Updated: Feb 19
It’s that time of the year where everyone is working on their resolutions and goals for the next 12 months. Everywhere you look, you’re bombarded with different ideas and health trends that could potentially become “your thing” in 2021. It can become quite overwhelming, and perhaps easier to just throw your hands up in the air and give up before you even begin.
Don’t get us wrong, health goals and plans are great — they keep you on track and hold you accountable. They allow you to practice self-discipline and prioritise your health. However, goals and plans only work if they are meaningful to you, realistic, and sustainable in the long run.
It’s important that you’re able to comply with those goals, but even more important that you do it with joy and excitement. Instead of creating overly ambitious goals, focus on the small goals that you can actually achieve. This may look something like establishing a morning ritual, introducing some daily practices, increasing your fruit & veg intake, spending more time outdoors, trying out new recipes, etc.
In this blog post, our in-store Nutritionist provides 5 simple tips to help you create goals that you’d actually fall in love with and stick to.
Tip #1: Reflect, reflect, reflect!
Before you start creating a list of health goals to achieve throughout the year, it’s important to sit down and reflect on your health journey the year before.
You may want to start with simple questions such as:
What does health mean to you?
What are some things you would like to improve or work on?
What are some of the positive habits you fostered?
What has been your mindset around food and nutrition?
Have you been prioritising physical movements?
How has your sleep been?
Have you been able to manage stress well?
Tip #2: Set behavioral goals, not outcome goals
Health is a long game, and there’s really no end goal. With this notion in mind, it’s important that you set goals that are not based on outcomes but rather positive behaviors that you could cultivate along the way.
When you create outcome goals, you can become fixated on the outcome, and anything that falls short will feel like a failure or loss. This mindset is not healthy, and it certainly is not sustainable. Here are a few examples of what behavioral goals could look like:
Instead of setting a strict weight loss goal, make a conscious effort to include more fruit and vegetables into your diet everyday.
Instead of focusing on how many books you should read a year, dedicate at least 15 minutes everyday to reading.
Instead of obsessively counting your calories, pay attention to the ingredients that make up your meals and improve them.
Instead of having a rigorous workout regime, build activity (any form of physical activity) into your daily routine.
Celebrate behavior changes, no matter how big or small, and remember to enjoy the process.
Tip #3: Follow through your goals with intentions
When you’re able to detach yourself from any health and fitness goals, you will naturally start to enjoy the process. And this is when the magic happens!
Research shows that we’re able to follow through our goals better when we have clear intentions. While motivation is an important component, adding intentions into the equation is far more effective in helping you reach your behavioural goals.
The key to setting intentions is making them as specific and meaningful as you can. An intention might look something like this:
“During the next week, I will partake in at least 30 minutes of movements on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE]” or “During the next week, I intend to add 3 different vegetables into my meals, such as [VEG1], [VEG2] and [VEG3]”.
Another important practice is to associate your goals with positive emotions. For instance, when you associate your daily walk or yoga with bliss and joy, you’re likely to follow through and sustain those habits.
Tip #4: Skip the comparison
Let’s be honest, Instagram and Facebook are not going anywhere. When we look for motivation and inspiration, these platforms can have a lot to offer. However, it’s very easy to slip into the comparison mindset, where you start to compare or measure your health journey against others. In the long run, this can take a toll on your mental health and self-esteem.
Instead of comparing yourself to your source of inspiration and treating that as your goal, visualise a version of yourself that you’d like to see at the end of 2021 and work towards that. When you plan your behavioural goals, take into account your health and fitness journey. You cannot start off with 10k runs if you have never practiced running your whole life. Similarly, when it comes to diet and nutrition, give yourself some time to get in the habit of cooking and meal prepping.
Accept your unique journey and focus on your goals. Take into account your body types, health history, strengths, weaknesses and resources when planning your goals. We’re all unique individuals, with extremely unique needs and experiences. Therefore, it’s important to create health and fitness goals that will best reflect YOU!
Tip #5: Progress not perfection
Instead of fixating on the end goal, focus your mind and energy on small wins along the way. Celebrate any and all kinds of progress, no matter how big or small. It’s important to remind yourself that a ‘win’ can take many forms – improved energy levels, mood, mental clarity, digestion, skin condition, hormonal health and sleep, among other things.
For instance, if one of your goals is to work out everyday and you miss a day or two because of other commitments, don’t beat yourself up. During times like this, it’s important to remind yourself that a few days of missed workout is not going to undo all the incredible work you have done; what will undo all the incredible work is not returning to your good habits because you are so down on yourself for missing a few days.
Besides, chances are you’ve been engaging in other unintentional physical activities such as walking around at work, prepping and cooking your meals, taking your pet on a walk, putting the washing away, doing the dishes, gardening, etc. Even standing up straight requires your body to burn some energy!
Some days may be more challenging than others, but as long as you stay committed, do your best and get back on the wagon as soon as you can, you’re guaranteed benefits!