Nothing is more important than our health. It’s the one thing money can’t buy, and when we don’t feel healthy, it affects all other areas of our lives—our relationships, our capacity to make money, and our overall quality of life. As the move into the new year and harness all the energy around creating resolutions, how can we set ourselves up to actually achieve our health goals rather than just make them? Here are three ideas:
Set SMART Goals.
We set goals to presence certain aspects of lives more fully, to make them a focus for living. And when we achieve goals, we feel on top of the world, and it sets in place a healthy forward momentum for our lives.
But as humans, we only have so much time in the day. We have demands from family, work, and friends that need our attention, so it’s important to be realistic in what we can achieve. We tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we can achieve in 10 years.
When it comes to health, the best places to consider what goals to choose are the highest leverage, lowest hanging fruit-type goals. Maybe you aren’t getting enough movement throughout your day. Maybe you need better or more sleep. Maybe you want to take a year off alcohol, or quit smoking. Once you’ve decided what areas you’re going to work in, it’s to set SMART goals, that is—specific measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Here are the questions to ask yourself:
Specific—What exactly am I trying to achieve here? Is it a feeling I want (vitality, radiance) and how exactly am I’m going to get there (better diet, exercise?)
Measurable—How will you know when your goal has been achieved? What will be different in your life?
Attainable—Is this goal realistic? If you’re planning on going from no exercise to running a marathon in 1 month, it’s probably not realistic.
Relevant—What is the relevance of this goal? Why does it matter to you? How is achieving it going to impact your life? How will you feel different?
Time-bound—by what date do you have to have achieved your goal? Why does this date matter more than any other?
Get Extra Support
It would be nice if we could do it all on our own, but it’s unrealistic. The more help and support you can get for achieving your goals, the more likely they will become. In setting any kind of challenging goal, we’ll likely have moments where we want to give up, where we don’t think we’ll ever achieve it, where we’ll experience setbacks, negative self-talk and a loss of momentum. It’s in these moments that having support is more important than ever.
Here are some ways to get extra support.
- Join a team
- Get a personal coach
- Create an accountability group
Focus On The Process, Not The Outcome
If you can fall in love with the process of achieving your goals, ie. training for the marathon, cooking your home-made healthy meals, then you’ll wake up one day and have achieved your goals without even knowing. Not all goals we set will allow for this, but it’s the best place to start.
For goals where it feels impossible to fall in love with the process, it’s important to stay accountable and keep building your momentum. You can do this by revisiting your goals every day, or every week, joining a group of people with a similar goal to you, and making sure you ask for extra help and support when you need it.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.
Another great way to force yourself into achieving your health goals is to invest money in them. Money is a massive motivator because it’s so painful to waste. Pay for a health coach, or a personal trainer, and buying extra products, tools and equipment to try out that encourage your enthusiasm for the process, helps keep you engaged and enthused for what you’re trying to achieve.
Health is the most important aspect of our lives. If you want to get healthier in 2020, they key is to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals, get any extra support you need in achieving them, and dare we say it, attempt to focus on enjoying the process and not on the outcome.