When considering a change in life, no matter what it is, we start by asking ourselves two questions: Is it worth it? (importance), and Can I do it? (confidence).

Measuring the importance

Whole Health begins with a focus on your mission, aspiration and purpose, often referred to as your MAP.

When we look at our health goals, we want to make sure they are connected to our MAP, because these are the goals that we will be most inspired to complete.

Would you become more active because your doctor tells you to do something, or because it will help you stay independent and take care of your loved ones? Connecting our health goals to what matters to us is the essence of Whole Health.

Confidence is critical

Confidence that we can make the change is the second key to success. If a change means the world to us, yet we are not sure we can achieve it, we might not be successful.

Veterans in my smoking cessation class often say that quitting smoking was “a 10 out of 10” in importance, but previous unsuccessful quit attempts meant they didn’t think they had the ability to stop.

To build their confidence, we looked at their past successes. We drew on the obstacles they had overcome, the difficulties they survived, their perseverance through hard times. This helped them to remember their strengths, abilities and skills. This practice can help you to build confidence in your ability to change, and that confidence is necessary for the change to be successful.

Making changes in your life is hard work! It takes a lot of energy and effort, so giving your brain a break is an important part of self-care.

Join John Kavanaugh, a recreation assistant from the Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, for this 12-minute “Brain Break,” which uses breathing and gentle movement to calm the mind:


Ready to take the next step on your Whole Health Journey? With the Live Whole Health mobile application, you can fill out your personal health inventory, set goals, get virtual coaching, and learn more about Whole Health. Live Whole Health is available for download on iOS or Android devices. Learn more in the Live Whole Health Mobile App Fact Sheet.

By Marc Castellani, Ph.D., NBC-HWC, is the Whole Health clinical education coordinator for the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation

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Published on Mar. 28, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

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One Comment

  1. Delia L. Peterson March 29, 2022 at 11:06 am

    I really need help. 5he struggle is real.

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