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The Importance of Setting Health Goals for Yourself

Did you know that giving up on a goal can take a psychological and physical toll on you? Yes, it can! Goal setting is not just about writing down your expectations and hoping something great will happen after being consistent. When you begin working towards a goal and experience setbacks to the point you start doubting yourself, you’re on your way to state psychologists refer to as an “action crisis.” That’s the point where you experience internal conflict on whether or not to soldier on. According to research, the body produces the stress hormone cortisol when you are experiencing “action crisis.” The problem with this is that cortisol will not help you achieve your health goals or any other goal you’ve set. In fact, elevated cortisol levels may increase your blood pressure and cause other problems.

These findings are a reminder that apart from setting goals, we should also figure out how to achieve them and stay on track. Wouldn’t it be annoying to set health goals, only to suffer from a health condition brought about by your inability to achieve the goals? That doesn’t have to be the case. With the right approach, we can all achieve our health goals.

weight loss goal

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SET HEALTH GOALS?

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Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not an easy task, especially if you have a busy schedule. We often set out to do away with all our unhealthy habits, but sometimes life happens. At times, you might be doing great, but give up midway because your progress is slower than you expected. Often, the problem is not your inability to achieve the goal. The problem in most cases is that we lack clear goals. Without a clear purpose, giving up is more likely. That’s because you do not know what you want to achieve or when you have attained it. Below are some of the reasons why you need to set clear health goals.

Have you ever driven a car with a child inside asking you if you are there yet every other minute? What happens when you tell them you are almost there? Most children will keep asking the same question after every few minutes. The reason this happens is that they do not have a definite destination. The same thing happens to us when we do not have clear goals.

 

For instance, if one of your health goals is to walk every day, how do you know when you’ve achieved your goal for the day? If you don’t set a daily number of steps, you might end up frustrated because there is no “destination.” On the other hand, if your health goals are clear, you always know when you’re on the right track, and this acts as a great motivator and sets you up for success.

Another advantage of setting clear health goals is that it makes it easier for you to fit the activity into your daily routine. For instance, if you plan to work out for 30 minutes every day, you need to figure out what time of the day would be the best for this. This way, you never have to miss a work out session because of lack of time.

Clear health goals have time frames. The advantage of having a time frame for your goals is that it makes it more likely for you to be consistent. Consistency is one of the major determinants of whether or not we are going to achieve our goals because it allows us to see the results faster. That, in turn, satisfies our impatient tendencies.

By setting clear goals, you are laying down the path you are going to follow to achieve them. As a result, it becomes easier for you to track your daily progress. Simple things like checking off a successful day on a calendar or tracking your progress with an app can go a long way in motivating you to keep going. However, if your health goals are not clear, it might be impossible to track your progress which makes it hard to know whether or not you are on the right track.

People who have goals feel that they have a sense of control over their lives. That may be because goal-setting is linked to higher achievement. The Huffington Post describes goal setters as people who are comfortable with risk, energized by change, and prefer innovation. When you wake up in the morning prepared to do something that will make you better tomorrow, you feel more empowered, focused, and excited compared to someone who sits on the couch all day long chewing on junk food.

Goal setting is also important because it makes you stay accountable to yourself. When you don’t achieve your health goals, you are the only person you answer to and the only person that can rectify the situation.

Goal setting also connects you with your innermost desires. As a result, you get something to strive for which acts as a great motivator. That is especially important if you are going through a difficult time. Your goals help shift your focus from the negative things and direct it to things you love.

Another great benefit of setting health goals is that they enable you to live your best life. When you choose to eat a healthy diet, exercise more, or take the stairs instead of the elevator; it might seem like a minor adjustment, but it will work wonders for your overall health.

HOW TO SET AND ACHIEVE HEALTH GOALS

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As you can see, goal setting is very advantageous. However, you shouldn’t stop at setting a goal. You need to have a strategy on how to achieve your health goals. There are several things you can do that will set you up for success. 

These include:

DISCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE

Have you ever set a goal but somehow lost motivation to do it? Did you feel like something within you did not care whether or not you accomplished the goal? That happens when our goals are out of alignment with our purpose. When you seek motivation from external factors and ignore what your heart truly wants, there is a great chance you will not achieve the goal. Therefore, when setting health goals, make sure you take some time to discover your desires.

MAKING SMART HEALTH GOALS

Another thing that can make it easier for you to achieve your health goals is to make them clear, attainable, and as realistic as possible. The best way to do this is to make your goals “S.M.A.R.T.”

SPECIFIC

When setting health goals, you need to have a clear definition of what the goal is as opposed to making a general statement. For example, instead of saying you want to lose weight, determine how much weight you want to lose and in what period. Specific goals make it easier for you to track your progress.

MEASURABLE

You should also be able to measure your goals. For instance, if you plan to drink more water, determining how much water you will drink in a day makes your goal measurable.

ATTAINABLE

What are your health goals? Do you think each of your goals is attainable with your resources, time, and abilities?

REALISTIC

A sure way to fail is to set unrealistic goals. Always make sure your goals are reasonable and that you can do it.

TIME-BOUND

You also need to set a time limit. After how long do you hope to have achieved the goal? If there is no time limit, it is not a goal; it’s a dream.

OVERCOME OBSTACLES EFFECTIVELY

When you begin working towards achieving your goals, you will face many obstacles. Some of the challenges you are likely to encounter are social, environmental, and personal challenges. Facing obstacles is expected when you are striving to achieve something. However, how you react to your problems will determine whether or not you reach your goal. Try and remain positive and remember why you started. It is also advisable to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.

STAY FOCUSED

There are several ways to stay focused on your health goals despite facing distractions. One way to go about it is to prepare for the next day in advance. If you plan to work out, have your clothes and workout gear ready. Planning removes the easiest decisions from the table and prevents you from being sidetracked.

 

It is also advisable to deal with challenging tasks before anything else. This way, you can relax and focus on less strenuous tasks for the rest of the day. You can also stay focused by eliminating time wasters from your daily routine.

COMMON HEALTH GOALS THAT PEOPLE MAKE AND HOW TO ACHIEVE THEM

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Did you know that 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February? So, what’s the best way to set a goal and achieve it? To better your chances of success, you need to stop focusing on the outside-in solutions because these are doomed to fail. Instead, change your mind about your situation and then seek solutions that will help you get there. As they say, whatever your mind can conceive it can achieve. The battle always begins and ends in the mind.

AGE GRACEFULLY

An adage tells us that age is nothing but a number. However, it might not be easy to believe this when you hit menopause or realize you are no longer able to hit the gym as you used to in your 20s. Nonetheless, this should not discourage you from making health goals that will enable you to age gracefully. If you want to age gracefully, the best way to go about it not to limit yourself. Do you feel like going on a road trip, running a marathon or starting yoga classes? Do it! When you are courageous enough to take chances without allowing your age to hold you back, you will set yourself on a path that will leave you feeling energetic and excited about life.

EAT WELL

A lot of people resolve to eat well, but never seem to keep up with the habit. If you’ve experienced this, there are ways you can achieve this goal. First, ensure there is no junk food in your home and have a lot of healthy options. It's also easier to eat healthy when you prepare your own meals as opposed to eating out. When your goal is to eat healthily, it also helps to inform your relatives so that they do not bring trigger foods home.

LOSE WEIGHT

Losing weight may be one of the most challenging health goals to achieve because you do not see results overnight. However, it is possible to lose weight with the right approach. For instance, instead of focusing on misguided exercise and diet habits, set goals that are not related to weight loss -- like adding more vegetables to your diet and drinking more water.

WALK MORE

A lot of people also strive to walk more. However, walking more is a very vague health goal. You need to determine the number of steps you hope to achieve every day to keep track of your progress. The best way to go about this is to get a Fitbit or any other fitness tracker. This way, you always know when you have achieved your daily step goals.

GET STRONGER

Building strength may seem like a lofty goal, especially if you are starting from scratch. However, there are several steps you can take towards achieving this health goal. For starters, you can sign up for a gym and lift weights several times a week. You can also engage in strength training every day and challenge yourself to do more sets and repetitions every other week. Before you know it, you will be so much stronger compared to when you started.

COMPLETE A MARATHON

Running is one of the best physical activities you can do. According to Runners World, running for one hour adds seven hours to your life. This may be something to think about as you prepare for your marathon. Whether you plan to hit the dirt, road, or run on a treadmill, there are several ways you can prepare for a marathon. You need to get the right equipment, signup for the right program, maintain a proper diet, take some time to rest, and prepare yourself mentally.

BE HAPPY

Saying you want to be happier can seem like a journey without an end; "if I get the promotion I will be happier; I’ll be happier if I get married; I will be satisfied if I get a baby;" and the list goes on. But how about learning to be happy without all these external factors? When external factors determine your happiness, it might be tough to be happy. Therefore, begin finding joy in every situation. Expressing gratitude for what you have is an excellent way to start.

SET YOUR HEALTH GOALS AND BEGIN LIVING A BETTER LIFE

We can all live a better life by setting S.M.A.R.T goals and doing our best to achieve them despite the obstacles we face. At times it might feel like your health goals are far out of reach, but you cannot afford to give up. It is only through consistency that you will be able to get where you want to be. So, soldier on and you’ll eventually get there.

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