How to Set Healthy Goals You'll Actually Accomplish
Do you have trouble accomplishing the goals you set for yourself? It may be because you aren't setting healthy goals that are actionable and attainable! Break the habit of setting fluffy new years resolutions or goals that are only hurting you, not helping you. In this post, I explain my strategy for setting healthy goals and actually accomplishing them. These are great for both business and personal goals, yay!
Set action-based goals with measurable outcomes
If you want to actually accomplish your goal, it needs to be actionable and measurable. This means there must be a subset of actions you can complete to accomplish what you're setting out to do. That subset of actions should also be measurable. For example, a measurable goal would be to 'get 8 hours of sleep every night this week' and a measurable action to achieve that goal would be to 'be in bed by 11 PM every night' or 'no screen time after 9:30 PM.'
This is an essential part of setting healthy goals because it provides you with a plan of action for accomplishing your goal. You will see your progress as you complete your action steps and that will motivate you to keep going! I love seeing that little checkbox ticked off, don't you?
Remember to be specific! Don't set a goal that reads, 'get in better shape'. Instead, set a goal that defines what being in 'better shape' means to you. For example, 'run a 5k in 25 minutes.' or 'shave 5 minutes of my 5k time'. This will help you when you set up your actionable steps and gives you something measurable to work toward.
Tip: Set up rewards along the way for completing the larger tasks if you need a little extra incentive.
If you need to, set up rewards for completing certain tasks. This can be a major motivator for some people and might be the key to getting your sh*t done! Make sure the rewards fit the goal, however. If your goal is, 'save x amount of money this month', then an expensive outing with your BFF would not make sense as a reward.
In order to set attainable goals and positive intentions, you must have the ability to be realistic. Far too often, I find myself disappointed because I couldn't finish the mile long to-do list I made for myself in a single day.
Sound familiar? This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and if you're a bit type A, (like me) it might be for you too. Don't sweat it, we're in this together!
I've learned to take my daily schedule into account when setting goals or intentions. Ask yourself how much time you will need to complete a task and how much time you have to devote to it. I tend to underestimate how much time I will need and have learned to combat that by scheduling myself a "buffer". Meaning, if I think something will take an hour, I schedule an hour and a half. If I finish early, that's awesome! This way I don't feel as pressured to finish in time and can focus on the task at hand.
Keep in mind: life is unpredictable. Don't over-schedule yourself! Leave room for 'you time' (I'll talk more about this in another post) and don't forget that disasters can happen at any moment. Yesterday, there was an earthquake where I live. It was small and there was no damage, but what if that hadn't been the case? Would it have put me out of work for a day or two? Would there be damages I might need to worry about? Seemingly little things like this can get in the way of your scheduled time and before you know it, you're behind.
Set aside time for yourself, and schedule a buffer in case your dog needs to take an emergency trip to the vet, your car breaks down, or you catch a cold and need a day of rest.
Setting 'WOW!' goals
I believe that setting realistic and attainable goals is a great way to stop yourself from getting discouraged and giving up, or just getting burned out. That being said, I don't think anyone should just 'play it safe'.
Go ahead and set one or two WOW! goals. I call them WOW! goals because when (yes, WHEN) you accomplish them you will be totally wowed!
When creating WOW! goals, I start by brainstorming what major success in a certain area means to me. For example, if I want to beef up my business, I might say to myself, "My business will experience major success if I triple my income this year!" Maybe major success means adopting X amount of new clients each month, or quitting your day job and starting your own business. This goal should be something outside of your comfort zone. If you know you can accomplish doubling your income, set a goal to triple it.
Don't be afraid to dream big, my friend. You've got this!
The thing to remember here is that you may not achieve this goal in the expected time frame. Don’t be discouraged if you don't accomplish your WOW! goal. It is meant to push you to realize your true potential. You'll get there eventually, but it should take lots of hard work and determination. This should be a long-term goal that can be accomplished by totally rocking the socks off of your short-term goals.
Create a Timeline
Consider your timeframe when setting your goals. Will this be a long-term goal, or can you accomplish it in a week, or even today? Once you know how long you will need to accomplish your goal, schedule in blocks of time to work on the actionable steps you've created. Remember to be realistic, give yourself a buffer if you need to. We're working on setting healthy goals here, people!
If you're working on a long-term goal, decide on a date you would like to have accomplished it. Then break it down further by setting smaller goals for each month, week, or day until that final date (these are your actionable steps). Write it all down in your planner and check in with yourself every day to make sure you're on track. If you've fallen behind, assess what you need to do to catch up and revise your timeline.
Hold yourself accountable
Don't put off working on your goals. They are there to help you better yourself, right? You set them for a reason and owe it to yourself to devote time to them. Schedule time in your planner to work on your actionable steps and reflect on your goals as you progress (more on that below).
If you need help staying accountable, tell a friend about your goal. I regularly share my goals with my mister, and that alone inspires me to get to work.
I'm here to support you! Comment below and let me know you are committed to your goals. Feeling shy about sharing your goals? That is okay! I was too.
I strongly encourage you to tell someone you're close with about your goals. If your friends and loved ones can't stand by you and your attempt at setting healthy goals, then why the heck are you still talking to them?! Build up a support group who will stand by you no matter how crazy your goals may seem, it will be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. Ask your friends what they want to accomplish, send them this post and invite them to join you in setting healthy goals. Open up a dialogue and support one another. That’s what friends are for!
Aside from telling someone (or everyone) about your goals, leave yourself little reminders too. Write down your goals and hang them next to your desk or on your refrigerator. Look at them daily, write them in your planner, make affirmations that will help you succeed, and get it done!
It is important to reflect on your experiences so that you can grow from them. Did you accomplish your goal in the timeframe you wanted to? What did you learn and what will you do differently next time? Do you need a reward system or an accountability buddy? Is this goal still important to you, should you move on?
By reflecting on our experiences, it allows us to better set ourselves up for success next time. This is essential to setting healthy goals.
Don't beat yourself up if you didn't accomplish your goal, just revamp your strategy and try again!
Sometimes, we may realize that the goals we set for ourselves just don't align with our values anymore. That's okay too! Setting healthy goals is all about being honest with yourself and taking charge of your life. Don't be afraid to ask for help, either. We're all human!
Productivity tip: consider mono-tasking
Mono-tasking is a good approach to keeping distractions at bay. When you sit down to a project or set your intention for the day, do you find yourself getting distracted by email, Pinterest, or your phone? I know this happens to me more often than it should.
Focusing on one task at a time can boost productivity and help you accomplish your goals and to-dos a bit faster. When you are focusing on your actionable steps, consider putting your phone on airplane mode or activate the 'do not disturb' function. If you're on the web, keep only the tabs you need open and bookmark anything you want to check out for later (or pin it, whatever you're into). If you're set up in a distracting space, consider moving your workspace, if possible, or listening to some chill music with headphones on.
I followed these tips when I set a goal to lose 50 pounds in 2015. Did I accomplish it? You bet!
My goal was specific and realistic: lose 50 pounds by 2016. I didn't set out to lose 15 pounds every month because I know that isn't realistic for me. Instead, losing about 1 pound a week or 4 pounds a month seemed attainable and most of all healthy.
I set actionable steps to achieve my goal such as, workout 3x times per week for 1 hour, eat 1800 calories per day spread across 5 meals, etc. I set short-term goals to help me along the way like, lose 4 pounds this month or lose 1 pound this week.
Finally, I held myself accountable by updating my mister every time I stepped on the scale. I would tell him when I lost or gained weight, and he would encourage me to keep going! I also journaled about my experiences working out and trying to eat healthier, which helped me to reflect on my goal. I could see what exercises weren't for me and which ones I totally loved doing (anyone else into cycling and weight lifting?). I figured out that a vegan lifestyle was not only what felt right with my body, but what felt right morally too.
I learned a lot about myself along the way and I believe that is the beauty in setting kick ass goals for yourself. You are amazing and you can accomplish anything if you go about it the right way. Take charge of your life and work on setting healthy goals today!
I believe these strategies are what helped me accomplish setting healthy goals for myself this past year and I hope they help you too!
What are your goals and what are you doing to hold yourself accountable? Let me know in the comments below.