Happy New Year! With a new year comes the promise of change—for most of us, this means positive change surrounding our health and wellness. One of the best ways to create change is to set a goal. What makes a good goal? And what can you do to achieve it? The following tips come courtesy of our friends at Vancouver's Oakridge Centre and Saskatoon-based strength and health coach Dr. Marc Morris:
focus on your why. Most of us have no problem getting started, it’s remaining focused down the stretch that keeps us from our goals. For example, if you want to improve your level of fitness, it’s important to examine why—a good reason would be a healthier version of yourself for your family. It will be easier to get to out of the house for a run before work when you examine why you want this change.
be realistic and specific. Most people want to look like cover models overnight. This just isn’t realistic or even helpful. Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a short time frame, but underestimate what they could do if they chip away, at small, specific, and attainable goals. For example, let’s say you want to improve your body composition—saying you want to lose weight is not a goal. If you’re 75 pounds overweight it’s also not helpful to say you want to lose 100 pounds. Setting a goal of wearing a favourite pair of pants or outfit is a realistic and specific goal that will help you change your body composition for the better.
set a time frame. An important part of achieving a goal is setting a time frame for when you’ll achieve it. It’s practical, since a time frame helps you plan and prioritize. A time frame allows you to work backward from where you want to be to where you are now. For example, a weight loss goal of 10 pounds will probably take at least 10 weeks to achieve in a safe and sustainable fashion. Setting a goal of losing 10 pounds in 12 weeks or a specific date will give you a time frame to work within it. Now we get to the hard part, lining up our actions with your vision.
align habits and actions. Setting goals are easy when you’re motivated, but motivation is a finite resource. Since motivation comes and goes, it’s important to be able to fall back on good habits no matter what. For example, if you have a goal to eat better, it’s important to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, so you’ve probably set a goal of eating so many per day (e.g., six to eight servings of vegetables/fruit). Thus, building a habit to include at least one serving of fruit or vegetables every time you eat or snack will help you adhere to this goal.
Setting goals is an important step in becoming the best possible version of ourselves—just make sure you’re aiming for “good” goals—examine your why, then set realistic goals with a time frame, and establish new habits you can stick to. For a roundup of Oakridge Centre retailers and products that can help you do just that, click here. —Vita Daily
Dr. Marc Morris PhD, CSCS, is a strength and health coach living in Saskatoon. His experience in fitness is varied: he is a competitive strength athlete and international coach but takes pride in helping anyone remove the barriers to live their healthiest lives. Marc can be found on Instagram @marcwmorris, Facebook @Marc W. Morris and reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.