Goal Setting For Health
1 Get specific. How can you work toward a goal if you’re not sure what it is? “I will add one extra vegetable serving daily each week until I’m getting the recommended five” is good because you’ve made it clear exactly what you are going to do, and you can track your progress.
2. Be realistic. If you’ve never run more than five steps in your life, planning to run a marathon in two months’ time is a recipe for failure. A more practical goal might be to walk for 30 minutes three times in a week. Realistic means achievable.
3. Challenge yourself. Be realistic, yes, but don’t be too easy on yourself. Without a challenge, the sense of achievement is limited at best. Select something you’re about 85 percent sure you can do, i.e., drinking two more glasses of water per day.
4. Set long- and short-term goals. Short-term goals should lead gradually to your larger, long-term goal. For example, you need to lose 50 pounds, but if you take it in five-pound increments, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.
5. Write your goals down. The problem with keeping your goals in your head is that they shift according to the immediate circumstances. With written goals, you can look at them when your motivation sags and remind yourself where you’re headed.
6. Develop goal-achievement strategies. If you want to quit smoking, read up on the current medications, talk to people who have quit and look into support groups. These are all practical strategies that will aid your cause.
7. Consider your personality. Are you a social animal? Then joining a fitness club is probably a good idea. Does competition intimidate you? Don’t sign up for that race. Tailor your tools and strategies to your needs, ability level and interests.
8. Develop commitment. Making a commitment means you stick to your game plan not only in good times, but in bad times. You’ll only reach your goals by working conscientiously over a sustained period of time.
9. Gather support. Oftentimes family and friends will subconsciously sabotage your efforts because they are afraid of change. Surround yourself with enthusiastic, supportive people, even if it means meeting some new ones.
10. Evaluate your progress. Constant evaluation and record keeping facilitates your progress. It also keeps setbacks and detours in perspective – when viewed against the bigger picture, these events lose their devastating power. The unexpected is to be expected -- and adjustments made in response.