A Primer for Wellness Goals - That Will Actually Stick

 Being better hydrated is a typical first habit to incorporate.

Being better hydrated is a typical first habit to incorporate.

Every year we make goals. Hell, every time I would break them I would just make some more. I can show you pages of pages in notebooks of goals I had. And no, they weren’t just ‘dreams.’ I would generally put actions to reach my weight loss such as more physical activity, even down to what type of workouts and what days of the week I would do them.

But here’s the thing. When I say pages, I mean it. I would tack on a dozen different things to start doing – all on next Monday. That is a lot of pressure to put on ourselves. That we must fit this ideal healthy life all at once. In some ways, that’s laughable. Do we ask ourselves to overhaul an entire product launch in a week? Or of students to be able to decipher Shakespeare in 3rd grade? Then why do we expect to start building the life we want yesterday? One thing at a time feels slow. But it’s the only way for your habits to become ingrained and last.

I try to treat goal setting like a business looks at their strategy for the year. If you’ve ever heard of the 4 Disciplines of Execution, then you’re familiar with the idea of goals vs lead measures. If not, lead measures are the actions you take that you have control of to hit the goals. One thing that struck me was that throughout an entire year, you were only expected to do 1-2 major things to get the needle moving for your business. What does that mean in wellness terms? It means that my wanting to cut out soda and meat and carbs, and add water and veggies, AND increase my physical activity, were absolutely overwhelming and made no sense in the big picture.

I know we all have heard the “your body is like a car” analogy, but I want to take it a step further. Your willpower for change, to break bad habits and start good new ones, that is a resource that we draw on. Like a fuel tank. Trying to change twelve things puts us at empty. And then the cycle of goal – action - relapse turns yet again. So, the overall goal would be weight loss, muscle gain, or increased energy and mood, or something else. The actions that we take may just be increased hydration and steps in a day. Simple, right? Which is how I and many other people start.

While I am in no way perfect and still working towards my goals, I only really started seeing true, lasting progress once I realized that I only needed to change one thing at a time. Keep it that way for a month or more, however long it takes until it stops being a conscious effort. Then, move onto the next habit. The momentum that you create may make it easier to add on more but in the beginning, the one tweak can make all the difference.

So tell me-- what's the one action you are going to take today? The one habit you will tackle to become the ideal you?

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