How to achieve your health goals: A step-by-step guide
Have you been struggling to achieve your health goals? Then it’s time to change the game and set your health and life goals and attain them this new year.
It’s a whole new year,- 365 days to improve yourself, your life, and your health- all of you. Usually, at this time, we set resolutions to be healthier, better, and really be our best selves.
I bet you have by now made some resolutions to be better this year.
But let’s pause for a minute and evaluate how we did last year. Raise your hand up if you made some fabulous New Year’s Day healthy living resolutions. I see you there! And me too! Here is my hand up!
So tell me, are you still going strong? How are those resolutions you made last year going? If you are still committed and going strong, good for you.
Or did you flounder on the 10th day? Don’t feel too bad. You are not alone. The great thing is, now we all have another chance at making great healthy living resolutions and going strong with these goals and resolutions from here on out.
Why you need to set your new year’s healthy life goals and not just resolutions.
There is just something about sticking to a new habit, to change, that can be so hard.
And that is why resolutions fail.
For the most part, just saying you will do something will not make it happen.
You have to go beyond a declaration and set intentions and lay out a step-by-step process.
You see, our brain is a wonderful organ, and it tries to keep us safe and happy, at all costs.
So it rebels when we try to do something new. Something that is at first uncomfortable.
The brain tries to shepherd us back to the safety zone so we don’t have to experience discomfort.
And in so doing we start feeling and thinking, that well, the whole practicing healthy habits thing is not one we are cut for.
The kind of living where we don’t eat sweets and are expected to leave our couch or exercise is just too hard.
We start to doubt our ability, choice of time, and ability to accomplish our goals.
We find all sorts of excuses as to why the new habit is not a viable choice for us. We revert back to our comfort zone and our old ways and the new resolutions become, well, pretty much dead.
We simply lack the willpower to stick to the new healthy habits we so much need and vowed to keep on New Year’s Day.
We are human, and we are not as strong as we would like to be.
But not to fret. You, my friend, can keep your new year’s resolutions this year by following these iron-clad guidelines:
# 1 Know you’re why
Why is it important to you to achieve these health goals? Be clear on this.
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For anyone to stick to something such as a new habit, and achieve important goals, they must have an important soul-shaking reason holding it up daily. It is not easy to form new habits.
In fact, research says it takes about 21 days for a habit to become ingrained so that you do it without thinking.
So if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 3 months, know exactly why you want that to happen.
Do you have to fit in a gorgeous wedding gown, do you have your 10th high school reunion and you want to show off how you haven’t aged a day? My, little secret wish. Sshhh! Don’t tell anyone.
Or do you want to start eating healthy in general because you know, you want to age gracefully, and see your grandbabies and great-grandbabies? Maybe, you want to keep your mind intact and sharp so hopefully, you don’t become a burden to your children.
Knowing your why will keep you grounded and motivated to achieve your health goals. So know it and recite it daily.
#2 Write it down on paper preferably so you can see it daily.
There is something about writing stuff down that makes them more real and has a bigger impact on our subconscious.
Sort of draws those goals into our minds.
So get all detailed in your writing about what is and how and even when these goals for your new healthy you will happen.
When you are you have a detailed plan, chances are you will become more invested in these goals and are more likely to achieve them.
Okay. I know you think you have a good memory. I am not saying you don’t.
But regardless, write down your big hairy scary health goal and paste it somewhere you can see it daily.
You see, research shows that those who write down their goals are far more likely to achieve them than those who do not.
Read your health goal daily, and remember your why. It will recommit it to memory so you stay grounded in your health goals.
If you wake up and are feeling sort of lazy, read your goals and your plan to get a reminder as to what you committed to doing and why.
In fact, go a step further after you write your health goals down, write up a detailed plan. This will give you a road map for success, so you are not winging things willy-nilly as fancy strikes you. Indeed, call this your roadmap to success.
Set for yourself SMART health goals. That means that these goals will be specific, actionable, measurable, relevant, and timely
Don’t just say I will lose weight this year. State how much you want to lose and by when, and be realistic about it.
It is always best to lose weight slowly. If you want to lose 10 pounds in a month, what specific things are you going to do?
To be more specific. How do you do this? You can follow this example and write a big goal such as I will lose 20 pounds by March 2019. Then write a detailed plan of the actions you will take to achieve this.
This could be eating healthier. Then, of course, you have to state what you mean and how you will achieve this.
You may say you will eat 5 servings of veggies daily. You will eat out once biweekly. You will drink 64 oz of water daily.
You get the idea.
Within a goal for better health, you may include exercise. Then plan out how and when and how much exercise you will do. what kind of exercises?
It could be running for 30 minutes. or you may have a routine such as 20 squats to begin, increase by 5 daily for 30 days.
Do you see what I mean?
So you are specific about how much weight to lose and by when and how you will do it and how you will measure that to be sure it’s happening.
It is important to plan your goals so they fail-proof. Following a great plan will lead to success and you know success builds on success. A great tool to use for a fail-proof plan is this planner, The Slay Your Goals Planner.
#3 Look for accountability/support
I do totally believe that you are a can-do momma. But, just between the two of us, how many new years resolutions have you kept? Okay to be fair, I have a hard time with it too. So as I write, I am taking note because, girl, change sucks.
I love my couch and who doesn’t like a Netflix marathon?
So find a BFF who will tell you like it is in a nice way, even if it’s your mother.
Big hairy changes like exercising every day, or vowing to lose x number of pounds require some hand-holding and backside kicking, figuratively, of course.
You need, I need an accountability partner who will call out BS if BS needed calling.
One who will cry with you and then shoo you out the door so you can go for that run. Better still she or he will run with you, meditate with you and keep you grounded to the truth of your wellness goals.
#4 Stay motivated
Achieving goals is hard. It requires commitment and lots of hard work. It calls us to change the way we have lived for so long and break a habit that has been part of us for so long. The brain and the body rebel.
So keep your eyes on that goal
One thing to help manage a big health goal or any other goal is to chop it into bite-size small goals that you can easily achieve.
If you decide you will walk daily, know that if you haven’t done that for a long time, then it will be very hard.
So your small goal can be “I will walk briskly for 15 minutes.” Then when you achieve that, check off your list.
Keeping small goals that will lead to a big goal is a great way to achieve a big goal. And to stay motivated.
Then as you achieve these tiny goals, compliment yourself, and celebrate even small wins.
Stay positive, and don’t be discouraged.
#5 Tackle the mental blocks
Sometimes we have a hard time achieving our goals because we are very hard on ourselves. We can believe in other people’s abilities but not our own. Why is this? It is as if we wear blinders when it comes to our talent or our ability.
So tell yourself you can live healthily. You can lose weight. You can keep to your health routines.
Then read about healthy habits.
Start replacing one unhealthy habit after another. Replace unhealthy foods gradually.
Educate yourself on foods that can help and approach your health goals from a holistic point of view.
Talk to friends who are positive people for clarity. If others can do this so can you.
So have a winning attitude toward your goals and you will achieve them.
To help remove mental blocks avoid procrastination, and don’t get distracted. Visualize your new life as a better version of yourself, like a more healthy you. There is great power in visualizing the person you want to be. Do this often as practice makes perfect.
#6 Have confidence that you can change
You have what it takes to achieve your most ambitious health goals.
But you have been living a certain way for so long. You know, just easing into your couch whenever, eating whatever caught your fancy.
It can be hard to think that after doing this for 30 40, heck, 50 years you are now going to start eating healthy and exercising.
But you can do it. You just have to put your mind to it. You have to, again here, look back at your why.
Let that be your guiding light and principle for a healthy change that sticks.
You have surely done hard things in life. Look back at a difficult thing that you have done in the past.
You have grit. So this too, you can do.
Yes, the greens may not be appealing to eat, or the brisk walk is hard to do or you don’t have faith in yourself.
Look at other people who have done it. They are not more special.
They had a goal, and a conviction and they went for it. You too can.
# 7 Look for inspiration
We need to find inspiration to live our best lives, and that includes achieving our desired healthy life goals.
Is there someone on Instagram that is an exercise diva, follow them, and learn from them. Is there someone in your life that has managed to get their health back? Ask them how they do it.
Learn from them. Join them and may have them as your exercise or gym, walk buddy. We all can use some inspiration.
Listen to inspiring talks as well.
Read great works of inspiration. I have found some great ones lately on youtube and TED TALKs
# 8 Give yourself grace
Sometimes you will stumble as you pursue your health goals. But don’t lose heart.
Oh, it can be disheartening when you find you have, in spite of all your efforts, fallen short of your goals. You are human after all. So give yourself grace, forgive yourself. But whatever you do, if you believe in your health goals, and you should, don’t give up. Just don’t give up.
At this point, if the actions for the goal become hard, or tedious then some will say, “well, I knew I suck at this and I am just not cut out for this sort of thing. Or, “I am not one who can stick to an exercise routine,” and so on.
The excuses are many. That is self-sabotage and it kills many a dream. So don’t let your dreams for a better, happier, healthier life die a death by self-sabotage or any other death.
Eventually, you will look back and be amazed at how far you have come. It will be a new day, and you will be a new and healthier person.
The most important thing you can do is to get right back into the routine, get right back and start where you stopped, and keep going. The occasional failure is a reminder to reaffirm the need for these goals and for reaching out for help.
It is a lesson that shows your strength, and a word to the wise is that you don’t let your weaknesses wreak havoc on your life. Rather find a way to use your strengths, and work on reducing your weaknesses of their power, So reach out and ask for help, and recommit.
And most importantly learn to forgive yourself. Look back at your why. Remind yourself why this health goal is important and pick yourself up and keep going.
Those you see succeeding in many cases have failed multiple times, but they just never gave up on their dreams.
You can be counted among these great souls.
So you got tempted and ate some cake. Okay, it is not the end of the world. Put on your running shoes and get some exercise. You will feel so much happier. Eventually, you will see the results. You got this!
Today, stick to your guns and eat healthily. Please note that to be healthy you do not need to starve and only eat a vegetable for instance. No. Eating healthy is a lifestyle. It is not a fad.
You make it a habit of eating within reason a little bit of each food group. Of course, limiting sugar is crucial.
Just make sure to start over and keep going even if you fall off your goals sometimes.
Look at your written goals, to keep yourself grounded in your health goals. You need to be able to play with those grandbabies, for example.
# 9 Celebrate Success
Hey, you go girl!
So you have worked hard, you have kept at it and you have been eating healthy and taking a brisk walk every day for thirty minutes for a week. Take a moment and congratulate yourself. you are doing amazing work.
This will help you stay inspired, and believe in your own ability to change. You may have noticed a bit of change may be lost 2 pounds. Go then, buy yourself a dress or something pretty. I am all for buying pretty things.
Within a budget of course. Get some trinkets. Anything that makes you happy is okay.
Of course, you don’t want to blow all the hard work. So don’t go crazy on the cake, so to speak.
Remember, you need to be your number one fan and celebrate your success. You are achieving your health goals, and in a few short weeks, you are going to see a whole new you. Just keep going.
Happy health goal setting and achieving! You are amazing and will crush it! Go on start on those health goals.
Follow the steps and start on your healthy living journey.
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Great post and one I need to heed rather than just read.
Thank you Phill! We all do need to head, maintaining a health style is hard until it becomes a habit.
I have been trying the accountability partner method to stimulate each other’s health goals, and I have to say that it is working really well. We keep each other in check when slacking and it creates a sense of responsibility to each other. And celebrating small successes with each other is just the best 🙂 thanks for sharing your tips Jan!
Ye Chen, I am glad to hear you are having great success with having an accountability partner. Its nice to have someone on your side when trying to make changes in your life as such changes are never easy. Ande celebrating even the small wins just lets us pause and appreciate our efforts to keep us motivated.
I am a list maker, so being able to write down my goals and steps that I can take along the way to achieve them is super important for me. I also like your advice on talking to a friend or trusted person to help clarify and stay on track with these goals. Thanks for sharing!
Great post! Writing things down is huge. I did that to stop smoking. I listed all the reasons to quit as well as how it affected me financially. Also, knowing what the triggers are for eating, smoking, etc., is huge. Once I identified my triggers, I was on my way.
Lynnette! I love that being intentional and listing all the disadvantages of smoking was this powerful for you. Stopping smoking is one of the most difficult struggles that people have and smoking seems to win for the most part. I am so glad that you managed to do that. Having goals and having a plan to stick to them is powerful. Thank you for reading and letting me know of your big win toward health.
Hi Heather! I do agree with you. I love making lists. And I have found since I have so little time. The days I actually really plan, and making a list, I manage to do so much more and achieve my goals. And people in our lives such as trusted friends can really see us for what we are. They may know some strengths we doubt in ourselves and help us see that and believe in ourselves so we can achieve our health goals.
I really struggle with giving myself grace when I fall off the wagon a bit. I need to learn to cut myself a little slack and not let that one slip up ruin my whole day.
Such wonderful advice! I’m a huge believer of writing things down. I truly believe it can make a world of a difference!
-Madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com
Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes, we write simple things like what to buy at the grocery store. Because you know what happens when we, don’t. So just how much more do we need to write down our goals and the steps we need to accomplish them. And your health is a worthy cause whose goals need to be well delineated so you can see them through. And if I may add a thriving healthy can contribute to improvement in other areas of your health such as money and relationships as well. So yup. write those goals down.
Do allow yourself to be human. No one is perfect, and we are all human here. It is hard to change, and even for the best of us, we slip up every now and then. So just say, you will do better next day and mean it and just keep going.
“We are human and we are not as strong as we would like to be”….so true!!! There is so much in this post that I love and that I need to do. Thanks for sharing with us – I hope you don’t mind , but I have shared this on my regular PainPalsBlog feature “Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!”, Claire x
Claire Saul! I am so glad that you found this post inspiring. Change is hard, and trying to be healthy when one has lived a different way, is even harder, and old habits have a much stronger grip on us than we realize. Thank you so much for sharing. I love that, so thank you!
Love your tips! I can’t wsit to implement them!
Hi Cherrie! Happy goal setting! Let this year the year we achieve our health goals!
Been taught a whole lot. Surprisingly easy to understand. Many thanks for blogging 🙂
Ho Owen! Thank you! That is all I ask that my efforts makes a change in someone’s life and I have taught you something especially to improve your health, that makes me happy.