While it’s easy to get caught up in the things you didn’t do that you wish you had in the past, I think focusing on the now is much more important. You can’t change the past. But you can change your attitude, behaviors and actions right now. And that will lead to a healthier future for you.
Setting healthy goals requires more than just saying, “I want to lose weight.” You need to develop a specific plan of action to help you accomplish those goals. Here’s how:
1. Decide what you really want to be. Ever heard the line, “Decide what to be and go be it?” It’s a great mantra to live by. Remember every journey begins with a single step. So think about what you really want to accomplish health-wise this year and in the years to come.
I found a great article in the Huffington Post called, “How to Live Without Regret in 2013“. Take the time to read it. Then write down your health goal(s). If you’re still struggling to come up with these goals try doing these two things for inspiration: 1) Visualize yourself in perfect health. Think about what you would look like, how you would feel, where you would be, who would be with you, etc. 2) Next, write down everything you just thought about. Use those thoughts to help you write your healthy goals.
2. Develop a plan. Now it’s time to take it to the next level. This is the step most people skip, and it’s probably the most important. Developing a plan to accomplish your goals is a must for many reasons:
- It gives you a detailed road map of how to accomplish your goals.
- It helps you hold yourself accountable.
- It gives you a sense of purpose.
- It helps you track your progress and see growth as it happens.
So here’s what you should do:
a. Grab a piece of paper, or open up a new document in Microsoft Word. Write “My Goals” at the top. Then, jot down your healthy goals for the next year.
b. Then, write sub-goals for each month. Write your sub-goals so they’re “SMART“:
So if your main goal is “get in the best shape of my life” here’s a list of SMART sub-goals:
- Lose 10 pounds by June 30.
- Decrease body fat percentage to 15% by March 1st.
- Reduce calorie intake to 2,000/day starting January 1st.
c. Once you have your list of sub-goals, it’s time to create your “setting healthy goals calendar”. I prefer to use a Bluesky Weekly/Monthly Planner, which you can get at Target for around $10. Or you can use a calendar on your computer or create your own. Regardless of what you use, you should break down your road map by month. Then, write down specific actions for each week.
Here’s an example:
Goal: Get in the best shape of my life
January Sub-goal: Lose 4 pounds
- Lift weights 2 days for 30 minutes
- Do 60 minutes of yoga
- Go to spin class 2 days for 1 hour
- Stretch at least 3 days
- Eat no more than 2,000 calories/day
The idea here is to create actionable items you can check off your list each day or week. I like to break my goals down by day, because it gives me satisfaction to check things off my list each day. But if you want to do this once a week, that’s fine. The key is to figure out what works for you.
It becomes very motivating and gratifying to get things done and watch yourself progress as the weeks go by. So give it a try for a month and see what you think. For me, it has been the most effective way of setting healthy goals and creating sustainable changes in my life.
This article is the second in my “Lose Weight and Keep It Off” series.
Next up is article #3 about the only diet you’ll ever need.
Or go back and read article #1 to find out your reasons for eating healthy.