Most people want to be healthier than they are. It is natural to want to improve your wellness and achieve a higher level of health so that you can live a longer and happier life. There are different aspects of health that you might find more important as well. Maybe mental health is the focus you need at this life stage. Perhaps you want to reach a specific fitness goal but you have to work your way up to it. Or maybe your social life has suffered and it is making you feel lonely, so you want to prioritize time with friends and family.
Whatever your health goals are, knowing how to set them well is crucial. You might have heard of setting SMART goals in a business setting before. This means that goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. These are great criteria for your wellness aspirations too.
But health goals should not be determined on a whim. You need to really think through what your desires are and how you can achieve them. Before you set wellness goals for yourself, there are a few things you need to know.
Table of Contents
Every Person, and Health Journey, is Unique
Many people who want to achieve better health will look to others for inspiration. There is nothing wrong with this so long as you do it with the right mindset. You have a unique mind and body that has its own needs and abilities. For this reason, your health journey should not be compared to that of others that you know. What works for one person to achieve health may not work for you. Diets must be adjusted to suit your tastes and workout routines that do your body no good will have to be customized. Before you set goals based on the health journeys of others, make sure that you are setting them based on your own expectations and desires.
You Will Hit Roadblocks
No health journey is perfectly smooth. The realities of life can interrupt your planned routines and behaviors that are meant to improve your health. Plus, you could experience burnout or just plain tiredness as you strive toward your goals. When you run into obstacles during your health journey, don’t be discouraged if you get knocked off the path for a bit. Allow space in your goals for flexibility when you need to overcome these challenges. Give yourself the grace to fail every once in a while.
If your goals were reached too easily, then they probably could have been set with higher milestones. If it were supposed to be easy, then you would experience no growth. Expect that you will hit roadblocks during the process so that you do not give up when it happens.
Think in Terms of Small Steps
You might set a very lofty health goal. Maybe you want to start exercising to the point where you can complete a half marathon. But if every time you go out for a run you are focused on hitting that 13-mile mark, you will be extremely discouraged. Instead, break this goal down into much smaller steps that you can progress through.
Sometimes, a successful wellness journey requires you to start something healthy that is simple and small. Momentum is crucial to reaching a high-level goal, and all you need to gain some momentum is one small action to get the ball rolling. For a half-marathon, that first step could be going for a 10-minute run on a treadmill, not even worrying about the speed or distance. If your goal is to improve mental health, start your day with just ten minutes of silence and no devices. Each completed step will encourage you to take one more, eventually ending with your overall goal being accomplished.
Find Someone to Motivate You
Going on a health journey alone can be difficult. There is no one to encourage you when you are feeling down or not wanting to continue. Sometimes the voice of someone else who wants to see us succeed can be enough to push us just a little further than we thought possible. This could either be a friend who is reaching for similar goals, a personal trainer who can advise you on achieving better health, or a community of like-minded individuals such as a class. When you have a person or people in your corner who can help you reach your goals, you can gain the edge you need to push through the obstacles that come up on your wellness journey.
Setting the Right Goals Matters More Than Having Them
If you put little thought into the health goals that you want to achieve, then you may be doomed to fail. How specific is your goal? Is it a measurable milestone? Is it attainable? Is it realistic for you? Is there a time factor to push you toward reaching it by a certain date? Taking the time to lay out SMART goals for your health journey will set you up for success and give you a better chance of achieving the wellness that you desire.