere visible, such as on your fridge or as your screensaver, to keep it at the forefront of your mind. Whenever you feel stuck or demotivated, refer back to your vision and remind yourself of the positive impact your wellness journey will have on your life.

3. Embrace a Holistic Approach

Wellness is not limited to one aspect of your life; it is a holistic concept that considers multiple dimensions of well-being. Evaluate each of the five core pillars of wellness – movement, nutrition, mindset, environmental and sleep – and rate your satisfaction level in each area. This evaluation will help you identify the areas that need the most improvement and guide your wellness routine. Additionally, consider other areas beyond the core pillars that are important to you, such as financial wellness. Tailor your wellness journey to address all the aspects that contribute to your overall well-being.

healthy lifestyle and wellbeing concept - a set of inspirational reminder notes against black textured paper

4. Set Manageable Goals

To prevent overwhelm and maintain consistency, set small, manageable goals that align with your intentions. Starting small allows you to build upon your goals over time. Avoid the temptation to overhaul your life in one day and instead focus on incorporating achievable steps into your daily routine. For example, if your intention is to move your body every day, start with a 20-minute walk around the block every other day. Gradually increase the duration or frequency of your walks as you become more comfortable and confident. Remember to follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) method when setting your goals to ensure they are effective and attainable.

5. Keep a Journal and Reflect

Journaling is a powerful tool for self-reflection and tracking your progress on your wellness journey. Regularly write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to your wellness practices. Reflect on how these practices make you feel and whether they align with your intentions and goals. This self-reflection will help you stay accountable, understand what is working for you, and make necessary adjustments along the way. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small, and acknowledge the progress you have made. By journaling and setting boundaries, such as limiting exposure to toxic information and avoiding comparison, you can cultivate confidence and trust in yourself.

6. Be Flexible and Enjoy the Process

Wellness is a lifelong journey, and it is natural for your goals and routines to evolve over time. Embrace flexibility and adaptability as you navigate your wellness journey. Be open to trying new approaches and adjusting your practices based on what resonates with you. Remember that your wellness journey should be enjoyable and not feel like a chore. Find activities and habits that bring you joy and fulfillment. Allow yourself to explore different paths and discover what works best for you. Embrace the process of self-discovery and personal growth as you continue on your wellness journey.

Stepping stone with water ripple

7. Don't Give Up, Even in Setbacks

Setbacks are a normal part of any journey, including your wellness journey. Life can sometimes get in the way, causing you to deviate from your plans. However, it's important not to let setbacks discourage you or derail your progress. Remain committed to your goals and refine your plans as needed. Remember that your wellness journey is not all or nothing – it's about progress, not perfection. If you encounter obstacles, take them as opportunities to learn and grow. Adjust your approach, seek support from others, and keep moving forward. With resilience and determination, you can overcome setbacks and continue on your path to wellness.

Conclusion: Embrace Your Unique Wellness Journey

Starting a wellness journey is a powerful step towards a healthier and happier life. Remember that wellness is unique to each individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Take the time to set your intentions, create a wellness vision, embrace a holistic approach, set manageable goals, reflect on your progress, be flexible, and persevere through setbacks. Your wellness journey is an ongoing process of self-discovery and growth where you learn how to be well. Embrace your uniqueness and tailor your wellness routine to align with your needs and aspirations. By prioritizing your well-being, you can enhance every aspect of your life and unlock your true potential.

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Improve Your Wellness in Under 10 Minutes a Day

Download our free guide and get started on your wellness journey with 5 easy to implement tips from Dr. Brown.

You may also like: