What did you focus on last year, and what do you want more of in 2020? What would maximizing your quality of life look like?

Regular exercise, a whole foods diet and quality sleep give us tangible benefits: we feel and look better.

But are you curious about what else might contribute to your health and happiness? What others aspects of your lifestyle impact your ability to thrive, experience a high quality of life and have a positive impact?

My unexpected catalyst for personal growth last year was embracing the separateness I was feeling and the lack of clarity on my purpose.

Clarity and purpose matter

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, now almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and helps us feel happier.

The Blue Zones research shows that community, and serving a purpose within our community, is the top ranked factor to living long and living well into our 90s.

A year ago, my health data all looked good: my blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, BMI, diet, my physical activity routine, and my sleep all ranked high on the quality scale. But I felt unfulfilled, aimless in my work, and I lacked vitality for my clients, my family and myself. I wasn’t sure of my purpose as a physician — and things felt off.

I’d accomplished my dream of becoming a concierge holistic doctor and my business continued to grow. My husband and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. We had a family trip to San Diego with our 6 year old twin boys and found ourselves to be recharged instead of exhausted.

The whirlwind of starting my career and raising twins had settled. But where was I amidst all these celebrations? I wasn’t feeling what I’d imagined I would feel once these wins happened.

I couldn’t avoid this reality anymore. I began feeling inauthentic. And why wasn’t I feeling grateful for all I had?

How could I guide and help my clients to optimal health and a high quality of life if I was not there myself?

Increasingly, I felt like a fraud. My inner world wasn’t congruent with the image I was portraying. I had a gnawing sense that to become who I believed I could be — inspired from various mentors — I had to address the spiritual crisis and disconnectedness I felt.

A need to nurture my life

While I couldn’t navel gaze, I could declutter my mind and be present to nurture and enjoy my family, my clients and all that life has to offer.

So I became curious about who I had become.

I realized that earning the title of Doctor did not fill me with worthiness and innate confidence. In response, I did various workshops and committed to a 12 month coaching program with Dov Baron.

My experiences and reflections weren’t always easy and comfortable. But I saw myself transform when I was stretched beyond my comfort zone, within the confines of a safe space. Sometimes it’s like doing mental push ups; work that is challenging but always feels better afterwards.

I’ve realized that it can take a lot more energy to run or hide from our feelings than to acknowledge them. With some practise I’m learning to let my feelings move like calm ripples, not like a tsunami throwing my day or week upside down.

Questioning and understanding my true motivations and values brought clarity to my purpose. I finally found a place of calm and clarity from within.

When things get stormy, I can return to this place and know that the more familiar I become with it, the more available it will be to me on a daily basis. I can access my intuition to guide my actions, particularity when logic and reason don’t stack up to a solid decision.

As a physician I knew the research, but I still had to search for its relevance in my own life, in order to truly understand it.

The gifts of plunging into personal growth have been realizing more gratitude and presence in my life, professionally and personally. And this journey is like exercise: we can’t work out one weekend and expect fitness. It’s something we must be engaging ourselves in as part of our regular routine.

The greatest reward is a deep sense of fulfillment as I am guided by a purpose greater than myself. I’m able to show up for others and be present because I’ve shown up to be present for myself. I am gifted the opportunity to nurture my health and the health of individuals, of families, and of my own family. And I feel blessed.

Last year for me was about focusing on purpose and connection, with myself and my communities. Now that they’ve come into focus, I’m writing out for my goals for 2020. I know I want more play in my life and I plan to be more playful.

What do you want more of in 2020 to improve your quality of life and your health? I’d love to hear!