My concepts are Foundational and Fundamental ideas on achieving your Goals. Whether or not your goal is directly related to your health or not doesn’t really matter. The information I share will help you in whatever your goals may be. To reach your goal, you must first set your goal. Your goal should be reasonable. This may mean doing some homework on what is reasonable to achieve. An example of an unreasonable goal would be for someone who has spent the last 10 years putting on an extra 50 pounds to set a goal of losing that weight in 30 days. If you did your homework, you would learn that you should lose a pound to a pound and a half per week, which means it, may or should take you 33-50 weeks to shed those pounds. If you set your goal (expectations) to be in a much shorter time frame that would be unattainable (as well as unhealthy) and usually leads you to “give up” and fail.
The following are recommendations on how to help you set and reach your goal(s):
- Define your goal
- Outline the steps needed
- Set a timeline
- Ask for Help
- Consider possible delays or roadblocks
- Reward yourself
- Put it in writing
- Don’t give up!
Define your goal
Don’t just say I want to lose weight. Define your goal in a concrete way. Recently, I decided I wanted to lose more weight because I thought I looked heavy on television. I told myself I wanted to have the waist size I had when I graduated from college. Your definition could be, “I want to lose 50 pounds” or “I want to fit into a size 8 dress”. Whatever the goal is, be as specific you possibly can.
Outline the steps needed
Once you decide, “Where you want to go,” you need to figure out how you plan to get there. This is just like taking a family vacation. If you live in Tampa Florida and want to go to New York City for vacation, you need to plan ahead. If I am driving, I need a road map or GPS to tell me how I am going to get there. If you currently smoke 20 cigarettes per day and want to stop smoking, you need to decide if you are stopping cold turkey or tapering off them slowly. You need to lay out your plan of attack.
Set a timeline
Once you have decided the steps you are going to take, you need to place them on a timeline. My trip to NYC would include how far I want to drive in a day and where and when I will stop for overnight lodging, gas and food. Without a timeline, I may only drive a few hours and stop for the day and then it would take me longer to get to NYC. But, maybe I do want to go slow and see more sights. Your goal and your timeline to reach your goal are up to you. If you wish to stop smoking in 90 days, then you need to lay out your steps needed over the next 90 days to get you to your goal. This could include planning the addition of new habits or nutritional supplements, increased activity or whatever you come up with in your outlined steps.
Ask for Help
If you are having trouble, consult someone who knows more about the subject than you do. You can ask for help on all aspects of your goal- from helping to define it better, outlining the steps, setting your timeline and showing you potential roadblocks. I am pretty sure that someone who has been in your shoes before is willing to help you get where you want to go.
Consider possible delays or roadblocks
This part of goal setting often gets overlooked and is a major reason people never reach their intended goal. Example: You want to lose 30 pounds in the next 7 months. You forgot to consider that your birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s all occur during this period and may affect your timeline. Unless you commit to your program equally during each week, you need to account for these speed bumps. Or, you may get sick and not be able to get the activity you are supposed to for a week or two. There are many potential delays and you need to be aware of what they are and how to prepare for them. I have heard so many people say “I was doing great until….we went on vacation…I got sick…my son moved back in with me…” The list is endless. Like a boy scout- be prepared.
This should be a regular event. I practice what I preach, but I still reward myself. (This is what I preach now.) I may tell people to not eat refined foods, but I may use sugar in my coffee or have a small piece of desert once a week. Whatever it is, reward yourself for good behavior. You should build this into your outline and timeline. For every 4 pounds I lose, I can take 1 day off from activity. Or, if you smoked a pack of cigarettes per day, you could reward yourself with some treat equal to the amount of money you would have spent on that habit. At about 4 dollars a pack that would be $28 a week, $120 per month and $1460 per year saved for your treat.
Write it all down
Writing your goals out may be the most important step. Write down exactly what you want to achieve and post it in a place where you will see it every day. This will help remind you of what you’re working toward. When you write, use positive terms. For example, instead of writing, “I will stop eating junk food,” re-word your goal in more positive terms: “I will make healthy food choices.” Write down everything mentioned above. Keep it close to your heart and you will do great things with your health and your life.
The next step I recommend is to set yourself in motion. Too often I run into people who “want” to change something in their life yet continue to do the same things day in and day out. For things to change in your life, You Must Change. Set yourself in motion means don’t just think about it or talk about it, but do it. I have been teaching my children that saying something is not as good as showing me with their actions. Too often we get caught up in the “daily grind” and lose sight that we still are in the same place we were months ago. The burden/ responsibility of your change is yours and no one else’s. YOU only have only yourself and your GOD. My phrase above says “YOU must change.”
No one else can get you to the finish line. The sooner you set yourself in motion, the quicker you will get where you want to go.
Never Give UP!
The final step is: Don’t Give Up! My favorite story to tell my children is the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. Just as I mentioned above, you need to set yourself in motion and then keep it going. If you fall off the wagon, get on again. I remember years ago when I realized I talked a good game, but I didn’t walk the talk. One of the many things I needed to improve on was increasing my activity. I hopped on my exercise bike and lasted 8 minutes. I knew in order to practice what I preached, I needed to ride for 30 minutes a day. I didn’t quit. I stuck with it and every week or so I added time to my ride. I worked my way back into shape. If I had gone straight to 30 minutes, I might have hurt myself and then I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. Go slow and don’t give up!
If you take time to utilize these tools, not only will you be successful with your Cardiovascular Health Goals, but you will also succeed in other areas. I utilize these tools in every aspect of my life. My goal is to constantly change things in my health and other aspects of my life. Years ago I spoke at a conference in Orlando, Florida and asked the audience to promise to change something in their lives that would impact their health in a positive manner. I then looked at myself and realized that I, too, had many things to change. Experts suggest that it takes 28 days for any change to become a habit. So now, I try to change one thing in my life every 28 days, then I can move on to improve or change something else. Whether it is becoming more spiritual, remembering to take your supplements, getting more activity or not eating refined foods ever day, it all will come back to make you a happier, healthier individual.