Setting health goals with heart

It’s common that when it comes to setting goals and new year’s resolutions, we’re often extremely hard on ourselves and far more critical than we would be of others in the same situation.

A woman smiles

This year, we’re going to do something different. It’s time to set goals that come from the heart; realistic goals that provide self-love as well as the opportunity to make the healthy changes we strive for.

In changing the way we think and feel about goals, we allow ourselves to look honestly at what we really want from a new year, and how we feel about ‘failure’. If we set out to achieve unrealistic goals, we’re often left feeling disappointed, frustrated and angry at ourselves. But actually, we didn’t give ourselves a chance in the first place. Instead, we want you to aim high, but be kind to yourself each step of the way.

Top tips to setting health goals with heart

  1. Ask yourself what success really looks like to you

A goal can be as simple as preparing your lunches the night before or taking your makeup off every night. However big or small, it’s your goal and it’s important and relevant to you. So when setting these, be clear on what you want to achieve from the goal and what a successful accomplishment looks like to you.

For example, reducing your meat intake is a great, healthy goal but it’s unclear. As human beings, we typically need something measurable to track how successful we are. So instead of ‘reducing meat intake’, change your goal to, ‘taking part in meat-free Mondays’. This will not only give you a measurable unit but will provide you with a clear, realistic goal to aim for.

  1. Do you really need to make a change?

When considering a new goal or resolution, try and ask yourself why you are trying to make this change; what is the motivation behind it? The key to setting goals with heart is to truly live and breathe the goal you want to achieve. If not, failure is imminent and may result in you feeling worse about yourself and your ‘lack of success’.

  1. Break your goal down into realistic steps

Big goals can be quite daunting, and we are loathed to start them, seeing the end milestone as unachievable. The best way to tackle a big goal is to break it down into realistic steps, celebrate the small wins and allow yourself time to work through each step.

Perhaps this year you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, but the sheer thought of 26.2 miles is enough of a non-starter. In this case, enter yourself into a half marathon later in the year. You can start training now; breaking this down into 5km, 10km runs, running with a friend, beating your time from the last run until you eventually get to the big event. Having celebrated the small wins along the way, giving yourself regular updates, you will be in a much better position, calm and prepared to take on the half marathon in preparation for a full marathon.

  1. Consider a timeframe

Another hurdle that gets many of us, is time. It’s important to set realistic, achievable time frames in order for you to successfully achieve these changes. A longer-term goal or lifestyle change in particular, like learning a new skill or maintaining healthy habits, takes time and practise. Some of these changes may even require professional guidance, like a nutritionist or life coach.

Unrealistic time frames are only going to leave you feeling rubbish when you inevitably don’t meet the times you’ve set. Change takes time and there’s no shame in going at your own pace. Take into consideration your current routines, responsibilities and available time and plan how to fit your new goals into this, ensuring you maintain time for self-care and rest.

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Written by Katie Hoare
Katie is a writer for Nutritionist Resource.
Written by Katie Hoare
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