How To Set Health Goals You’ll Actually Stick To & Achieve

New Year, new resolutions... If you’ve been there, done that, we asked three wellness experts to share their tips when it comes to setting realistic goals and sticking to them. Here's what they recommend for a healthier 2021…

Ditch 30-Day Challenges

“One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting goals is setting unrealistic time frames and using unsustainable practices to try to achieve those goals. Thirty-day challenges never produce results that last and ultimately do more damage than good. What happens when someone doesn’t meet that goal within those 30 days? Typically, it results in a lot of shame and negative self-talk. Remember real change takes time and consistency.” – Dr Mike Molloy, founder of M2 Performance Nutrition

Redefine Mindfulness

“Many people associate mindfulness with hours spent meditating. In reality, self-care can be as simple as dedicating a small amount of time to something you truly care about. While I absolutely do support meditation and other forms of mindfulness, self-care can also be dedicating 30 minutes to read a book or taking one night a week to cook a delicious, nutrient-dense meal. Whatever you do, the goal should be to use that time to recharge your emotional battery. Also remember that self-care doesn’t have a timer. Life was chaos when I had my first child, but I made sure to find time to do one thing daily just for me. Even if that was just 60 seconds of journaling, it helped me be a better parent the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day.” – Mike 

Find A Buddy

“So many of us are motivated not by letting ourselves down, but instead by not letting others down. Gretchen Rubin calls these people ‘obligers’ in her book, The Four Tendencies. An obliger might skip a ten-minute walk if it’s just done for themselves, but they’ll rarely skip it if they think they’re failing another person by doing so.” – Mike 

Change The Language You Use

“Your mind is programmed to prefer the familiar, hence why people get stuck in negative habits. If you want to succeed, you have to programme your mind to treat unfamiliar things as familiar. Remember your mind is your secret superpower – rethink the language you use. Don’t tell yourself what you’re missing or feel bad about sacrificing; instead tell yourself what you’re gaining and how great this new action is for you. Try to tell yourself a different story, for example, ‘I love the taste of coffee without sugar. I love my increased energy levels when I choose healthy afternoon snacks.’ The more you tell yourself this, the quicker your mind will accept it to make these changes familiar.” – Marisa Peer, motivational speaker and leading celebrity therapist 

Be Proactive In The Morning

“Successful people do the thing they hate in the morning to get it out of the way. For example, if you’re someone who struggles to exercise, do it when you wake up. If you push it back, you’ll make excuses and it won’t happen. Do this one thing in the morning and you’ll feel like a winner, which will have a knock-on effect on the rest of your day.” – Marisa

Practice Delayed Gratification

“This is so important towards helping with your goals, even if it’s just having a nice coffee after clearing your inbox. When we were younger, we were taught that when we finished our homework, we could go out to play – we are naturally wired to take the reward after. What happens now is we take the reward before the work, meaning we don’t have any inspiration or motivation to actually do the work. Absolutely allow yourself a reward, but after completing the task in hand.” – Marisa

One of the most important factors with goal setting is to discover the purpose and value of the goal.
Louise Murray

Set Micro Goals

“Willpower is a depletable resource, so the more you use on trying to maintain an ambitious goal, the less discipline you’ll have left over to resist other temptations, meaning you’ll run out of steam and your big resolution will be left aside. Instead, think about making tiny, successive, incremental goals throughout the year. The constant switching of gears and the changing focus on new themes keeps things fresh, exciting and motivating.” – Louise Murray, holistic health coach

Look At The Bigger Picture 

“Exercise and diet are just the tip of the health iceberg, and just like an iceberg, what lurks beneath the surface is far larger – think self-care, healthy habits, mindset, relationships, boundary setting. These elements of mental and emotional wellbeing are vital for overall health. You can eat all the kale in the world and exercise daily but if you’ve fallen out of love with your career, if you have toxic relationships and have no time for self-care, you aren’t going to feel truly well.” – Louise 

Establish An Anchor Habit

“Try attaching a new habit to something you already do during your day. Research shows that combining a new daily action with a ‘habit anchor’ can make it more likely for this new habit to stick. For example, you could practice deep breathing while waiting for the kettle to boil, folding the laundry or brushing your teeth.” – Louise 

Think About The Why

“One of the most important factors with goal setting is to discover the purpose and value of the goal. Most people actually set ‘activities’ and not goals. For example, instead of saying you want to go to the gym three times a week or to find a new job within six months, explore the why behind these desires. These activities will only move you in the direction of achieving your goal. If you want to go to the gym more, perhaps your ‘why’ would be to feel better in your body or to have more confidence, and if you want to change jobs, perhaps your real goal should be to find increased financial security and personal growth. An activity is merely the nuts and bolts of accomplishing your goals, and these activities will change over time.” – Louise 

Know When To Let Go

“Evaluate, recalibrate, and let go when appropriate. If you find you aren’t making headway towards a goal, move on. This will free you to move towards goals that are more aligned with your values. Give yourself permission to do this.” – Louise 

 

Forget dropping a dress size or running a marathon by the end of February – here are the health goals the experts recommend setting this year…

 

Do The Basics Well: “Put your effort into the areas that are going to give you the biggest return on investment before going after the smaller pieces of the puzzle. For example, before you start intermittent fasting, make sure you’re eating the right quality and quantity of food; before you add a new energy-boosting supplement, check how much sleep you’re getting per night. It’s good to explore health goals, but make sure you’re doing the basics well first.” – Mike 

Understand You’re Enough: “The common denominator of almost all emotional issues is the deep-rooted feeling of not being enough – successful enough, talented enough or perfect enough. This feeling affects everyone, even those who appear to have it all, and when we don’t feel enough, we will always need more. Learn to love yourself and tell yourself you are enough – it’s that simple. Say the words that you’re waiting for someone else to say.” – Marisa 

Learn To Breathe: “Many of us are guilty of being hyper-productive, but remember we are human beings, not human doings. It’s so important to learn how to switch out of ‘doing’ mode and into ‘being’ mode, and the breath can help with this. If you ever get to mid-afternoon and feel frazzled and unmotivated, try breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding for a count of seven, breathing out through your mouth for a count of eight, and repeating two to four times. Build up to repeating this eight times.” – Louise 

Connect More: “As humans, we need interaction, especially in a pandemic. Make an effort this month, and this year, to call a friend or reach out to someone every day.” – Marisa 

Learn To Say No: “Have you ever agreed to do something even when you wanted to say no? We’ve all been there. We do it because we don’t want to feel unhelpful or disrespectful, or like we’re a bad person, but learn it’s okay to say no to protect your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Setting boundaries is a massive self-care gift to yourself.” – Louise 

 

For more information visit M2PerformanceNutrition.com, MarisaPeer.com and LiveWellWithLou.com. You can also follow Louise on Instagram @Live_Well_With_Lou.

 

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