How not to set your Health Goals

With Christmas rapidly approaching before we know it January will be here with all the promise of a new year and the question so often is – and what are your New Years resolutions going to be?

Having worked in Healthcare now for over 20 years it never ceases to amaze me how we approach our goals with respect to our health. Many people at New Year will have goals around health, from losing weight, to getting rid of that Christmas excess but many will fail within a few weeks.

So it made me think. What is it that motivates us to set and achieve goals and how are people different? What motivates me may not speak to you at all. So over the next few weeks I’m going to explore how to set goals that make sense to you and work for you. I’ll be really interested to hear what people think.

So when it comes to health I’m going to share some of the most common reasons I hear from people and then I’m going to break it down to what motivates and what doesn’t. I’ll also explore what health really means from a physical perspective but also at an emotional and mental level and for those that are interested at a spiritual level.

The most common kind of health goals I hear are:

·         I want to get rid of my neck pain or back pain

·         I want to lose weight

·         I want to exercise more

·         I’d like to get rid of my anger

·         I need to let go of my limiting beliefs

·         I need to change jobs

I could go on. What I hear mainly is not what people want but what the problem is. The thing that’s driving them crazy or interrupting their life. If only I didn’t have back pain then everything would be ok. But what does ok look like? When you ask that many people have no idea.

So the first thing I suggest you look at is what are you going to replace your problem/symptom with?

So if you want to get rid of your back pain, how are you going to be different when it’s gone or when it’s a lot better? What will change in your life?

Of if you want to lose weight – why exactly are you doing this? Is it because you think you should (should is never a great motivator by the way)? Is it because you are getting married and want to look fantastic in that dress? If so maybe your goal could be: I want to look and feel totally amazing when I get married in June. And put your focus on that. Because when you have a focus that is about creating something, so many other ideas start to pop up. You start looking at things that make you feel fabulous, you start doing things that change how you feel about yourself. I know very few people with the will power to lose weight and stay at that weight. Because the motivator is all about loss and it’s pretty hard to be motivated by something that makes you feel bad about yourself. We’re not programmed to motivated by things that make us feel bad. It’s time to change and find what actually motivates you.

So here are some suggestions for health goals that might be more achievable (and remember this is only the first article on this, you may have to read further to get your inspiration).

·         I want to run a mile in under 8 minutes (could be faster or slower)

·         I want to increase my flexibility so that playing with my kids is more fun

·         I want the energy to work all day and have loads of energy for my relationship

·         I want to feel great about my body

·         I want to feel attractive inside and out

·         I want to love myself more

·         I want to transform my garden into something beautiful and have the physical fitness to do this

·         I want to climb Snowden

·         I want to climb my stairs again

So whatever your age, physical symptoms or challenge. Find something that really inspires you as a goal and then work out how you are going to get into the physical shape to achieve it. Whether that involves working with a chiropractor, personal trainer or just focussing on your goal, have something that you know will motivate you.