Setting health goals for the new year is an admirable undertaking. However, many ill-conceived resolutions have been abandoned by January 2.
Your health is your greatest asset and it is worthy of consideration for improvement at any time of the year.
The hard part is sticking to your convictions.
Setting health goals is a noble, proactive and empowering step towards improving your overall wellbeing.
You may target your fitness, nutrition, mental health or maybe a combination of all three.
Establishing clear and realistic goals is the key to turn your resolution into reality.
Here’s how to do just that.
Assess your current health
Take some time to make a critical and accurate assessment of your current health.
This is your baseline.
Identify areas where you need to make improvements.
Consider the following:
- physical health
- mental health
- stress levels
- the duration and quality of your sleep
- energy levels
- the health of your skin
Define your priorities
Think about and prioritise the aspects of your health that are most important to you.
It may be losing weight, building strength, managing stress or improving your mental health.
Establishing clear priorities will give you the best chance to set focussed and achievable goals.
Set SMART goals
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Specific – Clearly define what you wish to achieve.
Measurable – Ensure that you can measure your progress.
Achievable – Only set goals that you are capable of achieving.
Relevant – Align your goals with the outcome you hope to achieve.
Time-bound – Set a time frame for achieving your goals.
Begin with small, manageable goals, gradually increasing the intensity or complexity of your challenges.
This allows for a more sustainable and lasting lifestyle change.
Don’t risk abandoning the entire project by starting with a mountain too high to climb.
Prioritise consistency over intensity
Consistent, small efforts usually lead to more significant and lasting outcomes rather than sporadic intense efforts.
Establish habits that align with your health goals and build on them over time.
It’s the slow and steady tortoise that will win this race.
Break down goals into actionable steps
Reduce larger goals into smaller, actionable steps.
It makes the entire process seem more manageable and less daunting.
It also allows you to celebrate small victories along the way.
For example, if you are aiming to bench press 50kg, creep up on it gradually, don’t start at the finish line.
Consider physical and mental wellbeing
Balance your goals to include aspects of both physical and mental wellbeing.
This is important because one complements the other.
For example, if you are focussing on your physical fitness, incorporate some stress management techniques or mindfulness practices to support your mental health.
If you are concentrating on your mental health, burning off some calories is a great way to clear your mind and reward the physical aspect of your health.
Track your progress
We all lead busy lives and that makes it easy to lose track of what we have achieved.
Keep a journal or use one of the many fitness apps to keep tabs on your journey.
Regularly assess your progress and make adjustments to your goals if and when required.
Life can be unpredictable and sometimes, you are going to fall behind in a particular aspect of your routine.
Make allowances for that and schedule a catch-up session as soon as possible rather than giving up and throwing in the towel.
You may achieve some of your goals much earlier than anticipated.
Be prepared to make reasonable adjustments based on your progress, priorities and personal preferences and set new goals as required.
You are putting in a lot of hard work to achieve your goals.
It’s only reasonable to celebrate your efforts and progress.
Whether its achieving a weight-loss milestone, completing a fitness challenge or consistently practicing stress-reduction techniques, its important to celebrate your successes along the way.
But don’t ruin what you are achieving by overindulging!
Seek positive feedback and support
Share your health goals with friends, family and a healthcare professional.
Having a support system offers you encouragement, guidance and accountability and is an excellent way to ensure your program retains momentum and is ultimately achieved.
Book an appointment
The key to achieving any set of goals, including health and fitness resolutions, is to create a realistic and achievable plan tailored to your individual needs.
It also needs to be sustainable over the long term.
The best way to do this is in tandem with your GP.
Your GP can begin the process with a general health check-up which can help establish some baseline health markers.
They can talk to you about your motivation for improving your health and help steer your program in the right direction, suggesting individual tasks along the way and ensuring your goals are reasonable.
Your GP can also hold you accountable and assess your progress every step of your journey.
If you are serious about improving your health and wellbeing, your GP should really be your first port of call.
At AHA Clinics, doctors take the time to really listen to your appraisal of your health, asking relevant questions before before offering sage advice about how to go about improving it.
Make 2024 count for your health!
Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.