It’s the time of year where everyone jumps on board to set health goals, whether it’s to lose weight, eat healthy or exercise more. But come February, many are back to their old ways.
Learn your goal setting type
Before you set health goals, you want to know what kind of goal setter – and goal achiever – you are. Do you tend to overestimate your abilities, and feel crushed when you don’t succeed? Or do big goals inspire you to stretch yourself?
There is no right or wrong answer. I’m the type to stretch myself – like I did when I took on a three year degree in Naturopathy so I could help people reclaim their health. In the early years of study though, it was daunting looking down the barrel of all the hours of study and there were times I questioned whether I could do it. So I chunked it out, focussed on attending each lecture, completing each assignment and exam and taking in all the knowledge I could until eventually I’d ticked off around twenty five education units and was handed my bachelor degree. One of the best days of my life!
By understanding how goals motivate or deter you, you can be more clear on the type of goal you want to set.
Get clear on your why
Setting health goals is great. But if you don’t know why you’ve set it, you’re likely to drop it whenever life gets tough. Sometimes, we set goals because of what society thinks, or because our partner makes a comment about our weight or drinking.
We’re more likely to stick to goals that are made based on internal motivators – things like how we feel and what we want from our lives – rather than external motivators, like peer pressure or an ideal appearance. When you set a goal, think about why you want that goal. Will you feel more energetic? More confident? Will you be able to keep up with your kids at the park or achieve more in your day?
Make it flexible, but targeted
It is important to put a timeframe on goals – if you say you’re going to lose weight in 6 months, it is always going to get pushed back. But if you say you’re going to lose 5kg by April, it’s a hard date and you can break it down into incremental fortnightly losses which you’ll either achieve or not.
That being said, life happens. You might set a goal to walk five kilometres three times a week but then after a few weeks, you injure your foot and all of a sudden, that goal is almost impossible to achieve. So make sure you add in a bit of buffer time, especially if you’re likely to come up against any obstacles.
How do you eat an elephant?
The answer is ‘one bite at a time’. Don’t worry, you don’t need to eat an elephant, but you do need to look at big goals the same way. When something seems overwhelming, breaking it down into bite-size goals makes it easier to start taking action.
For example, say your goal is to reduce your stress levels. For you to reduce stress in one month might seem impossible. But if you broke it down into 5-10 minutes of mindfulness or breathing exercises each day, you could achieve your goal by doing that mini goal each day.
If you could do with some personalised support to make your 2019 goals happen, book in a compatibility call here to find out if seeing me is right for you.
For the year ahead, I’m picking up with the mindfulness I gave up on late last year when things got crazy busy. Check out this link to my previous blog on mindfulness.