Way To Health Goals

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”


Missing The Target

At one point or another, most of us have set at least one health-related goal. Some of us have set quite a few goals over our lifetime.

So the question is, if the average person sets out to meet a healthy goal, why do they often fail?… The answer is typically one, or a combination of, these three mistakes.

Common Mistakes

#1 Improper Goal Setting

#2 Unrealistic Expectations

#3 Extrinsically Motivated

Imagine this scenario…Alex, a working mother of two, decides it is time to lose that extra 10-15 lbs. gained after her second child. Alex has not been physically active since college and eats on the unhealthy side (fast food is her favorite!).

Alex sets a goal “to begin jogging every weekday morning and eating healthier in order to lose the weight”.

On a scale of 1-10, how likely do you think Alex will meet this goal?…Our guess would be around a 2.

In this article, we will address some common goal setting mistakes then, use the information to revise Alex’s goal.

Common mistakes explained…

1. Too Much Too Soon

Attempting dramatic behavior change so suddenly is a receipe for complications. Extreme change of any kind can quickly lead to relapse, burnout and/or negative effects on your mental and physical health.

Small changes carried out consistently will lead to greater future success.  Set goals which challenge you but, are within your ability. Meeting your goals will help keep you motivated!

2. Overly Broad

Blanket statements such as “eating healthier” and “jogging every weekday” are far too vague.  Unrefined goals can easily lead to emotional frustration because you don’t have enough information.

Make specific statements which clearly outline your plan. “Instead of snacking from the vending machine this week, I will bring healthy snacks from home”.

3. Where’s the Finish Line?

When setting goals, it is important to set a reasonable deadline. Everyone needs a finish line! Working towards a goal requires effort, having an end date will help sustain your mental focus.

Set a reasonable deadline depending on the complexity of your goal. 7-14 days is a good short term goal. Once you reach the finish line, you can then regroup, revise and start fresh! Like we mentioned, meeting a goal has huge benefits for your feelings of self-worth and long term motivation.

4. Most Important, Why?…

People tend to make goals because it seems like the “right” thing to do or, something they heard through the media. If you don’t clearly understand your “why” behind wanting to change/meet your goal, chances are you will struggle.

Intrinsic motivation is desiring something that comes from “inside” or, “from the heart”.  Wanting to lose weight because “you need to”, does not ignite your inner drive. However, wanting “to lose 10-15 lbs because the added weight makes it difficult to play outside your children” showcases a deep intrinsic desire. Repeating your why over and over again can help push your forward towards your goal.

Now, let’s use the information above and refine the initial goal statement.

“My longterm goal is to lose 10-15 lbs because I need to spend more outdoor time with my children and my weight complicates that. My initial goal is to cook my own breakfast at least 4-5 times/week instead of ordering fast food. I will also wake up 30 minutes earlier at least 3 days/week (Mon, Wed, and Fri) to walk for 15 minutes around my neighborhood. I will start tomorrow and stick to this plan for two weeks”.

MUCH better!

Use this information and WRITE yourself a new health goal!  Practice makes perfect. If you don’t feel confident about your ability to be challenged yet capable of meeting your goal, keep revising! Start small and take your time. The journey to optimal health is a turtle race!

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