How to Create a Well-being Strategy

In Why You Need a Well-being Strategy I made the case for how the systems we live and work in are not designed to promote and foster well-being, and as a result we as a people are unwell. I received responses such as: I agree, now how do I get a well-being strategy? The question is a sign of the times: The desire to be well and the hope (or presumption) that an “off the shelf” solution is the cure.

The solution I advocate for cannot be purchased, nor is it a life hack or quick fix, it requires deep awareness and focused attention on what matters most to you in life. I don’t mean superficial desires, like a huge house or going viral on social media, I am referring to what makes each of us feel alive, energized, connected, and loved.


ACE Your Well-being

For unlocking inner wisdom my Totally Wise philosophy captures our true essence: Each of us is entirely complete and we possess the intrinsic ability to create and experience a life well-lived.

You already have the inner wisdom to live to your full potential and power and the Awareness, Connection, Embodiment (ACE) Framework is the key to unlocking the path.

  1. Awareness

Awareness is like a flame – it illuminates objects around it and is also lit from within. Developing a deep sense of awareness means you can focus attention on internal processes and experiences while understanding the influence and impact of external things.

In my experience, developing this sense of awareness is 90% of the work towards your well-being strategy. It begins with an honest assessment of your current state of being and how it aligns with your desired state.

First is to build awareness about who you are through what matters most to you. These exercises will help you create this clarity:

  • First Principles: Your fundamental life commitments.
    • List your life non-negotiables.
    • Examples: Family, travel, education, service.
  • Core Values: Tenets that drive your life and shape who you are.
    • Use this core values exercise to discover your current core values.
    • Write down your core values and place somewhere you will see every day.
  • Living in Integrity: Ability to act in accordance with one’s values.
    • Reflect on areas in your life where you are not living in integrity and create a pact for aligning those areas with your values.
    • Example: If honesty is a core value and you have a relationship where you are not completely honest, consider the next step in that relationship so that it aligns with your integrity.
    • Establish a timeline for addressing each area out of integrity and schedule a monthly check-in to track progress.

Example: A story about discovering I was living out of my integrity: My Word of the Year: Fuck!

  1. Connection

How you spend your time is essentially how you spend your life; therefore, you must make a connection between what matters most to you and your daily thoughts, choices, and actions.


  • Where do you place most of your time and attention? Do these areas correlate with what’s most important to you?
  • What are the blockers or challenges that keep you from focusing on the most important things in your life? This can include negative self talk or identity stories which no longer serve you.
  • Think about a good day – what you are doing, who you are with, where you are, and why it feels good to you.
  • How long would it take you to create 30 good days?


  1. Over 30 days track how you spend your time in this spreadsheet.
  2. At the end of the 30 days sort the sheet in ascending order using the emotional rating column. Add up the number of days for each emotional rating. (E.g. -2 rating = 4 days, 1+ rating = 10 days, and so on.)
  3. Identify the days with the highest emotional rating and list the things those days had in common. (E.g. walking in nature, time with friends)
  4. For the next 30 days intentionally spend more time on the things that resulted in higher emotional rating in the days prior. (E.g. more walking in nature and spending time with friends)
  5. After 30 days, sort the sheet again by emotional rating to determine if emotional rating is trending up in number of days.

Example: From my personal journey of developing deeper awareness: The Year I was Quiet

  1. Embodiment

This is where your well-being strategy comes to life.

Prioritize the following well-being pillars in an order that mirrors your First Principles and Time Tracking outcomes.

  • Whole Self: You feel good physically and have a positive outlook on life.
  • Social: You have meaningful relationships.
  • Career: You are energized by work.
  • Financial: You manage your money well.
  • Community: You feel a sense of belonging where you live.

Assign one objective for each pillar along with a time bound key result. Example: A financial goal to pay off debt by the end of 2024. Each week check-in on how your thoughts, actions, energy, and focus align with your well-being pillars.


This life is not a dress rehearsal.

I venture to guess if you reflect on the accomplishments in your life there was a plan in place to achieve them.  Why would the goal for your well-lived life be any different?

What gets measured gets improved. – Peter Drucker

One of my core beliefs is how you spend your time says a lot about what you value in life. In his memoir Chasing Daylight, Eugene O’Kelly describes how he purposefully unwinds his most meaningful relationships before he passes away from cancer. He says he had more perfect moments and perfect days in two weeks than he had in five years. It is a beautiful yet sobering realization: Do we need to face death before we prioritize what is most important to us in life?

It could take years, and it definitely will require intention and discipline, however the experience of living in integrity and being present with what matters most is the reward of a well-lived life.

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