When we set any kind of goal we need a plan to achieve it. Every goal, regardless of whether it is work, financial, or health involves changes, sacrifices and dedication. We have dedicated this article to those 5 aspects that we consider essential to achieve any change or goal that you propose.
Making the decision to change your lifestyle and become healthier is a big step. Start simply by making a commitment to yourself. Many people find it easy to put their commitment into a written contract. Let’s imagine that the goal is to lose or gain weight, this contract can include aspects such as the amount of weight you want to lose or gain, the date you want to have achieved it, the changes in your body that you are looking for, such as losing or increasing a size, starting the practice of some physical activity, etc.
It is also useful to put the reasons why you want to make these changes. It may be that your family has a history of heart disease or because you want to see your children marry, or simply because you want to look better in your clothes. Post these reasons as a daily reminder of your reasons for change.
2. Understand where you are.
Recognize where you are right now in relation to your goal. Establish where you want to be each week or each month, depending on how long you want to achieve your goal. Write it down to keep you in mind, this will help with your focus and motivation.
3. Set realistic/achievable goals.
When starting this program, we suggest that you evaluate your habits and set some goals that will support you in achieving greater goals. For example, if you only eat vegetables for dinner, a goal might be to: include vegetables in your lunch Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Another idea may be to increase walking by 2 minutes each day. Focus on two or three goals at a time. Remember, the most effective goals are:
- Comprehensive (we are not perfect)
For example “exercising more” is not a specific goal. But if you say “I am going to walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week in the first week,” you are setting a concrete and realistic goal for the first week.
This is important: small changes every day lead to big results in the long run. Also remember that realistic goals are achievable goals. By reaching short-term goals day by day, you feel good about your progress and motivated to continue. Setting unrealistic goals, such as losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks, brings feelings of defeat and frustration.
Being realistic also means knowing that there may be setbacks. Setbacks happen when you go off plan for whatever reason, such as holidays, working longer hours, or going through another change in your life. When you experience a setback, try to resume your plan as soon as possible. Keep in mind that everyone is different: what works for some, does not work for others.
4. Lean on others.
Join or create a group. Ask for the support of friends and family in your process. It is important that you do not feel alone. When you communicate your goal and commit to it publicly, others will commit to supporting you. This can be motivational and supportive for both of you.
5. Keep track of your progress continuously.
Review your goals and assess your progress on a regular basis. If you make a goal to walk every morning but have a hard time doing it before you go to work, consider changing your work schedule or try going for a walk at lunchtime or after work. Evaluate which parts of your plan are working well and which parts need adjustment. Then rewrite your goals and plan based on this assessment. If you are consistently achieving your goals, keep adding goals to stay on the road to success.
Reward your achievements! Value your accomplishments and take pride in your progress. Set an award that you want to give yourself if you meet your goals.