Setting your Health and Fitness Goals Right (and how to honor them)
We have reached the beginning of February, the second month of 2023.
How are you?
Have you set health goals this year?
Do you find it hard to catch up with your goals, or maybe dismiss them altogether?
No worries! it happens to the best of us. Let’s discover how to set our health and fitness goals right and how we could best possibly honor our commitments.
Trends on New Year’s resolutions:
According to research, an analysis of New Year’s resolution statistics available in the public domain as of late 2022, here are the key summary of his findings:
- 5% of US adults set New Year’s resolutions every year.
- 48% want to exercise more, making it the most popular New Year’s resolution. The top 3 are all health-related.
- 23% quit in the first week, and only 36% make it past the first month.
- 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions.
Reasons people give for failing New Year’s resolutions:
- The main reason why people fail is the timing of New Year’s resolutions. While people want to achieve change, they have yet to be ready to commit fully.
- Successful individuals reported more stimulus control and willpower. Social support and interpersonal strategies became important after the first six months of pursuing the goal.
- Successful individuals are likely to experience 14 slip-ups during a 2-year interval, indicating that resilience or the ability to bounce back from setbacks is essential for goal success.
We can be better. We owe it to ourselves to improve these statistics, let’s grow the 9% of people who are achieving the goals that they set out to do and committed to themselves.
If you are in the early struggle to keep up with your goals, hang in there, and consider recalibrating also.
If you are that one who just gave up early on and threw your health goals, you can start.
If you are the one who is doing well, nicely done! Keep on going.
And yes, social support and interpersonal strategies are crucial too. Setting goals and achieving them is essential for progress. And progress moves lives forward. So together, let’s go for it!
Here are 4 Steps to set your health goals right, and how to honor them:
(adapted from Jay Shetty’s 4-Tier Framework to Goal Setting)
1. Focus on the Growth
Have a thoughtful pause and ask:
What do you need to grow to get to your goal?
What growth do you need to focus on?
What is the growth behind the goal?
There are times when people are so focused on the goal that they miss out and pay less attention to the growth needed to be able to reach the goal.
When you want to be healthier,
Grow your appetite for healthier food.
Grow your discipline and self-control.
Grow your faith and trust.
As I renewed my journey to become healthier, I remembered that I had to go back to having a growth mindset! I remember that thoughts become things! So I considered these:
Growth in my personal awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Build on my strengths and delegate my weaknesses.
Growth in my acceptance of my current reality! My lifestyle has become unhealthy. I was still in a ‘mental quarantine’. I finally faced the fact that I took in too much weight, lack exercise, and my appetite is too loose.
I needed to grow out of my helplessness, and rather take full accountability and do something about my situation.
I grew in my desire to be healthier and be a better human being.
I grew in my learning how to build good habits, and how to break bad habits.
I had to remember that Inner growth sustains outer growth! And what an empowering thought that I can start within. I need to grow and mature as a person, and my living and doing follow.
Again, in your journey of reaching your goals, remember to focus on the growth behind the goal.
2. Find your Opportunities
Remember WHY we fail:
We say YES to things that are NOT in priority.
We say NO to things that ARE in priority.
Find each opportunity to make it right.
Set the criteria beforehand, and make earlier decisions, so that when opportunities came, it’s easier to take a decision and act towards healthier choices.
My goal is to exercise every morning. One quick thing I adjusted is to wear workout clothes at night. So that it’s easier to transition to doing morning exercises. No shower and getting to work yet, until I say yes to at least 15 mins or more of either walking, yoga, or simple stretching and sunlight.
My goal is to lessen my sugar intake. So I’ve decided no to sugary drinks like soda and said yes to sticking with water, fresh herbal tea, and black coffee only.
My goal is to eat healthier, so I say no to fast-food, and say yes to freshly prepared food.
Energy-wise, I say YES to nourishing people and conversations, and no to negative talk and people who are energy drainers.
I say YES to learning opportunities (podcasts, books, videos, seminars, etc.) and say NO to idleness and non-value-adding activities.
My non-negotiable every Sunday: it’s God’s day and I go to Church and serve others in some way.
When you are clear with your goals and priorities, you will find the right opportunities.
3. Form an Action Plan
Imagine a ladder and the only step is the one at the top. You will be only looking at the goal and dreaming of reaching it. What is needed is to have clear steps towards your goals, If you want to reach 10, be clear on your 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, until you reach 10.
What will you do?
When you will do it?
How will you do it?
Who am I going to do it with?
Why am I doing it?
Remember that vision without action is a delusion!
Your health goals become more achievable when you are clear about the steps to take.
In my case, I needed to identify clear steps towards my health goal:
WHAT: Sleep better, for 7-8 hours a day every day.
WHEN: Every 9-10 pm
HOW: Be in the bed, no gadgets, no social media, no streaming of movies
WHO: With my wife and kids
WHY: Health benefits of good sleep. I get to have more focus and concentration. Well-balanced moods. Fewer food cravings. More energy and attention. And less risk for chronic illnesses. Deeper why is to be a healthier husband for my wife, and a healthy father for my kids. To be able to enjoy a long life with them.
4. Learn. Love.
Launch towards your goals and do something about it!
Execute your plans, and don’t get stuck on planning and analyzing. Move and act, action precedes clarity. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay. Progress even slow and small is better than perfection. Adjust your health goals along the way. For me this year, my goal is that holistic care becomes more widespread. I want to influence more people who are on their health journey. So, I write down my thoughts more now and share them away, maybe it might help someone.
Learn something and be open to new things. Try different approaches if it doesn’t work the first time, Learn from your mistakes. Reflected experiences are the best teachers. Learn from someone else’s health and fitness journey. And bring the lessons to yours. I’m learning now to be more open to a bigger worldview, that in the world of many cultures, we have different approaches to health and well-being.
Love somebody. Highly consider yourself too as the person you need to love more. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Harness this power to propel you to achieve your health goals. Love others. Add value to people. Be kind. I’ve long found so much value in this: When you help others, you help yourself too.
Maybe you feel bad that you may have given up on your health goals too early or easily, or maybe you don’t trust yourself anymore since you have quit on your health goals many times. Remember this: You can begin again! That’s the beauty of a brand-new day. You don’t need to wait for another year. You have another day, another week, another month, another moment to get back your health and life! You can set your goals again and get better at honoring them!
One last thing to consider when you want to achieve your health goals:
Instead of asking yourself “What are my goals?”
Ask, “Who am I becoming”
You have a daily choice to become the best person that you can be.
You can reach your health and fitness goals if you do these things:
Focus on the Growth
Find your Opportunities
Form an Action Plan
Launch. Learn. Love.
Take care of yourself, let’s take care of each other!
By Dr Didoy Lubaton
Medical Director of Nordic Medical Clinic of OSM Maritime Group.