Following on from our previous blog post, I want to discuss autonomy. Autonomy is a crucial part of health ownership, which is what this month is all about. It simply means being in a state of self-governing; being able to act upon your own values and interests. And having this internal locus of control ensures the decisions you make will have a positive impact on your health – which is key to taking ownership. So, this week, I’m going to share with you a couple of tips for gaining autonomy over your health.
When it comes to our health, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As human beings, each of us is completely unique – from the way in which our minds work to our internal ecosystems. Therefore, it’s important to personalise: do what is right for you. So, you’ve identified your goal, and now you’re looking at how you might get there. Gather some trusted sources, take that advice and practise it, see if it works. And if it doesn’t, think about how you could alter it, or try something else. This idea can really help with empowering you to make better decisions, too.
Part of autonomy and having health ownership is collaborating with your healthcare providers, rather than just following the advice they give. Now, I’m not suggesting you should seriously challenge medical professionals. Collaboration means going to your appointments, asking questions, finding out more about things, doing your own research. Believe me, when I’m given medical advice, I may ask questions, but typically I’ll follow it. I’m not about to go completely rogue on doctors or medics, but part of owning my health is thinking, “I’m going to find out more about that,” or perhaps asking if there’s another route. I might even consider if there are better questions to ask during these consultations.
Whether it’s to do with exercise, stretching, diet, or mobility, having more autonomy makes it much easier to adhere to your goals. This goes back to what I was saying last week, using my own goal of longevity as an example. My driving value is having control over my health, and I’m going to personalise my approach to ensure I stick to the plan.
Autonomy is key to health ownership, but what does that look like for you? Think about your goal, and how you can personalise what you are doing to achieve the highest level of autonomy possible.
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