By Amanda Whitford
The new year is a time when people start to think about goal setting and the things they want to achieve for the year ahead. After the indulgent holiday season these goals tend to include things like healthy eating, weight loss, and exercise but all too often our good intentions are forgotten in a matter of weeks and bad habits are resumed. So why does this happen?
In my opinion a lot of this has to do with the type of goals that are set. These are usually fairly vague, with a known outcome the person wants to achieve but little practical thought as to how they are actually going to get there. It’s like trying to reach a new location without a map.. You’re likely to make a whole lot of wrong turns or need to seek some assistance before you can actually get where you need to be.
So how do we make better goals?? There is a really helpful acronym that I learnt at uni called the SMART goals system:
For example, rather than saying your goal is weight loss or healthy living you need to narrow it down into more detail. Something like eating 5 or more servings of non-starchy vegetables would be a SMART goal for me. It’s specific in that I know exactly what I need to do, I can measure it by counting the serves I eat, it is attainable for me as I already eat a lot of vegetables each day, it’s relevant to the aim to be healthier, and timely in that I’ve set a clear time frame for it to occur.
Also just because you want to start the year with healthier habits doesn’t mean to need to do a 180 degree life change all at once. Setting gradual goals for change means that these changes are much easier to implement and more likely to be continued in the long run. Too much change at once can be a bad thing, especially if you’re like me who really likes stability in my life. Make small, achievable goals and as you achieve them your confidence will grow and you can start to push yourself or challenge yourself more each time.
Another vital part of goal setting is to write them down and put them in a visible place so you can be reminded each day, and to keep a record of your progress. I often use star charts when if I’m doing a time related change so I can track my progress and be accountable on paper – it is surprisingly effective, these primary school teachers are onto something!
If you have so many goals that you don’t know where to start, then I have a solution for you that my friend passed on to me. Simply write them on small pieces of paper and draw them out of a hat to decide the order. If it’s coming up with the goals in the first place that you struggle with then contact Lynda for personalised assistance – she is an expert at goal setting for health, well being and weight loss. Good health is not a default state, it takes awareness, motivation, and action – and it starts with you.