Change is a complicated process and one that does not come easy for the majority of individuals. This is especially true when in come to making healthy lifestyle changes. It is also a well defined process – that once understood – can open the path, get you back in the flow, and take you from where your are currently to where you want to be.
Appreciative Inquiry is a process … sometimes referred to as the 4D process. The Appreciative Inquiry process helps us search for the best within ourselves; that special spark that give us “life” and creates meaning in our lives and motivates us to draw from all of successes in the past and build on our strengths.
Imagine if you could tap into those strengths to be the best you are capable of being in term of health and happiness. Well, you can by using the Appreciative Inquiry process! By completing the Appreciative Inquiry process before setting goals or New Year’s resolutions to create some new health promoting behaviors, you engage the creative side of your brain.
Here are the 4 steps in the Appreciative Inquiry process:
• DISCOVER – the best of what is and what has been! Looks at past successes and identifies of what has worked in the past that led to those successes. “It is what gives life” and brings us back to a time when we were our best.
• DREAM – of what might be! Envisioning what your future life would be like once you have achieved your future vision.
• DESIGN – of what should be! Organizing and planning the steps you will need to take along the way. With proper planning “transformational change is more likely to occur.”
• DESTINY – of what will be! Also referred to as delivery or the implementation – following through – on establishing new behaviors. It is the delivery of our “dream”. It may appear in small incremental stages of smaller sustainable changes. Each time we repeat this process we get closer to being our best self.
It terms of trying to develop healthier behaviors, here are some specific questions to ask yourself in the Appreciative Inquiry process:
• DISCOVER: When was a time I was healthier or when I practiced a healthier behavior? What did that feel like? What strengths did I apply to succeed in the past that I can use now?
• DREAM: What would my life be like once I develop healthier behaviors? What would be different?
• DESIGN: What is my long term goal? What are the steps I need to take along the way? What is one thing I can do this week? What are the barriers that might get in the way and what strategies do I need to put in place to overcome these barriers?
• DESTINY: How will I celebrate my achievements? How will I respond to setbacks? How will I stay focused? How will I develop and maintain a positive attitude to accept whatever the outcome may be and understand that something is always working in my behalf?
Write down you answers and refer back to them as you prepare to create your goals or New Year’s resolutions.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published. Links to various sites are provided for your convenience only and we are not responsible or liable for the content, accuracy of information provided or privacy practices of linked sites or for products or services described on these sites.
1. Prochaska, J.O., Norcross, J., and DiClemente, C. (1994). Changing for Good, William Morrow Publishing.
2. Redding, C.A., Rossi, J.S., Rossi, S.R., Velicer, W.F. & Prochaska, J.O. (1999). Health behavior models. In Hyner, G.C., Peterson, K.W., Travis, J.W., Dewey, J.E., Foerster, J.J., & Framer, E.M. (Eds.), SPM Handbook of Health Assessment Tools. Pittsburgh, PA: The Society of Prospective Medicine & The Institute for Health and Productivity Management.
3. Seal, R.,(2008),“Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry” [On-line] Retrieved December 5, 2014 from World Wide Web: http://www.new-paradigm.co.uk/introduction_to_ai.htm