Goal setting is so important when wanting to make lasting changes or create lasting habits. It’s important to know how to actually create these goals so that they do actually last. Setting goals, whether that be short term or long term, can be a great way to actually engage in change. If you have a long term goal, you can actually set some of these smaller short term goals to get you to where you want to be.
Firstly, It’s important to consider SMART goals. An example of a SMART goal might be that you are going to add two more extra portions of vegetables to your dinner every single day. This goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). What we don’t want to do is say “I’m going to eat more vegetables” because that is not SMART, and doesn’t help us get to where we want to be in a specific manner.
Make sure you are being realistic
Make sure your goals are realistic for you to achieve. An example of an unrealistic goal might be going to the gym every single day of the week for the next 5 months. That’s not a realistic goal. But, what might be realistic could be working out twice a week at the gym and getting off the bus one stop earlier or parking the car further than where you need to be to get some extra steps in. This is a realistic goal that you can then progress to further goals like working out at the gym 4 times a week and always taking the stairs. The last thing you want when setting goals is not achieving them because they were not realistic and feeling like you failed.
Flexibility is key
Create some flexibility with your goals. If you set a goal of doing something 5 days per week, give yourself a little bit of leeway. Maybe give yourself a hall pass for one day per week for when something comes up you can’t get that fifth day in, you’re not going to feel terrible about yourself, because remember, we’re aiming for progress not perfection. This cultivates some kindness around your goals.
The next step around goal setting is reviewing, because there’s no point setting the goal if you’re not going to review your progress. Reviewing your goals can be on a daily basis because you’re actively ticking things off your list or maybe on a monthly basis. This is going to give you a good idea if you can progress on to further goals because these goals have actually turned into lasting habits now, or maybe you need to review the goal setting because maybe they weren’t realistic.
Non-weight related goals
When we think about goal setting, it doesn’t always need to be around weight loss. We can think about non-weight loss related goals, like energy levels, sleep optimisation or general health. Setting non-weight related goals is always a great idea because a number on a scale is not an indicator of your health or progress. You may be seeing other healthy changes in your body like more energy or better sleep. Thinking about what’s important to you when setting these goals will definitely be a step in the right direction