What are your thoughts on setting wellness goals? Are you the type of person who has a weekly plan? Or just a broad idea on what you’d like to do and see if it somehow fits your schedule. What if you created a plan but can’t get yourself to act on it?
If you want to start making changes in your lifestyle, your goals will 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. Once you see progress, you start to hold yourself more accountable to the goals you set.
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 consider 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
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 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 short period of time to feel the urgency to achieve these goals yet still long enough to establish new behaviors.
Then make them realistic by taking SMALL steps.
Don’t set yourself up for failure with goals that are out of reach. Therefore, start SMALL! What would be the next small step you can try this week? Again make this small step SMART.
Again, using myself as an example, I decided to start with 1 session/week for 30 minutes. I scheduled it on a Sunday early morning while my family was still asleep. Here’s the goal I wrote down – I will practice yoga at home with a YouTube video on Sunday 6am for 30minutes.
Notice the specific details of my goal. Being detail oriented makes it more likely you’ll do them. You should be able to imagine yourself doing the activity as written.
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?