Setting Lifestyle Goals
Lifestyle Goals for the Year.
A common saying goes thus, “Out with the old, in with the new”. At the beginning of the year, everything should be totally new, shouldn’t it? New budgets, new key performance indices and new goals as well. Most people are likely to have financial goals and maybe spiritual goals, but what about health goals? Let us put this in a better perspective by saying healthy lifestyle goals. Just in case you are not too sure what lifestyle goals are, let us start by defining a healthy lifestyle .
What is a Healthy Lifestyle?
According to the World Health Organisation, a healthy lifestyle is a way of living that lowers your risk of dying prematurely or becoming becoming seriously ill. In the past few decades, the link between lifestyle choices and health has become well-recognised and documented. In the year 2003, the World Health Organisation put out a report on “Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases” placing emphasis on the link between poor diets and chronic illnesses.
The report went on to promote strategic actions for promoting healthy diets and physical activity. Furthermore, there was a call for the strategic actions revolving around nutrition and the principal risk factors for chronic disease to be placed at the forefront of public health policies and programmes.
What role can we play in reducing the looming epidemics of lifestyle-related, chronic illnesses?
This year 2022, Lifestyle Champions International will be answering this call to action by putting healthy lifestyle goals in the forefront of our activities thereby helping to heighten awareness of lifestyle-related diseases and strengthen the resolve of our members and followers in pursuing healthy lifestyle goals.
- Own your goal. Make sure that your goal is really your goal and not that of someone else. You need to own your vision, other wise you will end up pursuing that of another person. As you set your goal, ask yourself, “does this apply to me and in what way?”
- Your goal should be practicable and not theoretical or abstract. Ensure that your target is within your reach and not unrealistic. In the event of setting an unrealistic goal, you could burn out trying to reach it and lose track of the goal altogether.
- Check if your goal is specific. Is there any way of measuring it to be sure you are hitting your target. Put down the duration, intensity and frequency with which you went to render your goal.
- Break up your goals into smaller steps. For example, you can plan on starting a new jogging exercise with 10 minutes per day and build it gradually to 45 minutes daily. Starting out on 45-minute jog for the first time could make you collapse afterwards.
- Write down your goal. You can write it on a paper, a worksheet or a diary. You can draw up a vision board for clarity and constant reminders. When you put the vision board where you can see it daily, then you will be able to picture your success as well.
- Identify the challenges that may come up such as child care, shift work, travel and plan solutions. For example, when we travel into an unfamiliar terrain, careful safety questions should be ascertained before setting out on a walk. Someone I know in reality discovered she was lost when she went for a walk where she was visiting. Thankfully, she was able to find her way back with a compass, of course.
- Be calm when things don’t go exactly the way you expect them to. Don’t get upset because you missed your target. Rather, encourage yourself to take the step again.
- Set up rewards for your success. Celebrate small wins at your goal. This is preferably done with something inedible.
- Be flexible on your goals. Take time to appraise yourself to see if the goal is still germane or relevant to your well-being. Your goal may need to change in order to fit it into your current life situation, for example, pregnancy.
- Get an accountability partner. It could be your exercise partner, a spouse, a friend but better still a health/ fitness coach or Lifestyle Medicine Physician. Giving feedback on your lifestyle goals will keep you motivated in engaging positive lifestyle changes.
In conclusion, setting healthy goals ahead of the year will help you run ahead of the year and will reduce your risk of being seriously ill or dying prematurely. Why don’t set or reset yours now?
Dr Moyosore Makinde AKA Dr Ore is Consultant Family Physician and Board-certified Lifestyle Medicine Physician.