10 Easy Steps to Better Health. Part 1: Goal Setting

Part one: Goal Setting A new year marks a new beginning for many. A new set of goals is welcomed with promises of better health, better diet, increased exercise along with other goals for a higher level of wellbeing. The biggest mistakes people make are creating grand and unrealistic goals that no one is able to reach without an army of helpers. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have that little army albeit, maybe in our dreams. The following 10 Easy Steps to Better Health will point out what’s good to keep in mind now or whenever you want to start making changes to your health and wellbeing. Small changes that are easy to entwine into your daily routines and doesn’t take up all of your free time.

10 easy steps to better healthStep 1: Goal Setting It is important to set clear and realistic goals when it comes to changes in your exercise and diet. Set one long-term goal that is divided into smaller goals. Make your goals meaningful and write down the “what, how and why” of a goal i.e what stands for the goal itself and what it entails, how is how you are going to do it (be specific) and then why is for why it is important to you. Goals should be S-M-A-R-T     S Specific – Significant, simple, sustainable M Measurable- Manageable, meaningful, motivational A Achievable – Ambitious, acceptable, adjustable R Relevant – Realistic, results-based, reasonable T Time-bound – Time-specific, trackable, tangible An EXAMPLE of a SMART and meaningful goal: “What: Lose 10 kg’s before 1st of June. I want to achieve a better level of wellness and create more sustainable eating habits. I want to feel more energetic, stronger and healthier. How: 1. I will consult a nutritionist to help me with nutritional education and help me create healthier and more sustainable eating habits. I will see him for 3 months, bi-weekly and then see where I stand and make adjustments accordingly to my goals. 2. For the first 4 weeks I will start running every lunchtime for 30 minutes at an average tempo speed (approx. 4 kilometers) on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays. I will use the RunKeeper application to help me log my results and keep me motivated. I will see if there is a running group in my neighbourhood that I could join to help me staying motivated. 3. For my mental health, I want to incorporate mindful meditation in my daily routine to manage my stress levels and increase wellbeing. I will begin an 8 week program next Wednesday with Jane Doe at The Wellbeing Centre. Why: My “bad” cholesterol is too high and I have a family history of Type II Diabetes and heart disease. I have severe sugar cravings and a constant buzzing in my head. I am 38 years old and have put on 12 kilos in 8 years. I don’t feel fit and can’t fit into clothes that I like. I think 10 kilos is a reasonable amount of weight to lose in 5 months. I will keep the number “10” flexible, I’m not focused on the weight itself, more the positive results of the weight drop,  but will use it as a beacon to know where I stand. Losing 10 kilos will bring me below 24 in BMI (Body Mass Index), bringing it down to a healthy number. I feel if I make these changes towards a higher level of wellness my mental as well as physical health will be much better, my nutritional intake will be better and I will lower my chances of developing heart disease and Type II Diabetes. I will hopefully be able to manage my stress and regulate my mood-swings better. Overall I will feel fitter and healthier, long-term, which will increase my sense of wellness in my daily life.” Keep in mind: *Look at the SMART table and see if your goal entails the important aspects of a SMART goal. *Look at your goals every 4 weeks and see where you stand. Tick off what you´ve already achieved and make adjustments accordingly. Reward yourself every time you reach a set goal. *Make your goals visible to you so that you see them everyday and remind yourself of why you are making changes to your life. *Making changes can be a challenge so keeping yourself motivated and attaching a deep meaning to your goals is important for you to be able to follow through

Better health

Good luck and stay tuned for Part 2 of 10 Easy Steps to Better Health. Part 2: Be organized

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