Trying to reach a health goal without a plan is like trying to make your way to a faraway destination without a map. Fortunately, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan registered dietitian and health coach Grace Derocha says it’s not as hard as you think to move toward a healthier, happier you. She outlined her top tips for setting goals – and achieving them – on the most recent episode of the A Healthier Michigan Podcast, hosted by Chuck Gaidica. Listen to the full episode here. [podcast_player] Ready to reach your goals? Check out Derocha’s tips:
- Figure out your ‘why’. If you know the reason behind why you want to lose weight or practice more self-care – maybe it’s that you’ll be healthier and more present for your family – you’re more likely to stick to it, particularly if you keep that reason close to your heart. Write it down, pin it up where you can see it and make it your mantra to get you through any tough times.
- Set incremental goals. Many of us want to accomplish big, life-changing goals and that’s great! However, sometimes it can be disheartening to not get there in a week, which is unrealistic. Making smaller goals on your way to those audacious goals is a much kinder way to treat yourself. Don’t aim to lose 100 pounds in a month – aim to lose two pounds in a week, then keep at it every week for a year. If you’ve never ran a day in your life, sign up for a 5K before you take on a marathon. You’ll be there before you know it.
- Stay consistent. Convince yourself you can do something for about a month, which might feel less intimidating than a long-term goal. Derocha said sticking with it that long will help you develop a new routine. “If you do something for almost a month, every day, you will see – it will become a habit,” she said.
- Be a SMART-E. You’ve likely seen the acronym SMART when it comes to goal-setting – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific. Derocha adds an “e” and urges you to set goals that are also enjoyable and exciting to you personally. Setting yourself up to reach a goal you find dreadful – eating raw kale every day, for example – just won’t work. Reach for practical goals, but work on your fun goals too as a way to stay balanced.
- Have a concrete plan. Derocha advises eliminating goal roadblocks by thinking through how you’re going to accomplish what you’re attempting. If you want to exercise more, think about the type of exercise you want to do. Put it on your calendar at the beginning of the week and treat it as a non-negotiable time for yourself. If you’re planning to exercise outside, what’s your indoor contingency plan? If you’re going to work out after work, make sure your clothes are packed so you can get right to it before you go home and change your mind. Actively eliminating the reasons you’ll fail means you’re that much more likely to succeed.
Even if you don’t reach your goals as fast as you’d like, Derocha encourages everyone to keep trying. Whether it’s healthier eating, increased exercise or making time for self-care, making even small steps forward is preferable to standing still. “If you're trying to do it, you're going to be doing better than your former self that wasn't doing anything at all,” she explained. Hear more goal-setting and smashing tips on the full podcast. Listen here. Like this post? Check these out:
- Secrets to Setting Reachable Goals
- 6 Health Goals You Can Accomplish in One Month
- Start an Accountability Group to Meet Your Health Goals
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