Wellness coach Elly McGuinness shares her expertise on how to set and achieve your health goals.
As a new year begins the media eagerly offers solutions to all our health and wellbeing challenges. You may notice headlines such as ‘drop a dress size in six weeks’ or ‘try the ‘xyz’ diet to look 10 years younger’ vying for your attention. Health products and programmes claiming big results are easily found at this time of the year, and they all want to help you move past the excesses of the festive season and recreate yourself for the year ahead.
In the excitement of moving into a new year and making positive changes to your lifestyle I ask that you first recognise you are wonderful as the person you already are and that you don’t need a completely ‘new you’. Instead, think about some of the changes you will be able to make that will help you feel fitter and healthier and that will be sustainable in the long run. Many ‘overhaul’ programmes are simply
not individualised, nor sustainable as they don’t often consider the stages of change, thought, planning, preparation and support required for success.
Start mapping out your personal health goals by putting pen to paper.
When we arrive at December 2017, what will you be able to look back at to tell yourself you’ve had a fantastic year and have made progress towards optimising your health? What will you be able to see, feel, or do?
• Fit back into your old jeans?
• Wake up feeling rested in the mornings?
• Stick to a regular exercise regime?
1. 1-3 long-term goals (6-12 months)
2. Break each one down to medium-term goals
3. Break these down to short-term goals (4 weeks)
4. Set weekly targets – one step at a time!
5. Set daily habits and actions
Your goals need to be SMARTE: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Specific and Exciting (Enjoyable, too).
They should be stated positively, be things you have control over and be things that you want, not that others want. You must have a clear understanding
of why your goal is important to you. If you have a strong emotional driver there will be a far greater likelihood of success.
An example of a SMARTE health goal that includes the person’s ‘why’: “By the end of 2017 I will have completed my first 5km fun run. I will feel so proud to be able to show my children that consistency and dedication pay off. The increased energy I will have will allow me to spend more quality time with my family, which I am so excited about.”
Make your goals visual and put them in prominent places where you will be reminded of them (e.g. on your wall and fridge, and in your wallet) and then tell people about them – accountability is another factor that will contribute towards your success.
Ask a life coach or health and fitness trainer if you need additional help in setting goals or in following them through to completion.