It’s hard to believe, but there is less than a month left of 2020. Rather than chastising yourself over health goals for the new year that you may have missed the mark on, you may find it helpful to assess how much you’ve grown instead. Growth comes in many shapes and forms. We can measure it by achievements, lessons learned and moments we have failed to achieve what we planned.
Moreover, moments of growth can help us understand how we want to continue to grow in the year to come. They can help us to set – and reset – health goals for the new year to come that are realistic and that benefit our overall well being.
When you consider setting health goals for the new year, you may find it valuable to think beyond all-too-common goals such as joining the gym or going on a diet. These goals don’t go beyond the initial act of starting. Starting to go to the gym or to look after what you are eating is important, but those goals won’t do much good for your health unless you stick to them.
What Defines Health?
Health is not only the lack of illness. Health is more comprehensive than that; it is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”
Health also goes far beyond looking toned and slim. Being healthy means that our body and all its physiological functions are working well and have all of the components they need, that we are in a balanced mental state, and that our social environment promotes healthy relationships.
Achieving health is a process, not merely a series of individual acts. The goals we create also need to reflect the process.
So how can we create health goals for the new year that are constructive as well as sustainable? Below we provide you with steps on how to do just that in a way that transforms your sense of well-being in the year to come.
Build New Health Goals for 2021
One of the most effective tools for designing effective health goals is by making them S.M.A.R.T. goals. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. has been used by many coaching professionals to help people make goals that will stick.
While there are different variations of the meaning of each word, in the health context each letter stands for the following:
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Step 1
S: Specific – The goal needs to be specific in number and in frequency.
- “I want to eat more vegetables” is not specific.
- “My goal is to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables daily” is specific and has a timeframe.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Step 2
M: Meaningful – The goal needs to have meaning for you. Why is the outcome of the goal important to you?
- If you have a goal because you think you should, or if it is motivated by something superficial, you may have less chances of achieving it.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Step 3
A: Action-Oriented – Effective goals require you to take action. What actions will you be taking to achieve them?
- Don’t build goals that depend on someone else. “I want my husband to join the gym with me” is not an action-oriented goal. Focus on yourself.
- Think about what specific actions do you need to take to achieve this goal for yourself.
- Note that this doesn’t mean you cannot have a support system. It does, however, stress that you are responsible for the outcome of the goal.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Step 4
R: Realistic – Is the goal achievable in the ideal timeframe?
- “Lose 10 lbs in 1 week” is not realistic nor is it healthy.
- “Go to the therapist twice monthly throughout this year” is realistic and achievable.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Step 5
T: Time-Based – What is the frequency of the action or by what date do you want to achieve the goal?
- Being specific about how often you will take steps towards your goal and by what date you want to achieve it will help keep you accountable.
Ready to Start Building Your Health Goals?
If you feel ready to start building your health goals for the new year, then we have a suggestion for your first S.M.A.R.T. goal:
Write down a list of 5 S.M.A.R.T. health goals on a piece of paper and place it in somewhere with high visibility by December 31st.
Tell a good friend or family member about it, and ask her to help keep you accountable to your goal. You might even inspire your accountability buddy to start her own list of S.M.A.R.T. health goals for 2021!
What are your top 3 your health goals for the new year?
Let us know in the comments section.
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