Top 10 Tips to Setting Healthy Goals to Achieve Results from an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Most people set goals at the beginning of the year which can be a beneficial exercise to refocus your priorities and what you want to accomplish in life. Most of these goals will include some sort of health-related objective related to diet and fitness.
Sadly, statistics report only about 8% of the people that set resolutions achieve them, which means that the 92% of people will fail. Have you found yourself in this situation in the past as you reflect upon your past resolutions?
Why is this?
Put simply, behavior change is hard.
Albert Einstein famously said the definition of “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” As a Health Coach, I see this all the time – people struggling to stick with their basic healthy eating habits or fitness routines, which is why trained Health Coaches are so impactful in shifting that needle to the other side of success.
In my practice, MyHealthyTransitions Health Coaching, I meet people where they are to create personalized wellness blueprints that take out the stress of figuring it all out on their own. Working 1:1 with an experienced Health Coach can help you set realistic goals with a clear plan, focus yourself when you get off track and help you to uncover the “why” behind the behaviors that hold you back.
Even if you’re not one to set specific resolutions, you probably find yourself thinking about things you want to achieve in your life at some point throughout the year and you’ll have goals to accomplish in some area of your life.
As you embark on your intentions, keep in mind there is a science to setting goals that deliver results. Rather than just wising for the best, I encourage you to take some time to review my tips to approach goal-setting strategically before jumping in without a solid plan.
Follow my top 10 tips to setting goals and feel confident that you’ll achieve them!
1. Determine Your Why. Your “why” is the reason behind the goal you’ve set. You should be able to clearly articulate why your goals are meaningful to you in the big picture of your life. Your “why” should align with your personal values and it should resonate with you on a deeper level. Ideally, your “why” should surpass the superficiality of losing 10 lbs. to fit into your favorite pair of jeans to post your selfies on Instagram, but perhaps losing weight will alleviate joint pain so you can play with your kids or reduce the amount of medication you have to take to manage your health condition to live a more full and vibrant life. A short-term goal is fine, but a long-term impact is more significant.
2. Do YOU. I like to always go back to the saying “Don’t Chase After Someone Else’s Goals” when I set goals for myself or when consulting with others. Despite what social media might tempt you to believe, there is no reason why you must feel pressured to want what someone else has or their goals. In fact, comparing yourself to others only creates more unhappiness and discontent with your own circumstances. When you’re considering your goals – health-related or not – ask yourself if they are really grounded in YOUR values and what YOU want out of life.
3. Get Clear. While diet and fitness are popular resolutions people set, there are many other goals related to health and wellness that contribute to your overall wellbeing you should consider when creating your healthy goals plan. These include areas like personal relationships, self-care, spirituality, career and purpose, environment, gratitude and mindset, connection with nature, play, altruism and volunteerism and more. Life is short – so get clear on what truly matters and all the ways you can cultivate a life of wellbeing for yourself and those around you.
4. Follow the S.M.A.R.T.I. Approach. If you’ve worked in business, you probably have heard of setting “S.M.A.R.T.” goals. This acronym stands for: S – Specific. M – Measurable. A – Achievable. R – Realistic. T. – Timely. I fully support this method for goal setting, but I add in one more step, and that is I – Important. You can set a million goals, but if they aren’t important to you, or to moving you towards your desired result, then what’s the point? As you’re setting your goals, evaluate them according to the S.M.A.R.T.I. criteria to determine if you are approaching them the right way. If they don’t meet all of the S.M.A.R.T.I. requirements, adjust as necessary until they do. Now you’re on the right track towards having goals that you can look back on and say you’ve accomplished.
5. Write it Down. Envisioning your goals can help you manifest them, but it’s also necessary to write them down to reinforce them fully. That’s why I’ve created a handy workbook for you to do just that – you can download it for FREE here. The Healthy Goal Setting Workbook is packed with goal setting/planning information, tips and exercises designed to assist and support you in achieving realistic goals. Using this Healthy Goals Workbook will encourage you to set goals and to design practical objectives for implementing them and getting REAL results.
6. Scale Back. I’m the type of person that wants to do everything and make a huge impact in the world, so even I fall prey to the trap of taking on too much. Now that you’ve considered all the goals you want to achieve, take an objective look at your list and ask yourself if it’s too much. I recommend setting 1-3 goals at a time. Once those are accomplished, you can add on the others on your list. And remember, just because you aren’t putting a goal on the list now, it doesn’t mean you can’t work towards it later. “First things first” is a phrase to live by!
7. Focus on the Process, Not the Result. Now you may think that putting all your attention on the result will keep you more motivated, but often it won’t do anything to move you any closer to getting there. I borrowed this phrase from my Wellness Warriors Radio podcast partner and I like the simplicity of it so I’m including it here. Ask yourself what are the actual, specific steps that are necessary to getting you to your destination and write those down. Just like I do with my 1:1 Health Coaching clients and in my group programs, I suggest breaking down your goals into small increments on a weekly, then daily, basis. This seemingly small shift is one of the most transformative steps to achieving the results you desire. Rather than feeling like you’re not making headway, if you set daily and weekly goals you can look back and see your accomplishments and feel like you’re moving in the right direction. Don’t discount that fact that small steps add up to big results and it never has to be all about “all or nothing” to be worth your effort.
8. Plan for Obstacles and Setbacks. We usually set off on a diet reset or fitness challenge with the best of intentions and the hopes that everything will go smoothly according to plan, but in actuality that’s rarely what happens in real life. It’s not important that you slip up or that things might not go exactly as planned – it’s how you REACT to setbacks that matters. Take setbacks as learning experiences instead of failures. Think ahead to what might cause you to slip up so you can prepare for potential roadblocks in advance. If you do find yourself off course, simply adjust as necessary and get right back on track. Every day is an opportunity and full of possibilities, so be grateful for it and don’t let it go to waste.
9. Enlist Support. At the end of the day, the only person who is ultimately responsible for your success is YOU, but you can gain traction when you have a support system in place. This could be an accountability partner to keep you honest and responsible, or an experienced Health Coach or business mentor to take the stress and guesswork out of your strategy. The more you know yourself and what keeps you motivated, the better; but even if you’re a true upholder, it’s easy to find loopholes or excuses in our own minds. Be aware of this aspect of human nature and don’t be afraid to recruit support before you veer off track.
10. Believe in Yourself. Wishing for your goals to come true without any effort on your part won’t exactly deliver results, but positive emotions have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being in numerous scientific studies. You have the capacity within you to become the person you want to be and the only person that truly matters when it comes to believing in your abilities is YOU. I fully support you on your journey wherever you are, but you’re the one who must take responsibility for your own actions at the end of the day. And most of all, when you’ve accomplished your goal (or even if you’ve made your best attempt without regret) take a moment to bask in your efforts and give yourself proper credit! (A healthy reward is always nice motivation too.)
Bonus Tip: Just START. Mark Twain famously said, “the secret to getting ahead is just getting started.” If you don’t push yourself to grow, then you’ll stay in the same rut. It’s not easy to get out of our comfort zone, but the best way to find out what you can accomplish and who you can become…is to try.
Now that you’re on your way to setting goals with confidence, download my FREE Setting Healthy Goals Workbook to solidify your personal plan!