We all have our own reasons for creating health goals. Perhaps you’ve hit a plateau in your exercise routine or weight management plan. Maybe you’ve been wanting to improve your mental and emotional health. But what do you do if you haven’t created a health goal before? We’re glad you asked! We’ve put together a checklist of simple steps for you to take in order to get started.
- Visit your doctor. This is to discuss the current state of your health. They may be able to help you prioritize health goals, such as smoking cessation.
- Brainstorm options. While any one health goal can have a domino effect on your overall wellbeing (quitting smoking improves lung health but may also improve sleep quality, for example), it may be best to start with one goal instead of overwhelming yourself with lots of options all at once.
- Define your “why.” Once you’ve decided on your goal, become crystal clear and specific as to why it matters to you. If it doesn’t matter that much to you, you won’t be nearly as invested, and you won’t stick with it.
- Make it reasonable. If your goal is unattainable, you may give up altogether or look to unhealthy tactics in order to achieve it. Make sure it’s realistic and follows the steps stated above.
- Be specific. Instead of saying, “This year I want to lose 40 pounds” break it down into specific and actionable steps. Try, “This week I’m going to drink more water and prepare more fruits and vegetables into my meals” or “I’m going to lose one pound this week.” When it seems achievable, you’ll be more empowered.
- Set a deadline. You’ll want your deadline to be like your goal—specific, reasonable and attainable. You want to be challenged to reach it, but you also want to set yourself up for success too.
- Ask for support. It’s okay to ask for help! Whether you’re looking for an accountability buddy or need medical guidance, asking for help takes courage and strength and shows how important your goal means to you.
- Be persistent. Even on the days when you don’t think you can do it, show up for yourself. You’ve created small, actionable steps and every day that you act on them, is a day you move closer to achieving your goal.
- Keep track. Whether you create a journal, a diary, a notepad or writing entries on your calendar, keep track of the actions you’re taking towards this goal.
- Reward success. Each time you reach a new portion of your goal—celebrate yourself! This reminds you of your “why” and will help keep you motivated.
If you’re having trouble defining a goal or the actions needed to attain it, reach out to your primary care provider. At DFD, your health is our number one goal.