“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Goals, habits, behavior change- I talk about these subjects on a daily basis with my clients. According to The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, roughly 55% of New Year’s goals are health related. Here are a few tips to set realistic and attainable goals this year, without going from 0 to 60:
Analyze your priorities and your time.
We all have the same amount of hours in a day. What we devote those hours to, however, varies from person to person. Do you feel like your overall health is struggling? Chances are you are devoting more time and energy to another area in your life. I would challenge you to take a look at how your time is spent and ensure that it reflects your priorities.
Look for bright spots and potential barriers.
With goal setting, it is only natural to come across challenges. It is important to look into our pasts to better overcome these challenges. Chances are, this goal is similar to something you have strived for in the past. Look for the “bright spots,” or things that have worked well for you in the past, and try to do more of these. Also, make a list of anything that could get in the way of your goal. This will help you to problem solve and work around these barriers.
Focus on habits.
Yes, you do have an overall end goal, yet it is the repeated habits that help you accomplish it. It takes time to form a habit, so it is important to cut yourself some slack and strive for progress and not perfection. Specifically regarding nutrition, most people know more than they think they do. For example, they know they should be drinking more water, but they struggle with actually doing it. It is the behavior change that fills in this gap and gets you to the end goal.
Write it down.
Where do you want to be in 6 months? One year? Having these goals in writing improves the likelihood of you accomplishing it. Break down the big goal into small weekly goals to cross off your list. Scientifically, some people experience a dopamine release when a goal is accomplished. This will make you want to repeat this behavior.
Clients working with me know that I use the “Healthie” app, in which we can set daily, weekly, or monthly goals and just tap the goal when it is completed. This generally works great, holding them accountable and giving them confidence when they are accomplishing their goals. There are other specialized written journals for goal setting. I have used “Passion Planner” and “Daily Greatness” in the past.