Whether it’s strutting confidently down the beach or having the energy to play eight rounds of volleyball, you want to achieve certain health goals this summer. But there’s a problem. You have a general idea of what your health goals are but feel unsure how to make them happen. Well, guess what. Even with no idea where to start, you’re already well on your way. Here are four simple but powerful ways to achieve your health goals this summer. (Hint: You’ve already nailed #1…)
Know What You Want
It sounds obvious, but this is the most important first step for achieving any goal. Quite simply, what do you want? Don’t worry about stating it in perfect, specific terms just yet. Just have an idea of what changes you’d like to have in your life. Regarding health: Do you want weight loss? More energy? Better blood pressure? Impressive LDLs?Getting the idea in your head is like a compass that points you in the right direction. Like a road trip from Atlanta to San Diego, even if you don’t know all the exits you’ll take, you just have to know where you want to go.
Find Your “Y”
Did you know that achieving your health goals has less to do with what they are and everything to do with why they are? That’s right, the why behind your goals is the engine that keeps you moving towards them. Now that you know what you want, knowing why is the most important part of making any goal a reality. That underlying reason is what keeps you going. And it has to come from you and no one else. Think of it as find your “Y” or find your YOU. Find the you inside your goal. What is it within this goal that will give you a better, stronger, happier version of the you that you are now?
- If you want to lose weight, is it so that you will feel stronger or more self-confident?
- If you want to have cooking routine that involves more vegetables, is it so that you can improve your overall nutrition and health?
Whatever your why is, make sure it truly excites you. The only real success is the one you achieve for yourself.
Now that you know what you want, and you know why you want it, it’s time to get SMART with your goal. But that’s SMART as in Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound:
- Zoom in on your goal and pin down the details: the critical who, what, when, where or why details of achieving it.
- State your goal in a way that can be measured. This will help you know if you’ve reached your goal or not.
- Make sure you set a goal that you feel is within your ability to achieve. Notice the phrase “you feel.” It’s important that you feel the goal can be achieved. The only determinant of whether a goal is achievable is your belief about it. So set a goal you believe (or can believe) is within your reach.
- Make sure your goal is relevant to you. This ties strongly into “finding your why.” A strong why means your goal is relevant and that it’s something you’re ready to do right now. It’s not going on the back-burner.
- Time-bound. State your goal in a way that can be measured or evaluated from a time perspective. Give your goal time-based parameters. Put a clear timeline on it.
At this point, you know WHAT you want (overall goal). You know WHY you want it (underlying reason). Getting SMART with your goal provides the HOW. A SMART goal answers the question of what set quantity, or how much, by a set time, or by when.
- For example, pretend your overall goal is to slim down this summer: Your what is to slim down this summer and your why is that you want to feel confident and look incredible in your clothes. Now it’s time to pin down the how: SMART-ify your goal according to the bullets above.
- In this case, an example of a SMART goal might be: Lose 15 pounds over the next 5 weeks, to reach a goal weight of 145 pounds by July 10.
Now isn’t that a lot crisper and more definite than simply saying “slim down this summer”? Doesn’t it feel more real?
Get a Model or Mentor
Sometimes, having a large goal that you really want to achieve can feel daunting. You may wonder how you can get motivated to begin. If this happens, it often helps to find someone who has already done what you’re trying to do, either so you can follow their process or just be inspired by their story. In the words of life strategist and coach, Tony Robbins, “success leaves clues”…
- Find a model: Find someone who represents that achieving your goal is possible. If weight loss is your goal, find the story of someone who lost twice as much weight in the same amount of time and read how they did it. Even if your situation is not quite identical, just knowing that it’s possible can help keep you going in moments of doubt or discouragement.
- Find a mentor: Find someone who has established a proven pathway to getting from where you are to where you want to be. For weight loss or health goals, this can be someone who has gone on that journey themselves, or it could be a fitness or nutrition expert who has gotten proven results in the area you’re trying to improve. Read their blog, read their book or follow their program.
So look at you… this summer, you know what you want. You know why you want it. You’ve defined your success. You’ve found people who can help. Not only is that SMART, it’s pretty powerful stuff. You’re well on your way to achieving your health goals — and any goal you set. Before you know it, you will be the inspiration for the next person.