SiSU Health Challenge
Week 4: Goal setting strategies to support healthy lifestyle changes.
Welcome to the last week of the SiSU Health Challenge. Today we will be talking about goal setting strategies to help you maintain healthier lifestyle changes. Each small choice that you make on a day-to-day basis can make a significant impact to your health, so this week we will explore some things you can do to ensure you feel inspired to lead a healthier and happier life long after the end of this challenge. Don’t forget to complete your SiSU Health Check this week and reflect on your time during this challenge.
The importance of goal setting.
Goals can be a fantastic way to help you stay accountable and motivated to stay on track regarding your health or lifestyle goals. By setting goals you can create a clear vision of what you want to achieve and can start making the necessary steps needed to reach them. When we have a goal, we usually increase the amount of time and effort we spend on an activity and develop effective strategies to achieve that goal.
Break it down.
Choosing a goal might seem simple enough, however, ambiguity can often be the first thing we subconsciously do while setting goals when setting the ‘right’ goal. From promising ourselves to exercise every day, lose weight, eat healthy or quit smoking, many of us forget that each big goal such as quitting smoking comprises of many smaller steps. According to Harvard Health (2011), it’s much more attainable to set a goal that you feel as though you can easily achieve and build your way to tougher goals. An example might be not smoking for a week, then a month, then 6 months and so on, or drinking more water each day to help avoid unhealthy cravings throughout the day.
Once you have a goal in mind, make sure it is something that you can celebrate once you achieve it. A popular way of ensuring you are set for success when creating a goal is by using the SMART framework:
Specific. Be very clear to yourself on what you need to do to reach this goal. For example, rather than ‘do more exercise’, your goal could be to ‘walk for 30 minutes five days per week’.
Measurable. Create goals that you can quantify or measure. For example, drinking 2 litres of water per day.
Achievable. Goals that are too difficult can be discouraging and could lead to you giving up, make sure you set goals that are realistic as you can always increase after you have achieved the initial goal!
Realistic. Make sure you set goals that are appropriate for your routine and situation. Walking an hour a day might be difficult if you get home from work very late, instead, you might just take the stairs each day instead of the lift.
Time-related. Deadlines can motivate your efforts and prioritise the task above other distractions.
Get your SiSU Inspire E-Book – Your guide to maintaining healthier lifestyle changes.
Check out our Inspire Ebook to get some more tips and tricks to maintaining healthier lifestyle changes and feeling motivated long after the end of this SiSU Challenge!
Dadoly, A., 2011. Want to make a healthy change? Start with the right goal, Harvard Health Publishing.