By WALX Coast and Country at
I just want to start with a well done to everyone who has completed the monthly challenges and participated in the classes this last year. Increasing your squats everyday over a whole month seems like a crazy idea, but you were all focused, motivated and achieved it! Great effort!
As we are back to walking in small groups, we will continue to support you throughout our walks and virtual sessions as always, but why not consider the positive changes you made throughout this last year with our monthly targets and try continue this as a personal challenge.
To help you consider how you may achieve this, we have described the stages you can take to set your goal and the journey it takes to gain success.
Many of you will be used to setting goals, with most having heard of a SMART goal but how much do you apply this to your everyday lifestyle and health. Most goals are set for errands, house tasks, objectives are set at work but how can you apply this knowledge to set small daily goals, to help you with the bigger picture with regards to your physical and mental health.
For some, participating in the monthly challenges was just a bit of fun, and you may not have realised how this has had a positive impact on your health and lifestyle. Logging in daily and being dedicated to complete the challenge has a positive impact even if it felt hard at the time.
When thinking about lifestyle and health goals you could set yourself, you need to decide what a healthy lifestyle means to you. For some it could be to feel healthier with your movement, eating habits, reducing your smoking, your sleep hygiene, alcohol levels, starting a new hobby to learn something new, mindfulness, connecting with others or kindness. This can all influence your physical and mental health. It all relates to a healthier lifestyle.
Define what a healthy lifestyle means to you.
Once you know this, you can then set out the outcome you want to work towards.
Set the long-term target.
Defining what health means to you is a personal thing, it identifies what is important to you and will give you guidance as to what you want to work towards.
A long-term target could be in 6 months’ time, it could be this time next year. Decide the timeframe you want to give yourself and be realistic.
For example, someone may want to improve their hydration to improve their mood and sleep quality.
The long-term target will be to drink 8 glasses of water per day by August and regularly get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Keep the goal detailed and include a ‘measure’ so the goal can be tracked.
Once you’ve selected an outcome, you need to consider the process. What steps do you need to take to get there. Let’s break down that long term target down so we know what we need to do to ensure success.
Consider the example above. How could it be broken down into a short- and medium-term goal to support this long-term target?
A short-term goal could be anything from now to 3 months’ time. A medium-term goal is a target of 3 to 6 months.
They should all link. They are not separate goals. They are the baby steps you take to get you to your destination.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Pick a couple of daily targets to support your process to reach the end target. When setting daily tasks, you only want a maximum of 1-3 process goals at a time to help you with the outcome. Short term goals could relate to;
– Drink a glass of water with every meal a day for the first month.
– Turn off my phone and all other screens by 9.30pm every evening to help wind down.
– Take a minimum of 30 minutes to walk every day to help with my energy levels.
Example of medium-term goals include:
– Carry a water bottle around with me to keep track on how much I have drank per day.
– Reduce my amount of caffeine with one tea per day. Have a drink of hot water and lemon to replace my coffee.
– Increase my distance over the 30 minutes’ walk.
– Organise my bedroom to make it a relaxing atmosphere to help with my sleep hygiene. Remove all screens and use a traditional alarm rather than my mobile.
– Have a note pad next to my bed so if I wake up at night worrying about tomorrows tasks, I can jot down my tasks and ideas so I can relax back into my sleep, to reduce the chatter.
This all feeds into the long-term goal of a healthier lifestyle, relating to hydration and sleep.
One important stage of setting goals is the point of review. Reviewing your progression can help with your adherence and motivation to achieve. It can help with success as it can ensure the short- and medium-term goals are on track. Review is just as important as setting the initial goal. It helps give you clarity on what you have achieved, need to do and what to amend to bring you back on track.
If you have achieved the short-term goal, great! It will encourage you further to continue.
If you haven’t achieved a short-term goal, this doesn’t mean failure or that the long-term target is out of reach, it just means the smaller steps need to be amended to suit the direction you have taken. You may decide the long-term goal is not important to you now and want to adapt it to suit the change in lifestyle. The long-term goal should keep evolving with the gains.
One important point to make is to check the review method matches the wants. For example, if I had a weight loss goal, it would make sense to try on the dress I am aiming to fit into, rather than test my speed of walking or running a certain distance. Make the review relevant. The ‘measures’ you include in the short to long term targets all help with this.
For example, drinking 8 glasses per day gives a clear idea of whether you are achieving this or not. The target of 8 gives clarity.
If the original goal was to ‘drink more’ this would be hard to review and measure as what is ‘more’? The interpretation would be different for everyone.
Should you have a goal in mind and not sure where to begin or you find you keep repeating the same goal due to relapse or failure to get closer to the outcome, get in touch. We are here to support you. A short discussion could offer clarity to the steps needed for success.
Don’t stop the momentum you have managed to achieve this last year. You have achieved more than you have realised over the pandemic. You should feel proud of yourselves. We are! Your enthusiasm for all challenges have surprised and inspired the team!
Good luck with your continued goal success.