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How to Boost Your Health by Setting the Right Goals

Each year, many of us set big, lofty goals for ourselves with the hopes that things will be different. Unfortunately, these big goals (sometimes referred to as New Year’s Resolutions, but can occur any time of the year) tend to fall flat in the dust before we even reach Valentine’s Day.

Why do these big dreams have such high hopes yet die so quickly? There are a few key reasons that surround how goals are set.

The Pitfalls of Traditional New Year’s Resolutions

While New Year’s Resolutions might seem like a good idea in theory, they often fail because of their lack of specificity and intentionality. People choose big goals with no plan, no structure, and no timeline. This means there’s little accountability or motivation actually to achieve these goals.

In addition, resolutions tend to be based on external pressures from society rather than internal desires. This can lead to feelings of failure if the resolution is not met rather than providing a sense of accomplishment and personal growth.

The Difference Between Goals and Resolutions

Goals and resolutions are often used interchangeably, but there is a fundamental difference between the two.

  • A goal is defined as an aim or desired result that someone works towards achieving, while a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something.
  • Resolutions tend to focus on specific behaviors, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, rather than the bigger picture of overall personal growth.
  • Goals are typically more specific, measurable, and achievable with a clear plan in place to reach them.

The Importance of Setting Health Goals

When it comes to improving your overall health, setting goals is a crucial step that many people overlook. No matter where we are in our health journey, always striving for improvement and growth is essential. Setting health goals provides a clear direction, helps track progress, and motivates us to make positive changes in our lives.

The way goals are set is crucial and is a bit of an art. Of course, simply saying you want to “be healthier” is too vague and open-ended. So is “lose weight” or “eat better.”

How will you know when you have been successful? What specific actions are you going to take to achieve this goal? This is where SMART goals come into play.

The Art of Setting SMART Goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This popular framework helps to create clear, concise goals that have a higher chance of being achieved.

  • Specific: Define your goal in detail. For example, instead of saying “exercise more,” specify how often and what type of exercise you will do.
  • Measurable: Establish concrete criteria to measure progress towards the goal. This could be tracking workouts or measuring certain vital signs like blood pressure or cholesterol levels.
  • Achievable: Set realistic goals that are within your abilities and resources. It’s essential to challenge yourself, but setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration and discouragement.
  • Relevant: Make sure the goal aligns with your overall values and priorities. If you’re not passionate about the goal, it will be challenging to stay motivated.
  • Time-Bound: Set a specific timeline for when the goal should be achieved. This creates a sense
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Tips for Setting Health Goals

1. Before Writing a Goal, First Identify Your Priorities

Writing a SMART goal is a great start, but it’s also crucial to take a step back and reflect on your priorities before setting any goal. Identifying what truly matters to you and what brings fulfillment in your life can help guide your health goals. For example, if spending time with family is a top priority, you may want to set a goal that allows for more quality family time, like scheduling regular family walks or cooking healthy meals together.

Additionally, considering the different areas of your life that impact your overall health, such as physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being can help you set more well-rounded goals. This will also prevent you from solely focusing on one aspect of health while neglecting others.

If you don’t have a crystal clear reason for setting a goal (you’re “why”), it’ll likely fail quickly.

2. Break Your Goals WAY Down

When setting health goals, it’s essential to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. That way the focus can be spent on one small step rather than feeling overwhelmed. This not only makes the goal more feasible but also provides a sense of accomplishment and progress along the way.

For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, breaking it down into losing one pound per week (with the exact means of how too) can make the overall goal seem less daunting.

3. Find an Accountability Partner

Accountability is key when it comes to achieving goals, especially health goals. Finding a friend, family member, or even a professional coach who can support and hold you accountable can make all the difference in staying on track. They can provide encouragement, celebrate successes, and offer guidance when needed.

4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Setting goals is not about being perfect, and it’s important to remember that there will be setbacks along the way. If you slip up or miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, use it as motivation to get back on track and keep pushing towards your goal.

5. Celebrate Your Successes Along the Way

Last but certainly not least, it’s crucial to celebrate every success, no matter how small. Every step towards your goal is progress and should be recognized and celebrated. This positive reinforcement can help keep you motivated and inspired to continue on your health journey.

Make Measurable Progress This Year

Setting health goals is an essential step in improving overall well-being and achieving personal growth. By using the SMART framework, identifying priorities, and breaking down goals into manageable steps, you can make measurable progress toward a healthier life this year.

Remember to be kind to yourself along the way and celebrate every success, no matter how small.

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