What are your thoughts on setting wellness goals? Are you the type of person who has a weekly plan? Or do you just have a broad idea on what you’d like to do and see if it somehow fits your schedule. What if you have a plan but can’t seem to put yourself into action?
If you want to start making changes in your lifestyle, having goals direct your focus and attention to what you’d like to achieve. Goals give you the confidence week by week, month by month as you experience progress. And you start to hold yourself accountable when you plan for them.
Sounds easy right?! Kind of. From experience, I know even when we write down our goals, it’s not a guarantee it’s going to get done. However, I’d like to ask you to try these three steps and see what happens.
Make your goals SMART
Make your goals SMALL
Treat your goals as EXPERIMENTS
Set S.M.A.R.T. GOALS
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym you may or may not be familiar with. It stands for –
Notice A is “Action-Based”, not “Attainable” or “Achievable” as it has been generally defined. Action-based means we’re identifying a behavior to move us in the direction of our ideal best self. I’ve shared before the importance of having a Wellness Vision
– it’s the foundation, the starting point of your wellness journey.
So think of a behavior you would like to be consistently doing. Do a brain dump – write as many as healthy behaviors that’s been on your mind lately. √Daily walks? √Attending a group strength class? √Eating a serving of vegetables with every meal? √Meditation? √Journaling?
Then pick the top 3 you want to focus on in the next three months. I learned 3 months is a good amount of time that is short enough to feel the urgency yet long enough to establish new behaviors.
To make the goals SMART ask yourself:
-What am I doing? I will go for a walk everyday.
-When? How long? In the morning after I drop off the kids at school for 30 minutes.
Being very specific makes it more likely for you to accomplish the goal. You should be able to picture this goal clearly in your mind.
Then make them realistic by taking SMALL steps.
If you haven’t been taking daily walks, do you think this is something you can do immediately? Don’t set yourself up for failure with goals that are out of reach. Therefore, start SMALL! How can you go from zero walks to walking everyday for 30 minutes? What would be the next small step you can try this week? Again make this small step SMART.
-What/When/How long? I will walk for 10 min on Monday.
Being able to take small steps goes a long way when building your confidence! Once you master one small behavior, you can take it a bit further to increase the challenge but at the same still making it realistic.
The final piece of sticking with your goals is treating them as EXPERIMENTS.
Something you may not know about me is that I enjoyed conducting science experiments when I was in high school so in college, I ended up studying Physics (graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in Applied Physics which I haven’t used at all in my adult life but that’s another story!..) Part of the challenge (and fun) was figuring out what variables to adjust to draw out conclusions and get useful results – it was all about trial and correction.
When you approach goals as an experiment, you think about what challenges you might encounter that could hinder your progress and prepare yourself with a plan B. It’s a continuous learning process where none of the goals are set in stone and you can make adjustments along the way. As you will discover, there are many paths to take towards your wellness vision and it would take experimentation to determine which one works for you best.
If you’re struggling with your wellness goals, take a close look at how you set goals and remember to follow these 3 simple steps:
Do you have other strategies that help you follow through with your wellness goals?