Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On Goal Setting and Realistic Planning

I know that we are already two solid weeks into the New Year. However, I think this is an even more suitable time to set some goals than the first day of the year is. There is so much festivity involved in ringing in the New Year. In all the hype, it is hard to make determined, rational goals. Our expectations are kind of out of whack. Now that we’ve returned to the normalcy of life, we can evaluate what changes we can reasonably make.

So, if you’d like, take a moment to rethink the "resolutions" that popped into your mind over the New Year. Have you been sticking to them? Are they even stickable? Do you need to refine your early thoughts in order to develop them into truly helpful goals?

Healthwise, what areas do you see that need your attention? Once you have a general idea in your mind (drink more water, lose some weight, exercise regularly, eat healthier, be consistent with my supplements), you can break it down in to doable steps. I encourage you to take the time to determine these mini-goals. With these in place, you are much more likely to reach your long-term resolution than if you just had a general thought in place.

Let’s take an example for clarification.
If your general idea is that you want to exercise regularly, you could follow these steps to make your mini goals:

  1. I currently exercise sporadically, at best.
  2. I would like to finish the year exercising four days a week for 30 minutes at a time.
  3. Break this general goal into mini goals.
  • Through the rest of the winter, I am going to exercise twice a week. That’s not hard. I should be able to stick to it.
  • When spring comes, and the weather beckons me outside, I will add in another day per week, totaling three days of exercise.
  • By summer, the weather will be very hot and so I will need to exercise early. I will challenge myself to add in the fourth day anyway.
  • If all is going well, I will maintain my four-day a week routine through the fall. If the heat of the summer has slowed me down, I will up my routine to four days a week and stick with it to finish the year strong.

You could easily add more detail into these mini-goals, such as what types of exercise you will do each day.

But here is an important key: Anticipate your roadblocks and address them from the beginning. If you’ve prepared yourself to deal with barriers, you are more likely to overcome and meet your goal.

You can follow this type of outline to refining any of your health goals. The bigger the goal, the more mini-goals you should lay out along the way.

We all have areas that need improvement. I think it is important to always be making progress. It is way too easy to just stagnate. But we have to be proactive about our health. It takes more effort to be healthy! I challenge you to make a change to improve your health this year. And, in order to make the change stick, take 15 minutes to write down some mini-goals. You’ll be glad you did.

"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." Michelangelo

1 comment:

Martha said...

What a bright idea! I definitely need to buy a journal to document all of my mini-goals. It's definitely helpful to have set plans for the rest of the year, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Thanks!!