Setting goals won’t guarantee success but if you set them appropriately, you will increase your chances. When it comes to setting goals, its important to not focus solely on the desired outcome. Just as achieving your goals can increase motivation, failing to reach them can increase frustration and lead to negative feelings.

Therefore, its important to be purposeful about setting goals that are challenging yet realistic. Anyone interested in learning about goal setting has most certainly heard of SMART goals (or something similar.)

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-based
  • Realistic
  • Timely

It’s also critical that the goals you set are important to YOU. If you can’t think of the reasons a goal is important to you, its most likely going to be difficult to do what it will take to achieve it.

When it comes to wellness, its very important to have a clear enough picture in your mind of what you want to achieve through healthful behaviors. It can be quite frustrating to put in “the work” and not see the desired results.

If you are looking to create some wellness goals for yourself I encourage you to take the time to create a wellness vision. A wellness vision is a statement of who you are and what health-promoting, energizing behaviors you want to do consistently. How do you want to be? This is a critical step in the process of meaningful behavior change.

The way I explain the importance of a compelling vision is that its analogous to using a GPS. Say I want to go to my cousin’s house in Houston but I don’t know her address so I put Texas into my GPS. Who knows where in Texas I’ll end up? If you decide on December 31st that you are going to get “fit,” what does that mean to you? You may put in a lot of effort but not get the kind of results you want. Below are a few examples of statements that may be part of a wellness vision.

  • Feeling more relaxed or less anxious/stressed
  • Feeling more energetic
  • Being more focused
  • Looking better in my clothes
  • Being healthier so that I can prevent disease
  • Delaying aging
  • Setting a good example for my children
  • Setting a good example for my significant other
  • Being stronger so that I can play with my children with less risk of injury
  • Having more stamina so that I can cope with my busy life
  • Increasing my strength so that I can improve my golf game (tennis,bicycling, etc.)
  • Improving my balance and coordination
  • Sleeping better so that I have more energy
  • Improving my mood and/or reduce depression
  • Preparing for a big event such as a marathon, triathlon, or bike ride
  • Decreasing my risk or reoccurrence of: high cholesterol, overweight or obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure

Once you’ve created a vision, setting behavioral goals are what can make that vision a reality.

What specific actions will you have to do consistently in order to move from where you are now toward the vision you’ve created for yourself?

Put simply, if your vision includes getting more rest to feel energized, a three month goal might be I will have a regular sleep routine Sunday through Thursday so that I will have more energy and be better able to deal with my busy schedule. A weekly goal might be “I will go to bed at 9:30 Sunday through Thursday.”

“Simple, not easy” is becoming something of a mantra to me.

There’s no short-cut to getting the work done. Setting quality goals is simple but it’s not easy. It a challenge to come up with goals that are important enough to motivate you to change. The rewards upon accomplishing your goals will keep you moving forward and help you maintain high levels of motivation.