Sharpening my saw is all about planning, self-care, self-renewal, self-improvement, and self-respect. It involves anything that helps to renew my energy and keep me balanced in terms of physical, mental, spiritual and social perspectives (Chowney). It is a process of personal change that ensures establishing a balance across the four dimensions. It will involve preserving and enhancing my greatest asset which is me.
Physical development entails achieving and maintaining the body in a state that enhances our effectiveness (Chowney). I will renew or improve my physical dimension by taking proper care of my physical body. This will involve relaxing, taking the right nutrition and exercising regularly. According to Covey, a proper exercise program is one that can be performed at our own home and develops our bodies in areas that involve flexibility, endurance, and strength. I will perform stretching exercises to enhance my flexibility, aerobics to increase my endurance and carry weights, i.e., enrolling to a gym to boost my physical strength. As much as I may be tired in the process, these physical activities will enable me to be persistent and do them consistently. Exercising will enable me to develop my saw and enhance the first habit of proactivity as a highly effective person. I will establish a timetable for physical development which will incorporate all the exercises and what has to be covered on a daily and a weekly basis. I will act based on my physical well-being rather than to the forces against doing exercises to develop my paradigm, enhance my self-confidence, self-esteem, and integrity, all of which are profoundly affected.
The mental aspect entails developing the mind to improve our effectiveness. I will develop my mental fitness by exercising for about 30 minutes on a daily basis to deliver oxygen to the brain; read often and widely to gain more knowledge on the specific topics; eat plenty of wholegrain cereals and dairy foods rich in vitamins, i.e., vitamin B for proper brain health; challenge by intellect and memory by engaging in tasks that require the mind such as playing chess; taking time to relax and reduce the stress hormones such as cortisol which is harmful to the brain; take on a new hobby or learn something new to work out the 'grey matter' and establish neural pathways in the brain. I will also actively manage my health by going for regular check-ups to prevent conditions such as heart disease and diabetes that negatively affect mental performance if not treat or diagnose. I will engage in stimulating conversations by talking to family and friends over a wide variety of topics to enable the brain to examine, explore and enquire. Manual activities or crafts such as sewing involve moving various parts of the body at the same time and will improve my spatial awareness and reaction time.
The spiritual dimension is our center, core, and commitment to our value system. It relates to a very secretive area of our lives and relates to sources that inspire and uplift us (Geary). I can develop my spiritual aspect by exploring my spiritual core to understand who I am, my purpose and my values. This will enable me to have an in-depth analysis of myself and notice things that will enable me to achieve fulfillment. I'll look for deeper meanings in my life to analyze patterns that indicate that I have control over my destiny. I will get out what is on my mind to maintain a focused mind. I will engage in physical activities such as Yoga to improve my spiritual wellness by reducing physical and emotional strain on my mind and body. Traveling to a comforting or new place can also play a vital role in improving my spiritual being and developing my mind. Thinking in a positive manner will also help me to think differently and refocus my mind to healthy and happy living. Finally, I'll take time to meditate. This will enable me to connect with myself and establish a stronger relationship with my spiritual wellness.
The social/emotional dimension revolves around our sense of personal security. It comes from correct principles and accurate paradigms within our hearts and minds. It entails the life of integrity embedded in our daily habits that reflects our deepest values ("National Institute of Health"). I will develop my social and emotional aspects by brightening my outlook to retain a few negative emotions and enhance my resilience; reducing my stress levels and learning healthy ways of managing stress can also develop my resilience. I will get quality sleep to develop my mental and physical health. Enough sleep will enable me to think more clearly, establish quicker reflexes and focus better to foster proper social relations. Life entails happy and sad times, therefore learning healthy ways of handling difficult times such as the loss of a loved one is also vital. I will strengthen social connections with my partners, family, friends, and neighbors since it has powerful positive effects on our health, emotional and physical well-being. Finally, I will continuously apply the concept of mindfulness. This will involve being completely aware of the present happenings in the surrounding environment, rather than living life in 'autopilot.'
To conclude, proper renewal and development requires establishing a balance in all the four dimensions. Neglecting any one area would result in negative impacts in all the rest. Renewal would therefore be optimal and effective if we deal with all the four dimensions in a balanced and wise manner.
Chowney, Philip. The 7 habits of highly effective people-habit 7: Sharpen the saw. Geneva business news, 2013. https://www.gbnews.ch/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-habit-7-sharpen-the-saw/
Geary, Ali. 7 ways to improve your spiritual wellness. News.illinoisstate.edu, 2014. https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2014/02/7-ways-improve-spiritual-wellness/
"National Institute of Health." Emotional wellness toolkit: six strategies for improving your emotional health. Nhi.gov, 2018. https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit
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