Achieving your health goals is much more likely when you follow a simple strategy.
By adopting new habits and a positive mindset, you can achieve all your health goals and more – going on to lead a happy and healthy life.
Here CashLady looks at the simple strategy for achieving your health goals, including starting slowly, embracing accountability and consistency and using incentives to reward your achievements.
Why you need a strategy for achieving your health goals
Willpower alone isn’t enough for smashing your health goals.
Undertaking a healthy new lifestyle and breaking bad habits can be challenging, especially at first, so you need to think carefully about your goals and how you are going to achieve them.
Develop a plan focused on changing your behaviours and habits, paying extra attention to areas where you might slip up.
Remember that when it comes to diet and exercise, consistency is key, so chose a strategy that you can comfortably commit to, which suits your lifestyle.
SMART health goals
When setting your health goals, it helps to use the SMART acronym.
Your goals should be:
For example, a goal such as, ‘I will eat more healthily,’ is vague and it’s difficult to track and measure success.
Instead, you might like to try, ‘I will eat under 1700 calories a day until the end of September and cook all my lunches from scratch instead of picking up unhealthy food on the go.’
For a fitness goal instead of, ‘I want to tone up and lose weight,’ you could weigh yourself and take your body fat percentage.
Your new goal could be, ’I’m going to visit the gym three times a week and will reduce my body percentage by 5% by the end of the year.”
The prospect of achieving your health goals is exciting and it’s tempting to get a little carried away at first.
Vowing to cut out alcohol, coffee and sugar and hit the gym every day, for example, will certainly help you achieve your goals but only if you keep it all up.
Starting small, with one small change at a time means that you’re less likely to fail and give up on your health goals completely.
Try not to be too restrictive, so instead of focusing on all the ‘bad,’ things that you are giving up, focus on the positive changes that you are incorporating into your life, such as nourishing your body with healthy food and exercise.
As you make progress with the first change, you’ll feel the benefits and have the confidence to incorporate other healthy habits and behaviour into your routine, whether it’s drinking less alcohol or going to the gym twice a week.
Accountability has been proven to help you achieve goals of any type but it’s especially useful for reaching your health goals.
The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) completed a study on accountability and reported that you have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone.
If you have a specific accountability appointment with the person you’ve committed to, then you’re your chance of success increases by an impressive 95%.
The power of social expectations is certainly a great motivator, so tell people about your health goals or share them on social media, along with regular updates on your progress.
You’ll be much less likely to stop going to the gym or give in to the lure of a fatty takeaway at the end of a long day if you have to tell someone or check in with your progress.
Find a workout buddy and sign up for fitness classes with them and work together to stay on track.
Incentives for achieving your health goals
Rewarding yourself for reaching certain milestones along the way will ultimately help you achieve your health goals.
An indulgent massage for a month of consistent gym workouts, or a new pair of running leggings for reaching a new personal best, will keep you feeling good when things get tough.
Reward yourself with positive treats in keeping with your healthy lifestyle as these will motivate you to keep going.