When you are feeling stuck on your wellness journey, it's often due to a combination of unreasonable expectations and action plans that aren't working for you.
In this post, I'm going to share with you a quick strategy that will help you work through unreasonable expectations and actions that aren't helping you move forward.
One very important key to successful health behavior change is goal setting. So, let's first discuss why goals are so helpful.
Ideally, we set goals in health (and life) so that we can monitor our progress, keep our dreams ahead of us, and define what we desire. We can all relate to the joy of crossing the finish line on a project or the gratification of marking a task off of our list. Monitoring progress and being able to say 'I did it' or 'that's done' really fuels our motivation to move forward with the next great 'thing'. Also, many of us are visionaries when it comes to change. We like to imagine where we are going, what we will experience, and how much we will enjoy it. Goals are like pathways to all of these things. They empower us to clearly state what we want to accomplish and what types of changes we will make to get there. Goals bring meaning to health behavior change and they spark imagination! They help use articulate who we are becoming which is so helpful mentally and emotionally.
I know that some of you are thinking of times when you accomplished something without actively setting a goal. So, to that point, yes it is possible to achieve something without a goal in mind. Without goals, we can still experience success, but perhaps not with the same level of satisfaction. There is a whole-person (holistic) connection between the goals we have consciously set and the actions that follow. In short, when you set a goal and follow up with action to achieve it, you are literally saying 'yes' to future you, validating that YOU are worth the effort. You are affirming your love for yourself!
Now --- having given you the perfectly packaged professional overview--- let me shoot it straight! When you're struggling with your health behavior choices or flat out stuck and on the verge of giving up, the last thing you want to consider is setting another goal. Maybe you feel like you've set 2,438,679 goals in your life and have only accomplished 5. Or, maybe you feel burned out and on an emotional roller coaster. You are tired of shooting up toward joy while hoping that you'll actually make progress this time only to drop swiftly toward an abyss of frustration when you fall off the wagon. If you're in this space, goals can feel very polarizing; almost like your best friend OR your worst enemy and nothing in between.
Sis--Enough of this ride!
You're actually in control and powerful!
Think about that for a minute.
You. Are. Powerful!
Setting a goal is one way of regaining your power because it establishes boundaries for your health behavior choices. Clearly, you will not reach a goal if your behaviors fall outside of the success zone (boundaries) for that goal. For example, if I set a goal to "eat smaller portions of food", ordering and eating an over sized portion of food would be a behavior outside of the success zone. If I consistently did this, my goal would not be met. I'm in control and powerful when I decide to follow through and respect the boundaries I set for my behavior.
Believe it or not, goal setting is easy. We do it all the time! We often say, 'I want to get more sleep at night', or 'I will start exercising more', or 'I will commit more quiet time in prayer.' All of these statements are general goals. These are statements that reflect a general desire that someone might have to change a behavior. However, these goals are not SMART. They are not SMART because they aren't anchored by success characteristics.
SMART goals are anchored by success characteristics when they are;
Let's compare. Earlier, I shared this as general goal; 'I will start exercising more'.
To make this general goal SMART, I would restate it like this;
'I will walk around my neighborhood on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for 30 minutes'.
Notice the SMART success characteristics including the specificity in the statement, the measurable and timely nature of the 30-minute commitment, and the attainability of a 3-day per week action. The every other day concept also makes this goal reasonable.
And, I want you to keep that reasonable characteristic in the forefront of your mind when using this technique. Don't use the SMART concept to set unreasonable goals! Behavior change is hard work, but you are fully capable of reaching your goals if you are reasonable with yourself. Choose actions that are "doable" based on your skill set and lifestyle. As your skill set and lifestyle change, so should your goals. Evaluate your progress and make adjustments as needed.
Yep, it's really that easy! And, if you need help I'm here :)
Making our health behavior goals SMART not only sets us up for success, but it takes the pressure off having to meet unrealistic expectations while keeping us in control and empowered over our health behavior choices. As your wellness coach, I will help you define the SMART goals that will help you immediately restore positive movement on your wellness journey. My personal coaching and accountability programs are designed to do get you back on the right track and I'm ready to get started with you today. Click here to send me a message to say "I'm ready!"
On the journey,