So far this year in the BRL columns, we’ve discussed the value of health (January), return on investment (February) and mental discipline (March). The next strategy is appropriate goal setting. I have heard a variety of goals ranging from, “I want to decrease my pants’ size”, “I am hiking in Nepal in a month and want to be ready for it” or “I want to lose 100 pounds.” Why is goal setting important? Just like financial planning, it guides us in our decision making and choices each day. If you have a certain family financial budget, you will make daily decisions about what to purchase based on available funds and funds you wish to save or invest. It is the same with your health. If you have health and fitness goals set, it guides you on food choices, sleep and exercising- basically making conscious decisions.
What is an appropriate goal?
- It must be measurable and objective. For example; lowering your blood pressure, exercising three days a week, lowering body fat, decreasing your girth or completing a five mile walk or completing a marathon.
- It must be achievable. Establishing goals that are not achievable result in failure.
- Set one goal at a time. Sometimes, when starting a fitness program, folks are very enthusiastic and make many lifestyle changes at the same time. This usually leads to rebounding, a stop in exercise and a return to the previous lifestyle. Our behavior and habits are the most difficult aspect to change. Choose one change per month and avoid adding a new change if you haven’t mastered the previous one.
- Post your goals in the bathroom, kitchen and workplace so you and your family can see them daily. This is a constant reminder to stay on track and your friends and family are your support system to help you meet your goals.
Start slow and be patient with yourself yet be firm in sticking to goals and your program; remember life is an endurance event, not a sprint. Life will distract you but always return to your program without chiding yourself. Keep a strong inner vision of what you want to be. May the force be with you!